Recent stories relating to TS Eliot
TS Eliot rarities for sale, April 2016
Among several interesting items, including signed translations, First Editions and a vinyl recording, the new Modernism catalogue from Blackwell’s Rare Books includes this menu, for a meal to celebrate TS Eliot’s 75th birthday. There are many items from other authors of the period, and a full catalogue can be downloaded here.
Recording of Vivienne song cycle to be released, April 2016
With music by Stephen McNeff, and lyrics by Andy Rashleigh (filled with oblique Eliot references), Vivienne is performed by Clare McCaldin, and accompanied by Libby Burgess. The pair have performed this haunting work in fully-staged and concert versions, including at the 2014 TS Eliot Festival, to great acclaim.
Full details of the recording (which also includes works by Purcell, Brahms and others) are here.
TS Eliot translated and published in Persian, April 2016
According to Iran’s Book News Agency, the translation was by Behrouz Shadlou, and the 180-page book is published by Boutimar Publications in Tehran.
Secret Cinema project The Waste Land to promote their latest venture, March 2016
In order to promote their summer event, an interactive version of the film 28 Days Later, immersive cinema company Secret Cinema projected the opening lines of TS Eliot’s The Waste Land on to Balfron Tower, Ernö Goldfinger’s Grade II-listed tower block in Poplar, East London. The Tower features in Danny Boyle’s film.
An Annotated Eliot in the TLS, March 2016
In the lead review of the Times Literary Supplement 9th March 2016 (available to subscribers and purchasers only) Adam Kirsch reviews The Poems of TS Eliot, which the Editor describes as “one of the great achievements in the literary scholarship of our time”. Kirsch sees the editors’ notes and commentaries as “so comprehensive and authoritative that one can’t imagine their being superseded”. He also applauds their demonstration that, for all the exposure of the parts, it is Eliot’s “elusive magic which makes the whole machine go”.
The Letters of T. S. Eliot Volume 6: 1932-1933, February 2016
Publication has been announced of Volume 6 of The Letters of TS Eliot. Published on 18th February, the volume contains previously unpublished correspondence relating to Vivienne Eliot’s mental illness, both with friends and with Vivienne herself. According to The Guardian, their publication “challenges the view that [Eliot] was cold towards his wife Vivien [sic] as she suffered mental illness.”
Links to reviews are being updated as they appear:
David Sexton in the Evening Standard: “This volume…includes electrifying letters, including quite a few, startlingly deranged, from Vivienne herself.”
James Attlee in The Independent: “It’s all here, from the business-like to the searingly personal.”
Craig Raine in The Spectator: “a more rounded, more human, more convincing Eliot emerges from these letters”
Lesley McDowell, The Herald, Scotland : “There is a huge sense of self-preservation throughout this volume”
Young Eliot published in paperback, February 2016
Reviews can be seen by scrolling down this page to its hardback publication date of January 2015
Little Gidding appoints new Dean, February 2016
Little Gidding, a site of one of TS Eliot’s most profound experiences and the inspiration behind his poem of the same name, has appointed a new Dean, Christina Rees CBE. Details of her appointment and her vision for the church’s future are here.
For sale: First Edition of The Waste Land inscribed to TS Eliot’s therapist, February 2016
One of the rare Hogarth Press First Editions of The Waste Land has gone on sale – with the added interest of a dedication from TS Eliot to Dr Roger Vittoz, who ran the private Lausanne clinic where Eliot was treated in 1921. The dedication offers Eliot’s “enduring gratitude”. Read about this unique item in The Guardian. The catalogue price, incidentally, is £95,000.
What Makes Great Detective Fiction, According to TS Eliot, February 2016
The third volume of Eliot’s Complete Prose contains a number of reviews of detective novels which Eliot published, with no byline, in his literary journal The Criterion, in 1927. In an essay in the New Yorker, Paul Grimstad writes that “to Eliot, who in The Waste Land wrote of the fractured modern world as a “heap of broken images,” it seems possible that Golden Age detective stories offered above all a pleasing orderliness—a way of seeing ghastly disruptions restored to equilibrium with the soothing predictability of ritual.” Read more here.
A Different Eliot, New York Review of Books, January 2016
In the New York Review of Books, February 11th issue, Edward Mendelson, Professor of English at Columbia University, writes an essay upon both the Robert Crawford biography, Young Eliot, and The Poems, edited by Ricks and McCue. He considers that the books “make it possible to see more deeply than before into Eliot’s inner life, to perceive its order and complexity in new ways…”
And he writes that “At the heart of his thought and feeling was an unspoken conviction that he, like the society in which he lived, had failed to become what he ought to be, something cohesive and whole, that with all his authority and fame, he lacked a unified personal self.” The article is here.
Christopher Ricks on Prufrock, January 2016
Broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live on 26th January, Christopher Ricks was interviewed at length in Boston by Rhod Sharp about Eliot’s The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock. Between sections of the poem, this eclectic 50-minute late-night conversation ranges across Eliot’s position on Machiavelli, actors, the brothel world and plagiarism; explores Prufrock’s age and courage; and discusses Eliot’s use of brackets and ellipses, and the endings of his poems. The broadcast is here; the Eliot section begins 02.09.10 into the programme and with a break for news at 02.32.16 runs until 03.00.00.
Thought for the Day on TS Eliot’s Journey, January 2016
Elizabeth Oldfield, Director of the Theos think tank, provided a BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day on 7th January on Eliot’s Journey of the Magi and its significance. Listen here.
Obama as critic of TS Eliot, January 2016
In the New York Review of Books, Edward Mendelson revisits President Obama’s student letter about TS Eliot, and concludes that “it exemplified literary criticism – like Frank Kermode’s – at its best”.
TS Eliot: beyond commentary? a Guardian Books podcast, December 2015
In an extension to his Digested Read of The Poems (see below), John Crace puts the annotated edition through the wringer and, with Robert McCrum, assesses Eliot’s contemporary stature here.
As part of the US promotion of The Poems, Christopher Ricks gives a 45-minute interview to the On Point radio programme about TS Eliot and his works.
Tongues of Fire – essays on word and being in Four Quartets, December 2015
Tongues of Fire – word and being in Four Quartets originated in a series of lectures which Graham Pechey gave in 2013 to the University of the Third Age, Cambridge. “Great works of literature,” he explained, “are best approached not through a paraphrase of their terms and themes but through a minute attention to linguistic particulars combined with a keen sense of the context in which they were written.” This study examines how the smallest and most powerful words in the Four Quartets speak with all the weight of European tradition to a moment of existential threat, and how they continue to resonate today.
Copies of the booklet are available by sending a stamped (£1.19) addressed envelope, large enough for an A5 publication, to the Secretary, 73A Mill Road, Cambridge, CB1 2AW, with a cheque for £5 payable to the TS Eliot Society (UK)
Christmas Day reading from TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, November 2015
78 years after their first BBC Radio broadcast on Christmas Day in 1937, Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons is to read TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats on Christmas Day morning on BBC Radio 4.
Five of the Practical Cats poems were broadcast in 1937 on Christmas Day, read by Geoffrey Tandy on BBC Radio. Irons will re-visit the original five poems along with the further 10 which make up Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats.
Jeremy Irons has previously recorded both The Waste Land and Four Quartets, and has worked again for this reading with producer Sue Roberts.
Alternatively and while available, you can download and keep the reading as a podcast via iTunes through here.
David Jones conference invites Eliot-related contributions, November 2015
Eliot was responsible for publishing David Jones’ In Parenthesis at Faber & Faber in 1937, and over the years, he and Jones became firm friends. In ‘Past and Present’ (1953), David Jones claimed: ‘The entire past is at the poet’s disposal’, and in 1958, Jones made a painted inscription, Nam Sybillam, incorporating lines from The Waste Land, as a gift for his friend.
The conference has issued a call for papers in relation to the thought and works of Jones and his contemporaries; further details of the conference and submission are here.
Signed Eliot books auctioned at Sotheby’s, November 2015
They included a copy of The Family Reunion inscribed to the English critic IA Richards (left) – and a First Edition of The Waste Land, inscribed to novelist and patron Sidney Schiff (“For Sydney Schiff | who (amongst other reasons!) | liked this poem & | was one of the | first to say so. | T.S. Eliot | Jan 1923.”) – which sold for £81,250. The catalogue of images and prices achieved can be seen here.
The identity of ‘Stetson’ and the Society’s Journal, November 2015
An article headlined Who is the mysterious ‘Stetson’ in TS Eliot’s Waste Land? One scholar has a clue… discusses the essay by Ben Liston, published in our Journal of the TS Eliot Society 2015.
Liston’s essay takes an anagrammatic approach to the name. “Encouraged by respected academic Christopher Ricks, who has recently updated his own theories about the poem, Liston put forward his idea to the TS Eliot Society, which has published it.”
The Observer article is here.
Copies of the 2015 Journal are available to non-members by sending a stamped addressed envelope, large enough for an A5 publication, to the Secretary, 73A Mill Road, Cambridge, CB1 2AW, with a cheque for £5 payable to the TS Eliot Society (UK)
The Poems of TS Eliot, October/November 2015
Links to significant reviews of the edition will be updated below as they appear:
“…a blazing demonstration of what literary criticism, at its best, can do for literature.” John Sutherland in the Financial Times
“A monumental achievement” – David Wheatley in The Guardian
“Will repay a lifetime’s reading. They are an absolute pleasure to use” – David Sexton in the Evening Standard
“A magnificent piece of work” – Sean O’Brien in The Independent
“A textual reconstruction of TS Eliot’s brain” – Duncan White in The Telegraph
“A very fine study of the modernist imagination” – Daniel Swift in The Spectator
“A testament to the labour and erudition of both the editors and Eliot himself” – Hugh Foley in The Oxonian Review
Michael O’Loughlin in The Irish Times
Jeremy Noel-Tod in The Sunday Times (subscription required)
Philip Collins in The Times (subscription required)
Lyndall Gordon on the previously unpublished sexual poems, in The New Statesman
Bryan Appleyard of The Sunday Times on TS Eliot, Revolutionary in a Four-Piece Suit, and the Ricks/McCue edition
A ‘digested read’ parody of The Poems and their annotations by John Crace in The Guardian
A report on the British Library event at which Ricks and McCue talked about their work
Christopher Ricks interviewed about the edition, and about Eliot’s greatness – and his “ugly touches” – in Prospect
JimMcCue interviewed about the edition for Foyles
Graphic novel of Prufrock completed, November 2015
The “24-page comic-book adaptation” is the work of Julian Peters, a comic-book artist and illustrator based in Montreal.
You can view the completed work here.
‘Lost’ cat poem by TS Eliot rediscovered, November 2015
Written just six months before his death, a ‘lost’ cat poem by TS Eliot has resurfaced, as part of the research for The Poems (above).
Cumberleylaude, ‘the gourmet cat’, was written after a dinner party in 1965, and sent as a thank-you to the host. The original was auctioned off for charity, but a carbon copy was retained by the Estate and has now been published. Details are here.
TS Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral released for the first time on DVD/Blu-Ray, October 2015
This rarely-seen film features Eliot’s voice, in the role of the (unseen) Fourth Tempter. The full cast and credits are listed on the BFI website here.
This Edition includes the original theatrical version (b/w, 114 mins) in both formats. The DVD also contains alternative and deleted sequences, and footage from the longer festival cut, which is included in its entirety as a Blu-ray exclusive. Full details and pre-ordering are here.
An ArtsDesk article on the making of the film is here.
Members of the Society can get free P&P if they are buying Murder in the Cathedral, and have an opportunity to win a copy in a competition; details in the Members Area of our website.
Eliot rarities in London auction, October 2015
Three Eliot items are to be auctioned at Dreweatts Bloomsbury Auctions on October 22nd.
An intriguing item is a small archive relating to an evening at the Royal Court Theatre on 29th September, 1958, in protest at the BBC’s decision to close the Third Programme. This featured performances of classical music, as well as talks by T.S.Eliot and others. Eliot’s speech was recorded, and this archive includes what appears to be the only known copy of the recording. Full details of the auction are here.
UPDATE: The Hogarth Press First Edition of The Waste Land sold for £1900, while the small archive, with an estimate of £1000-1500, aold for £3200.
Three unpublished erotic poems by Eliot in new collection, September 2015
Fragments have been published of three previously unseen erotic poems by TS Eliot. Addressed to a “Tall Girl”, it is thought they may have been written about Valerie, and released only after her death.
They are to be published in full in The Poems, the forthcoming definitive collection (scroll down for details). The fragments have been published and considered in The Guardian, here.
Eliot’s unpublished essay on AN Whitehead, September 2015
Written for Wyndham Lewis’s The Enemy, the essay focusses on Whitehead’s consideration of the conflict between religion and science, and in particular his use of the term “religion,” which Eliot describes as a “gelded abstraction”. The essay is here.
The essay is taken from Literature, Politics, Belief, 1927–1929, volume 3 of the online edition of The Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot: The Critical Edition. Volume 3 (and Volume 4, English Lion, 1930–1933) will be published later this autumn.
Opening of Burnt Norton features on new Lana Del Rey album, September 2015
The new album Honeymoon by US recording artist Lana Del Rey contains a brief track, Burnt Norton – Interlude, in which she recites the opening of Eliot’s poem to a drifting background wash of sound. You can hear the track here.
The Poems of TS Eliot – the authoritative edition – details announced, August 2015
Details have been released of the long-awaited authoritative edition of The Poems of TS Eliot, edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue.
It provides, for the first time, a fully scrutinized text of Eliot’s poems, carefully restoring accidental omissions and removing textual errors that have crept in over the full century in which Eliot has been so frequently printed and reprinted. The edition also presents many poems from Eliot’s youth which were published only decades later, as well as others that saw only private circulation in his lifetime, of which dozens are collected for the first time.
The edition is in two volumes. Volume I – Collected and Uncollected Poems respects Eliot’s decisions by opening with his Collected Poems 1909-1962 in the form in which he issued it, shortly before his death fifty years ago. There follow in this first volume the uncollected poems from his youth that he had chosen to publish, along with such other poems as could be considered suitable for publication.
Volume II – Practical Cats & Further Verses, opens with the two books of poems of other kinds that he issued, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and his translation of Perse’s Anabase, moving then to verses privately circulated as informal or improper or clubmanlike. Each of these sections is accompanied by its respective commentary, and then, pertaining to the entire edition, there is a comprehensive textual history recording variants both manuscript and published.
To accompany Eliot’s poems, Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue have provided a commentary that illuminates the creative activity that came to constitute each poem, calling upon drafts, correspondence and other original materials to provide a vivid account of the poet’s working processes, his reading, his influences and his revisions.
Volume I is 1344 pp; Volume II is 688pp. Each has a cover price of £40, and they are due to be published by Faber on 5th November.
Christopher Ricks and Jim McHugh are discussing The Poems of TS Eliot in a special event at The British Library on Monday 12th October – see our Events page for details.
The Contemporary Novel by TS Eliot, 1926, August 2015
An essay by TS Eliot, previously unpublished in English, has been published by the Times Literary Supplement.
The essay has been released from the forthcoming third volume of Eliot’s Complete Prose; the introduction to the TLS publication explains its history.
The essay itself explores the influence of psychoanalysis on the novel, and looks in particular at the works of four authors: Virginia Woolf, David Garnett, Aldous Huxley, and DH Lawrence – whose novels are described by Eliot as “extremely ill-written”.
“Even if one is not antagonized by the appalling monotony of Mr. Lawrence’s theme, under all its splendid variations,” writes Eliot, “one still turns away with the judgement: ‘this is not my world, either as it is, or as I should wish it to be’.”
The essay as published in the Times Literary Supplement is here.
TS Eliot Prize winner Sean O’Brien writes on The Waste Land, August 2015
“It was difficult, secret, multilingual and non-linear: ergo it was interesting.” Tied to the reissue of the first Boni & Liveright edition of The Waste Land, the poet Sean O’Brien, himself a winner of the TS Eliot Prize, reflects in The Independent upon the impact which the poem had upon him.
Jeremy Irons reads Burnt Norton at Burnt Norton, July 2015
Cotswold Life reports on a fundraising reading of Eliot’s Burnt Norton by Jeremy Irons, in the gardens of Burnt Norton itself. In an interview, Irons talks about both the poem and the place: “I’m imagining TS Eliot walking through that gate, and discerning history beneath his feet; before his eyes.”
Christopher Ricks gives Prufrock centenary lecture at Harvard, June 2015
To mark the 100th anniversary of the poem’s first publication in Poetry magazine, Christopher Ricks gave an idiosyncratic lecture on The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock to an audience at Harvard University.
The lecture refers to other writers and poems published in that issue of Poetry, whose cover can be enlarged by clicking on the image left.
Entitled The Muse in a Psychopathic Ward, you can watch the Ricks lecture here.
Artist Mat Collishaw makes Prufrock film, June 2015
In response to TS Eliot’s The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, a short film has been made by the artist Mat Collishaw. You can view the film on BBC Arts here.
Mat Collishaw is a key figure in the generation of young British artists (YBAs) who emerged from Goldsmith’s College in the 1980s. His biography on his own website is here.
Jeremy Irons reading of Prufrock, followed by discussion, June 2015
On a BBC Radio 4 programme, broadcast 2nd June 2015, Jeremy Irons reads The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock.
The reading is followed by a discussion by poets and critics including Simon Armitage and Professors Sarah Churchwell and Hannah Sullivan.
You can listen to the programme here.
UPDATE: In the New Statesman, Antonia Quirke reviewed the programme and reading, and claimed “TS Eliot has been stolen by actors” – read here.
Rare TS Eliot publications in new Blackwell’s catalogue, June 2015
Blackwell’s Rare Books has announced its second Modernisms catalogue, focusing on literary innovation in the first half of the twentieth century. The catalogue includes some fascinating Eliot rarities, including a copy of the first issue of The Criterion, October 1922, which contained the first ever publication of The Waste Land. (Detail from a previously auctioned copy right.)
The catalogue also includes several Eliot First Editions, including copies of Four Quartets, The Rock, Animula, Sweeney Agonistes, The Sacred Wood and others – along with some signed copies, and an unusual First Edition of the 5-volume, HMV 78rpm recording of Eliot reading Four Quartets.
For a PDF copy of the catalogue click here. ——————————————————————————————————–
Review of The Complete Prose of TS Eliot, Vols I and II, May 2015
A significant review of the first two volumes of Eliot’s Complete Prose, now accessible online, has appeared in the US publication The Hudson Review, focussing on his early philosophical and critical writings. The review can be read here.
Jewel Spears Brooker, one of the Volume Editors on the project, will be talking about the editing and publication of Eliot’s Complete Prose at this year TS Eliot Festival; for more details, scroll down.
Little Gidding appeals for maintenance funds, May 2015
An article in The Observer reports the funds needed to maintain and restore the church which inspired TS Eliot, with quotes from our Society’s Chairman and reference to the forthcoming Festival. Read here.
The Ten Best TS Eliot Poems, May 2015
In this age of “listicles”, it’s perhaps not surprising to find someone listing the ten best Eliot poems – but this someone is Robert Crawford, author of the recent Young Eliot biography, and Professor of Poetry at the University of St Andrews. You can read his choices, and their justifications, in the US magazine Publishers Weekly here.
(Robert Crawford is speaking at this year’s TS Eliot Festival; see below for details.)
TS Eliot Festival at Little Gidding 2015 – details released, March 2015
The Festival commemorates and celebrates the life and work of Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965). This year – one hundred years after The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock was first published, changing poetry forever – it focuses on the poet’s youth and development, with Robert Crawford, author of the new and acclaimed biography Young Eliot: From St Louis to The Waste Land, and music at teatime from Caprice, playing tunes that Eliot would have heard in his formative period in Paris, 1910.
Lyndall Gordon will give a talk, Footfalls Echo in the Memory: Eliot’s Expatriation; and Jewel Spears Brooker will update us on the online publication of the complete prose Works.
Eliot located the last of his Four Quartets here so it is our custom to give a reading of Little Gidding; and festivalgoers are invited to read their own choices in the popular session My Favourite Eliot.
Join us in the summer garden at Little Gidding, one of the places that inspired Eliot, for a thought-provoking and enjoyable festival day, including refreshments. It will begin with coffee at 10.30am, with the first speaker commencing at 11am, and finish at 5pm.
Booking will open on March 30th via the Oundle Box Office at www.oundlefestival.org.uk or by phone 01832 274734. Note that there is a discount for members of the TS Eliot Society; for details see the Members Area.
Unique TS Eliot First Edition to be auctioned at Bonham’s, February 2015
The book was inscribed to the 8-year old daughter of Eliot’s friend George Blake (1893-1961, Scottish author, journalist and broadcaster).
The estimate is £6000-£8000. Full details are on the Bonham’s website here.
Update: The item sold for £10,000.
Macavity’s Not There: TS Eliot in the 21st Century, February 2015
He may be regarded by some as the most significant poet in the English language over the past 100 years, but how much does Eliot mean to modern readers? In a programme last broadcast in 2009, Michael Alexander explores where Eliot, and poetry in general, stand in national culture.
The programme will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra on February 25th at 06.30, 13.30 and 20.30; and will be available for 30 days after that here.
TS Eliot’s childhood summer home in New Hampshire bought by Eliot estate, February 2015
The Eliot estate has purchased the property at 18 Edgemoor Road, Gloucester, Massachusetts, which was the poet’s childhood summer home. “Not only has the estate bought the house (for $1.3m),” reveals The Guardian. “It plans to use it to promote Eliot’s life and works to his American readers.”
A spokesman for the estate, which is renaming the property Eastern Point, said: “By this time next year we hope to offer up to six poets, essayists or playwrights at a time a peaceful retreat to work on their projects. We’d also like to work with institutions of higher education to make it a centre for weekend symposia on Eliot or on poets and poetry related to him.”
The sale was reported last September (see the News item of that date below for the announcement of the sale, and links to details including a slideshow of the property.)
Professor John Haffenden, who is co-editing the poet’s collected letters, celebrated an important opportunity “to enlarge our sense of the sights and sounds and influences, including the deep feeling for nature, that formed the man and the poet”.
He concluded: “The acquisition and preservation of one of Eliot’s childhood homes will help us to appreciate the poet to the utmost. Eastern Point, at Gloucester, Massachusetts, will spell forever Eliot.”
Hear Jeremy Irons read Four Quartets, February 2015
It is available until 9th March on the BBC iPlayer here.
TS Eliot’s library bequest – catalogue now online, February 2015
The TS & Valerie Eliot Bequest to Magdalene College, Cambridge of the poet’s library has now been catalogued, and the complete list of books can be viewed online.
The College received 368 volumes previously belonging to T.S. Eliot and his wife Valerie in 2013. They can be divided into three main categories:
- Books by T.S.Eliot (including many first editions with dedication inscriptions)
- Translations of T.S.Eliot’s work into other languages (including many first editions with dedication inscriptions. Some of the translations were given to Valerie Eliot by Faber and Faber after T.S. Eliot’s death in 1965).
- Books owned by T.S. Eliot for his personal reading and study (some of which contain marginalia in Eliot’s hand).
The latter category may be of particular interest, revealing Eliot’s additional studies alongside the volumes known to have influenced his work.
The catalogue can be viewed here.
Young Eliot: From St Louis to The Waste Land, January 2015
This “impressive monograph” (The Observer) “traces the life of the twentieth century’s most important poet from his childhood in the ragtime city of St Louis right up to the publication of his most famous poem, The Waste Land.”
The author is Robert Crawford, Professor of Modern Scottish Literature at the University of St Andrews (who will be speaking at the 2015 TS Eliot Festival).
It will be broadcast as the BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week during the week commencing Monday 2nd February.
Reviewed by Ian Thomson in The Independent
Robert McCrum in The Observer
John Sutherland in the Financial Times
Stuart Kelly in The Scotsman
Daniel Swift in The Spectator
Lyndall Gordon in The Telegraph
John Carey in The Sunday Times
Rowan Williams in the New Statesman
Sarah Churchwell in The Guardian
The Economist (anonymous)
Denis Donoghue in the Irish Times
The New York Times
And an entertaining Digested Read of the book by John Crace in The Guardian.
In a short film, the writer Edward Petherbridge looks at 3 Compayne Gardens, West Hampstead, once the home of artist Charles Haigh-Wood, where Eliot and his new bride, the artist’s daughter Vivienne, lived after their marriage.
TS Eliot, Fifty Years On
Two newspaper articles examine Eliot and his work fifty years after his death. In The Guardian, Robert Crawford, Professor of Modern Scottish Literature at the University of St Andrews, and author of the new biography Young Eliot (see below) examines “the poet who conquered the world”; while in The Telegraph Allan Massie writes that “[Eliot's] poetry was as seductive as a mermaid’s singing”
And Robert Crawford and Lyndall Gordon discuss Eliot’s “enduring power and appeal” on BBC Radio 3′s Free Thinking here.
Young Eliot: A Biography
Young Eliot: A Biography ”traces the life of the twentieth century’s most important poet from his childhood in the ragtime city of St Louis right up to the publication of his most famous poem, The Waste Land.”
The author is Robert Crawford, Professor of Modern Scottish Literature at the University of St Andrews (who read at our Eliot Festival in 2013). “Quoting extensively from poetry and prose as well as drawing on new interviews, archives, and previously undisclosed memoirs, Robert Crawford shows how Eliot’s background in Missouri, Massachusetts and Paris made him a lightning conductor for modernity.”
More details are here.
UPDATE: Robert Crawford talks about Eliot on BBC Radio 3′s Free Thinking, broadcast on 13th January 2015, here.
The Letters of T. S. Eliot Volume 5: 1930-1931, November 2014
Details are now on Amazon here.
The volume is reviewed by:
David Sexton, Evening Standard here.
Lesley McDowell, Independent here
Denis Donoghue, Irish Times here
Lyndall Gordon, Guardian (published March 2015) here
Annual TS Eliot Lecture – full details released, October 2014
The speaker and subject for this year’s TS Eliot Lecture have now been announced – full details are on our Events page.
Faber publish two new editions of Eliot poetry, October 2014
A cherished part of his oeuvre, the ‘Ariel Poems’ of T. S. Eliot were originally commissioned for a pamphlet series of the same name that first ran between 1927 and 1931. That pamphlet series inventively paired an unpublished poem by a leading writer of the day with new artwork from an eminent artist.
“This handsome new publication brings together, for the first time in a single edition, the six poems that T. S. Eliot wrote for the series, and in so doing restores them to the company of the artworks that originally partnered them.” Full details on the Faber website here.
In addition, TS Eliot’s Selected Poems, with an essay by Seamus Heaney, is to be published in a new edition of eight Faber Modern Classics in April 2015. The “mid-century” cover features part of the portrait of Eliot by Wyndham Lewis, and a quote from The Hollow Men.
Faber’s art director, Donna Payne, led the design of the series. “We wanted to capture the spirit of our Faber Design heritage whilst keeping the series design contemporary and accessible,” Payne tells Co.Design. “Many of the Classics titles were written in this period, and we deliberately looked to use images that were unexpected, but true to the text.” All text is in Faber’s company typeface, Swiss.
Professor Ron Schuchard and The Complete Prose of TS Eliot, September 2014
An article in the Emory Report, from Emory University, Atlanta, provides the fascinating background to Professor Schuchard’s work to publish The Complete Prose of TS Eliot.
“The depth and breadth of these new materials is just astonishing,” says Professor Schuchard. “I believe that they will feed a tremendous resurgence of interest not only around the study of Eliot, but of modernism in the 20th century.”
(There is a link to the Complete Prose online on our Resources/Works by TS Eliot page)
TS Eliot’s childhood summer home for sale, September 2014
A five-bedroom beach house in Gloucester, Massachusetts, identified as ‘the summer home of TS Eliot’, is up for sale. Built in 1896 by his parents, the ‘grand and gracious’ home is where Eliot spent his childhood summers, and sits on 1.96 acres a few blocks away from the beach. Property details are here.
(UPDATE: There is an article on the background to the house, and a slideshow tour of the property, here.)
BBC Radio 4 Extra rebroadcasting Tom and Viv, September 2014
TS Eliot Society Membership for 2014/15 now open, August 2014
Annual Subscriptions to the T S Eliot Society are due on the 1st September.
The membership fee is £15. This entitles you to the quarterly Exchanges, the annual Journal and provides you with access to the Members’ Area of the website; with news of the annual Lecture and other events and activities connected with the society.
Full details and a joining form for new members are available through our Membership page; existing members should log into the Members Area for details of renewal.
First Printing of The Waste Land for sale, August 2014
A rare copy of The Criterion, October 1922, featuring the first publication of TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, is up for sale. Only 600 copies were printed; this rare item is being sold by The Manhattan Rare Book Company for $5,500. Details here.
BBC Broadcast of The Waste Land, July 2014
On 28th July 2014, BBC Radio 4 repeated the 2012 reading of The Waste Land by Eileen Atkins and Jeremy Irons. The reading is introduced by Dr Rowan Williams, Jackie Kay, Matthew Hollis and Sean O’Brien. You can see details, and listen to the reading for four weeks after broadcast, here.
Journal of the TS Eliot Society 2014, July 2014
This year’s issue of the Journal of the TS Eliot Society has now been published, with a particularly interesting set of contributors including Lyndall Gordon and Rowan Williams. Full details of content are here, and notes on the contributors here.
The journal costs £5, but is free to members of the Society.
For your copy, send an A5 SAE, with postage to cover a 110g document to your location – and, if you are not a member, a cheque for £5 payable to TS Eliot Society – to Kathy Radley (Secretary), 73A Mill Road, Cambridge, CB1 2AW
Sale of TS Eliot documents, July 2014
A collection of documents written by, signed by or relating to TS Eliot are to be sold at auction.
The documents are referred to as “Archive relating to the poet from the collection of Morley and Jean Kennerley”; Morley Kennerley was a fellow director, with Eliot, of Faber & Faber.
Full details of the Lot, to be auctioned at Lawrence’s Auctioneers of Crewkerne on July 25th, are here.
UK publication of “First US Edition” of The Waste Land, June 2014
Nine months after its publication in the United States, this ’landmark reissue of the first edition’ of The Waste Land is now available in the UK. The first US edition was published in 1922 by Boni & Liveright, and this reissue from its original publisher includes a new introduction by Paul Muldoon, and a Modernist cover design. The book is on UK Amazon here; Paul Muldoon talks about his introduction and the genesis of the poem here; and there is an interview with cover designer Jamie Keenan here
Complete Prose of TS Eliot going live, May 2014
The first two volumes of The Online Complete Prose of TS Eliot are now scheduled to go live.
The first two volumes are The Apprentice Years (1905-1918), and The Perfect Critic (1919-1926).
Professor Ron Schuchard, who outlined the project at the TS Eliot Festival 2012, confirms that “the Johns Hopkins University Press says it will have the first two volumes live on its Project Muse website on July 1st.”. You can view the project’s index here.
The John Hopkins University Gazette published an article about the project, with quotes from Ron Schuchard, here.
The TS Eliot International Summer School in the Institute of English Studies (July 5-13) will have a panel by two of the co-editors, Professors Jewel Spears Brooker and Anthony Cuda, discussing and demonstrating use of the volumes live.
Ninth Annual TS Eliot Festival, Little Gidding, 5th & 6th July 2014
The programme has now been announced for the 2014 TS Eliot Festival, held at Little Gidding.
Win a night at the Faber archive, April 2014
A competition organised by Culture 24/Museums at Night offers five lucky winners an opportunity for a guided tour of the literary archive of Faber & Faber, “80 years of treasures held in the publishing giant’s London office at Bloomsbury House, which is not normally open to the public.” Those include manuscripts of TS Eliot. The evening will include a reading by previous Festival contributor Daljit Nagra.
The tour will take place on Thursday May 15th, from 6.30 to 8pm; the competition closes on Friday May 9th. Details and entry to the competition is here.
New Publication: Richard Aldington Poet, Soldier, Lover 1911–1929 by Vivien Whelpton, Lutterworth Press, March 2014
A new biography of the poet Richard Aldington, who worked as Eliot’s ‘secretary and managing editor’ at The Criterion in 1923. Aldington initially said of Eliot that “His manners are charming and ironical, his conversation really witty, his point of view always finished and sometimes profound”; but he subsequently found him “difficult to work with”, and bitterness followed. “I do most vehemently suspect him of condescension to us all,” he said after his relationship with “Eliot’s circle” broke down. “We are his claque, his suite, his ladder…”
Although not primarily about Eliot himself, the book provides several insights into his character and behaviour during this period, from Aldington’s perspective. More details here.
Appointment – TS Eliot Festival – Event Manager, February 2014
The TS Eliot Festival, run successfully by volunteers since 2005, is now seeking to appoint a professional Event Manager, to organise this annual event held at Little Gidding.
Responsibilities will include the practical organisation, staging and functioning of the event. You will require experience in planning and managing comparable events, and be able to demonstrate the successful organisation and staging of similar outdoor functions.
A fee will be negotiated commensurate with experience and responsibilities.
For full details click here
Four Quartets read by Jeremy Irons on BBC Radio 4, January 2014
The BBC have announced that their recording of Four Quartets, read by Jeremy Irons, will be broadcast on Radio 4 on Saturday 18th January at 2.30pm.
(This follows the reading of The Waste Land by Irons, which now forms part of the poem’s iPad app.)
Full details here.
You can also read more about Jeremy Irons’s relationship with Eliot’s poetry via our TSE & Me page, here.
The Annual TS Eliot Lecture 2013, November 2013
This year’s TS Eliot Lecture was given by Dr Rowan Williams, Patron of the Society; the title was Eliot’s Christian Society and the current political crisis.
You can listen to the Lecture here.
The Lecture was reported briefly in The Guardian: Rowan Williams is back and bashing the Prime Minister – a poetic buffet from the turbulent priest.
A Life’s Devotion: The Collection of the Late Mrs TS Eliot, November 2013
The catalogue is in two volumes; both Vol I covering Portrait Miniatures and Jewellery, and Vol II covering British Drawings & Watercolours, Modern British Art and Furniture, can be seen and downloaded as PDFs here. The introduction to the catalogues offers glimpses of the Eliots’ life at home, but most of the works can be seen to have been purchased after the poet’s death.
TS Eliot’s unpublished essay on George Chapman published for first time, October 2013
The 50th Anniversary Issue of the New York Review of Books publishes for the first time Eliot’s essay on George Chapman (1559–1634), the Elizabethan and Jacobean poet, dramatist, and translator, known particularly for his translations of Homer.
T.S. Eliot delivered this unpublished lecture, which scholars have long believed lost, at Cambridge University on Saturday, November 8, 1924.
The publication has been achieved through Ron Schuchard, with Anthony Cuda, and will be part of next April’s publication of the first two online volumes of of the forthcoming eight-volume edition of The Online Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot.
Their introduction to the essay is here. The essay itself is only currently available to subscribers, although a week’s subscription can be purchased at the foot of the introduction. UPDATE: The subscription requirement has now been lifted, and the essay can be read in full via that link
New publication, TS Eliot and the Failure to Connect, by G Douglas Adams, October 2013
This new book focuses on the failure to connect that T.S. Eliot saw setting in during the seventeenth century. With special attention to The Waste Land and Gerontion, G. Douglas Atkins, a Professor of English at the University of Kansas, USA, shows that Eliot roundly satirized modern misunderstandings and urges readers to make the connections that the “wastelanders” fail to make. Thus, a new approach to reading Eliot opens up, based on suggestions he himself made in the prose and enacted in the poetry.
G Douglas Atkins is the author or editor of over a dozen books, including Reading T.S. Eliot: ‘Four Quartets’ and The Journey Towards Understanding; T.S. Eliot and the Essay. The book is on Amazon here.
Epstein bust of TS Eliot bequeathed to University of Kent, October 2013
A Jacob Epstein bust of TS Eliot has been bequeathed to the University of Kent by the poet’s estate. “Modelled in clay and cast in bronze, the likeness…is rooted in observation but features an expressive approach to its form and texture,” say the University. It will sit in Eliot College at the University, alongside a Patrick Heron portrait of Eliot. “Valerie had considered giving it during her lifetime,” said a representative of the estate, “but could not bear to be parted from the likeness of her beloved Tom.” Full story here.
New publication of “First US Edition” of The Waste Land, September 2013
A new hardback edition of The Waste Land has been published in the US. The first US edition was published in 1922 by Boni & Liveright, and this ’landmark reissue of the first edition’, now back with its original publisher, includes a new introduction by Paul Muldoon, and a Modernist cover design. The book is on US Amazon here; Paul Muldoon talks about his introduction and the genesis of the poem here; and there is an interview with cover designer Jamie Keenan here.
New publication: Ascetic Modernism in the work of TS Eliot and Gustave Flaubert by Henry Michael Gott, July 2013
A new book due in September. “Gott examines Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922) in conjunction with Gustave Flaubert’s La Tentation de Saint Antoine (1874). He provides a highly original reading of both texts and argues that a stylistic affinity exists between the two works, which derives from the authors’ shared fascination for the ascetic saint.” Published by Pickering & Chatto HB 978 1 84893 437 5 – further details here.
Calls for Proposals, June 2013
The TS Eliot Society of Korea is calling for proposals for its conference in October on the theme of Reshaping TS Eliot for the Future – details here.
Also, there is a call for proposals for a session sponsored by the TS Eliot Society (US) at the annual Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900 in February 2014 – full details here.
First, Hogarth Press Edition of The Waste Land to be auctioned, June 2013
One of the rare First Editions of The Waste Land, hand-printed by the Woolfs at the Hogarth Press, is to be auctioned at Bonham’s later this month. Details, and an enlargeable photo of this rare edition, are here. The book had been donated to an Oxfam Bookshop – full story here.
UPDATE: The book sold for £4,500 – details here.
Eliot art collection to be auctioned, May 2013
Valerie Eliot’s “domestic” collection of art, purchased with royalties from Eliot’s works including the musical Cats, is to be auctioned later this year. The works hung in their apartment; an image can be seen here. Artists in the collection include Turner, Gainsborough, Constable and Bacon. Details of the collection are here.
Titled A Life’s Devotion: The Collection of the Late Mrs TS Eliot, the sale will take place at Christie’s London on 20th November 2013. Full details of the sale here,
Call for papers, TS Eliot Society (US), May 2013
The US TS Eliot Society is inviting proposals for papers to be presented at its annual meeting in St Louis in September 2013. Details here.
TS Eliot’s Little Gidding in the Order of Service for the Funeral of Baroness Thatcher, April 2013
Lines from Little Gidding have been chosen to form part of the Order of Service for the Funeral of Baroness Thatcher.
According to the Downing St website, “TS Eliot was a particular favourite, which is why she chose Little Gidding from Four Quartets for the service.”
The extract published within the Order of Service (which you can see here) is, however, an edited combination of lines from section V of the poem; lines 214-216, followed by lines 228-242.
The Waste Land iPad app updated, April 2013
The interactive iPad version of The Waste Land has been updated, to include the recent reading of the poem by Jeremy Irons and Eileen Atkins.
Although it is not stated in the publicity material, this is the version recorded for, and originally broadcast on, BBC Radio 4 in March 2012. It has not been available for listening since then.
The app now also allows readers to make their own notes on the poem. Purchasers of the original app may update to the new version free of charge.
East Coker Development Plan – hearings announced, March 2013
The formal Examination of plans for the development of East Coker will begin on 7th May.
The East Coker Society website is here.
A pen given to Eliot as a boy, and bequeathed to the Royal Literary Society by Valerie Eliot, replaces Dicken’s quill as the pen with which newly-elected Fellows sign the Roll Book. The pen can be seen more clearly in the subsequent Telegraph article here.
Tarantula’s Web: John Hayward, T.S. Eliot and their Circle, by John Smart (Michael Russell) ISBN 978-0-85955-324-7
A new book on John Hayward, the figure at the centre of Eliot’s literary London. There is an illuminating article by the author which can be downloaded in Word format here, a review by DJ Taylor in The Spectator here and a longer piece by Adrian Barlow, Chair of the English Association and series editor of Cambridge Contexts in Literature, about both the book and Hayward here.
UPDATE: The book is reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement March 2014 here.
Reviews of The Letters of TS Eliot, Vol 4 1928-29 edited by Valerie Eliot & John Haffenden, Faber, £40 – publication 17 January 2013
The Observer - Adam Mars-Jones
The Independent - Lesley Macdowell
The Times - John Sutherland (subscription needed)
The Telegraph – Juliet Nicolson
The Spectator – DJ Taylor
The Financial Times – Henry Hitchings
New Republic – a US article taking a broader look at Eliot and his letters
(There has also been an entertaining spoof of Eliot’s Letters by John Crace, published in The Guardian)
East Coker loses planning battle, January 2013
(A letter from the South Somerset District Council to our Chairman containing links to the full planning documents, and an explanation of the public hearings planned for May this year, can be read here: East Coker council letter)
TS Eliot in Baghdad – an interview with the author, January 2013
Abdul Sattar Jawad Al Mamouri, visiting Professor of Comparative Literature and Middle East Studies at Duke University, recently completed a book that examines the influence of Eliot’s poetry on the 1950s Arab Free Verse Movement that began in Baghdad and spread across the Arab world. Jawad is known for his Arabic translation of The Waste Land.
Four Quartets through the lens of music, Postgraduate English journal, issue 25, December 2012
Jeremy Diaper, University of Birmingham, takes an interdisciplinary approach in an article which allows one “to see just how penetrating the notion of music is within [Four Quartets].” The journal is published through the University of Durham’s Research in English.
Call for Papers, American Literature Association, December 2012
The Annual Conference of the ALA, to be held in Boston in May 2013, will host two sessions sponsored by the US TS Eliot Society – proposals are invited by January 2013
TS Eliot included in Ordinariate breviary, December 2012
The Tablet reports that, among its “post-Biblical” readings, the first editions of the breviary for the Ordinariate, the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham, include writings by TS Eliot. The editors say it is hard to think of a parallel where non-Catholic writers have been included in a prayer book sanctioned by the Catholic Church.
New TS Eliot publications mooted, November 2012
Following the death of the poet’s widow (below), The Observer discusses the prospect of a new biography, and the possibility of publication for the first time of the weekly love poems which TS Eliot wrote to his wife. In The Sunday Times (subscription required) Lyndall Gordon, author of a previous Eliot biography, considers what letters between the two may reveal.
Valerie Eliot – 1926-2012
We note with sadness the passing of Valerie Eliot, the second wife and later widow of TS Eliot, whose death has just been confirmed.
“To whom I owe the leaping delight
That quickens my senses in our wakingtime
And the rhythm that governs the repose of our sleepingtime”
The Times (preview only – subscription required)
Huffington Post (contains interesting photo gallery)
David Morley– and, in its Comments, Graham Fletcher
David Barrie – on Valerie Eliot and the Becket Casket
Bruce Ross-Smith – on her editing of TS Eliot’s letters
Leslie Morris – of the Houghton Library, Harvard
Rick Gekoski – on Valerie as a collector and more
Valerie Eliot, keeper of the TS Eliot flame – The Guardian
East Coker graveyard to reunite TS Eliot and widow Valerie – This Is Somerset
Annual TS Eliot Cambridge Lecture 2012
Details have been announced of this year’s Annual TS Eliot Cambridge Lecture, to be delivered by Dr Jeremy Noel-Tod on 14th November. For full details click here.
TS Eliot: East and West – Call for Papers
Proposals are invited for a session to be included in the Sixth World Congress of International American Studies Association (IASA), which will be held on 3-6 August 2013 in Szczecin, Poland. Click here for full details.
TS Eliot and the other Arts – Call for Papers
Abstracts are invited for a collection of essays exploring intermedial dimensions of TS Eliot’s poetry and thought – click here for full details.
A poetic video of the village, produced to support the Save East Coker campaign.
Colloquium – Religion, Philosophy & Myth in TS Eliot’s poetry – University of Leicester
The British Association of Modernist Studies is calling for papers for this important colloquium, to be held in September 2013. Submission deadline is March 2013. Full details here.
East Coker Planning Objection – update and thanks, August 2012
TS Eliot Materialized: new publication announced, August 2012
TS Eliot Materialized – Literal Meaning and Embodied Truth, by G Douglas Atkins, Professor of English at the University of Kansas, is due to be published on 30th October 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan. Author of several previous books on Eliot, the publishers say that “In this lively and accessible book, G. Douglas Atkins moves beyond the familiar ‘deep’ readings and challenges the familiar notion of Eliot as bent on escaping this world for the spiritual world.”
Part of the National Library of New Zealand has acquired papers from the family of John Middleton Murry, second husband of NZ author Katherine Mansfield, which includes correspondence between the author and TS Eliot.
East Coker – Development Objection – August 2012
We’ve been asked at short notice to circulate the attached appeal for objections to the planned development of East Coker, the inspirational village where Eliot is interred.
Letter of Objection (downloadable Word document) NB This must be completed with your full name and address before submission.
TS Eliot and Sherlock Holmes – July 2012
A Sherlockian makes a connection?
TS Eliot’s The Waste Land 2012 – A multimedia walk – July 2012
The Guardian’s report on a guided tour of London, “city of fragments”, to the backdrop of Eliot’s poem.
Reviews of The Letters of TS Eliot, Vol III 1926-27 edited by Valerie Eliot & John Haffenden, Faber, £40 – publication 5 July 2012
The Guardian Review – Paul Batchelor
Saturday Independent – Brian Morton
Literary Review – David Collard
The Observer – Craig Raine
The Independent – Lesley McDowell
London Evening Standard – David Sexton
New Statesman – Adam Kirsch
Church Times – Richard Harries
Washington Times – Matthew Walther
Seventh Annual TS Eliot Festival, Programme & Booking
The programme of talks, readings, music and celebration has been announced for the seventh Annual TS Eliot Festival, taking place at Little Gidding, 7-8 July 2012
Chosen by The Guardian’s John Mullan
Dorian Linsky explores in The Guardian how David Bowie, Bob Dylan, PJ Harvey, Manic Street Preachers, Thom Yorke and others owe a debt to TS Eliot
President Obama on TS Eliot, May 2012
An excerpt from a forthcoming biography of Barack Obama includes an extract from a letter written by Obama to a former girlfriend, in which he puts forward his views on Eliot and The Waste Land.
Professor Robert Crawford wins Senior Research Fellowship to work on volume one of his TS Eliot biography
Fashion label Duchamp adapts Eliot’s dedication to his wife for its London Spring/Summer window display, April 2012
East Coker: “TS Eliot’s villagers” to fight on as housing development plan is approved, April 2012
Faber confirm July 2012 publication of The Letters of TS Eliot Vol 3
Fans of the iPad version of The Waste Land may enjoy this fascinating lecture by its designer, Hilary Kenna, March 2012