The Letters of T. S. Eliot Volume 6: 1932–1933

T. S. Eliot

The Letters of T. S. Eliot series provides a vivid and personal documentation of T. S. Eliot’s most crucial years, both in his private and public life.

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A vivid and personal documentation of T. S. Eliot’s most crucial years, both in his private and public life.

Despairing of his volatile, unstable marriage, T. S. Eliot, at 44, resolves to put an end to his eighteen-year union with Vivien Haigh-Wood Eliot.

To begin with, he distances himself from her for nine months, from September 1932, by becoming Norton Lecturer at Harvard University. His lectures will be published as The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism(1933). He also delivers the Page-Barbour Lectures at Virginia (After Strange Gods, 1934). At Christmas he visits Emily Hale, to whom he is ‘obviously devoted’. He gives talks all over – New York, California, Missouri, Minnesota, Chicago – and the letters describing encounters with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edmund Wilson and Marianne Moore (‘a real Gillette blade’) brim with gossip. High points include the première at Vassar College of his comic melodrama Sweeney Agonistes (1932). The year ‘was the happiest I can ever remember in my life . . . successful and amusing.’

Returning home, he seeks refuge with friends in the country while making known to Vivien his decision to leave her. But he is exasperated when she buries herself in denial: she will not accept a Deed of Separation.

The close of 1933 is lifted when Eliot ‘breaks into Show Business’. He is commissioned to write a ‘mammoth Pageant’: The Rock. This collaborative enterprise will be the proving-ground for the choric triumph of Murder in the Cathedral (1935).

Critic Reviews

'The editing and annotation of these letters is at the level that the subject deserves - there can be no higher praise.

David Sexton
Critic Reviews

'The editing of the 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.

Philip Hensher
T. S.Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot, poet, critic, publisher, was born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1888. He settled in England in 1915, where for a few years he worked in the foreign section of Lloyds Bank. His first book of poems, Prufrock and Other Observations, was published in 1917. In 1922, he became editor of the literary journal, The Criterion, publishing The Waste Land in its first…

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T. S.Eliot
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