The Letters of T.S. Eliot: Volume Three, 1926-1927

Valerie Eliot (ed.), John Haffenden (ed.)

The Letters of T.S. Eliot: Volume Three, 1926-1927

In the period covered by this richly detailed collection, which brings the poet to the age of forty, T.S. Eliot was to set a new course for his life and work. Forsaking the Unitarianism of his American forebears, he was received into the Church of England and naturalised as a British citizen — a radical and public alteration of the intellectual and spiritual direction of his career. This correspondence with friends and mentors vividly documents all the stages of Eliot's personal and artistic transformation during these crucial years, the continuing anxieties of his private life, and the forging of his public reputation. 5.0 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
The Letters of T.S. Eliot: Volume Three, 1926-1927

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Literary Studies & Criticism, Biography, Essays, Journals & Letters
Format Hardback
Pages 992
RRP
Date of Publication July 2012
ISBN 978-0571140855
Publisher Faber & Faber
 

In the period covered by this richly detailed collection, which brings the poet to the age of forty, T.S. Eliot was to set a new course for his life and work. Forsaking the Unitarianism of his American forebears, he was received into the Church of England and naturalised as a British citizen — a radical and public alteration of the intellectual and spiritual direction of his career. This correspondence with friends and mentors vividly documents all the stages of Eliot's personal and artistic transformation during these crucial years, the continuing anxieties of his private life, and the forging of his public reputation.

The Letters of T.S. Eliot: Volume One, 1989-1922

The Letters of T.S. Eliot: Volume Two, 1923-25

Reviews

The Evening Standard

David Sexton

... one of the truly essential books of the year ... Haffenden, a wholly trustworthy editor, apparently forgets to explain why, nonetheless, there are some major gaps here ... There is, moreover, another editorial problem here in the sheer quantity of routine administrative correspondence ... their bulk makes it hard for the ordinary, non-specialist reader to find the more vital letters.

15/06/2012

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The Independent

Lesley McDowell

There's a deliciousness, of course, to reading letters to literary stars such as F Scott Fitzgerald and W B Yeats, and it's also fascinating to see correspondence with those writers of the period who are now barely read, including Middleton Murry, Aldington and Frances Gregg. A modest, kindly, yet assured Eliot emerges from this volume.

24/06/2012

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The Literary Review

David Collard

Was he a great letter writer? Not on the evidence gathered here — although we are offered a vivid picture of the single-handed daily management of a highminded literary magazine. Few of the Criterion letters are riveting or revelatory, and are couched in a scrupulously courteous register that becomes wearisome when read in quantity. But the dazzling roster of correspondents makes even the most humdrum exchanges of interest.

01/07/2012

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The New Statesman

Adam Kirsch

Reading these letters, one is tempted to agree with Eliot that editing the Criterion, however much it added to his literary influence, was a poor use of his time and genius … The more interesting story, which has to be read around the margins of the letters and often in the footnotes, is that of Eliot’s spiritual evolution ... To read Eliot’s letters is to watch as the man he was disappears inside the man he chose to become.

13/06/2012

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The Observer

Craig Raine

Edited with unblinking attentiveness to the reader's every need … There are two controversial things. One is the epic of facetiousness about "a race of comic Negroes wearing bowler hats" – including some racist, obscene poems that easily offended readers will find offensive. I think it is allowable comic licence ... In a letter about "the German Jew, Lion Feuchtwanger", Eliot writes: "I simply put it to you whether the appearance of a new book by the same person makes necessary a consideration of his work. I am always prejudiced against such people, but I have never read anything by this man." Eliot's adversaries will read this as an admission of antisemitism. Others will read it as a prejudice against literary incontinence, against polyphiloprogenitiveness.

17/06/2012

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The Sunday Times

John Carey

His new-found Christian faith unblocked his creativity ... But religion narrows him as a critic ... He also became testy, after his conversion, with free-thinkers of every stripe … the superbly capacious and informative notes...turn this volume, in effect, into a wonderfully illuminating chapter of biography rather than a collection of letters. The editing is a marvel from start to finish and Eliot, even at his most critical, would surely have applauded it.

17/06/2012

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The Spectator

Philip Hensher

The editing of the Eliot letters is exemplary in its detail, authority and quality of annotation. It is the closest thing to a perfect edition of a great writer’s correspondence that can be imagined … The portrait that emerges is very sympathetic, and comically remote from the self-portrait as ‘irascible’ that he gives his cousin Marguerite Caetani. It is formal, public, kind and dignified. The editing, annotation and production is of an extraordinarily high standard. I have only one suggestion: that Eliot’s secretary and constant support, Pearl Fassett, perhaps deserved a paragraph of biography among his correspondents.

30/06/2012

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