The Letters of T. S. Eliot Volume 9
Eliot sheds his ‘usually reticent self’ and the ‘hilarious bleakness’ he feels in wartime London to compose these entertaining and revealing letters – the latest in this exemplary series.
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This volume covers the production of Eliot’s play The Family Reunion; the publication of The Idea of a Christian Society; and the joyous versifying of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. After exhausting himself through nights of fire-watching in the London wartime blackout, he travels the country, attends meetings of The Moot, delivers talks, and advises a fresh generation of writers including Cyril Connolly, Keith Douglas, Kathleen Raine and Vernon Watkins. Major correspondents include W. H. Auden, George Barker, William Empson, Geoffrey Faber, John Hayward, James Laughlin, Hope Mirrlees, Mervyn Peake, Ezra Pound, Michael Roberts, Stephen Spender, Tambimuttu, Allen Tate, Michael Tippett, Charles Williams and Virginia Woolf. Four Quartets, Eliot’s culminating masterpiece, is discussed in detail.
Throughout this absorbing and beautifully presented correspondence, Haffended in the perfect host: the letters sit on a bedrock of editorial notes, identifying people and texts, quoting generously from other correspondences, Eliot's own and others', and adducing all sorts of other material in a manner both companionable and erudite.
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