Inventions of the March Hare
T. S. Eliot
A few months before The Waste Land was published in 1922, the manuscript was given by Eliot to his benefactor John Quinn. At the same time he sold Quinn a notebook containing about fifty poems written during Eliot's twenties. It was not until 1968, three years after the poet's death, that the double cache was unveiled within the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library.
The early poems, from the notebook and the accompanying leaves, are now at last published, all but a few of them for the first time. (Five appear in the first volume of Eliot's letters, edited by Mrs Valerie Eliot.) Fascinating to all lovers of Eliot's work, the poems are various in their matter (love, social nuance, dismay - the boredom, the horror and the glory); in their kinds (urban pastoral, satire, lyric, the prose poem); and in their life of language (two are in French, and many are diversely indebted to Jules Laforgue). Here, to add to Prufrock and Other Observations (1917), are Other Observations. Many are of great beauty; all are of great interest, technical and human.
The poems are fully annotated. Editorial appendices reproduce, first, the verses on leaves excised by Eliot from the notebook; second, the early drafts of poems published in 1917; third, drafts of 1920 poems now with the notebook; and fourth, Eliot's revelatory statements, gathered from his criticism, correspondence and interviews, about the many influences which went to the creation of his early poems.
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