Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-viii

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English Lion, 1930-1933: Introduction

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pp. ix-xxxii

The period of T. S. Eliot’s life between the ages of forty-one and forty-five, the years covered by this volume, was a time of great inner disturbance, including the permanent separation from his wife Vivien. His publications from 1930 to 1933 are marked by clear continuities with his earlier prose – most notably, the preoccupation with Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and...

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Editorial Procedures and Principles

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pp. xxxiii-xl

Eliot’s uncollected prose makes up the vast majority of the writings published in his lifetime and spans the period from his stories in the Smith Academy Record in 1905 to his final autobiographical note for the Harvard College Class of 1910: Fifty-fifth Anniversary Report, contributed in late December 1964, shortly before his death on 4 January 1965. These writings include hundreds...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xli-xliv

Our greatest debt is to the late Valerie Eliot, for her tireless devotion over many years to collecting, preserving, and ordering her husband’s multiform writings, and for her confidence and trust in commissioning The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition. We are also indebted to her personal assistant, Debbie Whitfield, who has graciously facilitated our access...

Abbreviations

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pp. xlv-xlviii

Illustrations

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pp. xlix-lii

Part 1: Essays, Reviews, and Commentaries

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A Commentary (Jan 1930)

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pp. 3-6

In our July number we announced a new form of literary award to be conferred by five reviews: The Criterion, the Europäische Revue of Berlin, the Nouvelle Revue Française of Paris, the Revista de Occidente of Madrid and the Nuova Antologia of Milan. Our project, it will be remembered, was to make the award in five successive years: first for the best short story submitted...

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A review of God: Being an Introduction to the Science of Metabiology, by John Middleton Murry

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pp. 7-10

This book is a natural sequel to the author’s Life of Jesus.1 It is a more important book than its predecessor in that it not only generalizes the same problem into a form in which its relevancy to the modern world will be more easily recognized, but also has a more sustained clarity of expression than we are accustomed to expect from Mr. Murry. He has evidently worked...

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A review of Baudelaire and the Symbolists: Five Essays, by Peter Quennell

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pp. 11-14

Mr. Quennell has done for his generation what Arthur Symons did many years ago with his Symbolist Movement in Literature.1 I am not disposed to disparage Mr. Symons’s book; it was a very good book for its time; it did make the reader want to read the poets Mr. Symons wrote about. I myself owe Mr. Symons a great debt: but for having read his book, I should not, in...

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An unsigned review of A Game at Chesse, by Thomas Middleton, ed. R. C. Bald

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pp. 15-19

Thomas Middleton is conspicuously an Elizabethan dramatist who has been highly praised, but who has never yet received his due. That is not altogether the fault of the critics. The work of Webster, for instance, even with the perplexingly inferior later plays, is comparatively easy to grasp as a whole; so is that of Ford, or that of Tourneur – if he be Tourneur; even...

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Poetry and Propaganda

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pp. 20-35

The text for this paper is taken from Whitehead’s Science and the Modern World, page 127:2

The literature of the nineteenth century, especially its English poetic literature, is a witness to the discord between the aesthetic intuitions of mankind and the mechanism of science. Shelley brings vividly before us the elusiveness of the eternal objects of sense as they haunt the change...

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Religion without Humanism

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pp. 36-43

I must rely, in these few pages, upon a brief summary of the limitations within which I believe humanism must work, which I published in the Hound and Horn, June, 1929.1 In that paper I stated my belief that humanism is in the end futile without religion. Here I wish to put forward briefly a view which seems to me equally important, the counterpart of the other, and...

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Thinking in Verse: A Survey of Early Seventeenth-Century Poetry

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pp. 44-56

[In these six talks I shall be dealing with a number of poets who have some very definite peculiarities in common, to such an extent that they are known generally as “the metaphysical poets.” And finally I shall have to indicate the transition, less abrupt and more interesting than is generally thought, from this type of poetry to what is called the poetry of “the...

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Rhyme and Reason: The Poetry of John Donne

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pp. 57-70

[I believe that most people who have read even a few of John Donne’s poems know something about his life: and that is exactly the reason why, even in a half-hour’s talk, I must say something about his life as well as about his poetry. Donne is, to the common reader, as much a remarkable and enigmatic personality as he is the author of certain poems; therefore...

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The Devotional Poets of the Seventeenth Century: Donne, Herbert, Crashaw

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pp. 71-84

[I had to spend most of my time last week in contesting current superstitions about John Donne, and the rest in trying to explain the nature of the figures of speech called conceits. But so far I have not said enough about his positive merits; and if I left it at that you might well wonder what reason there is for calling him a great or a fine poet. So I must say a little more...

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To the Editor of The Bookman

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pp. 85-88

Sir, – It is not often that I feel obliged to reply to criticism of my own work. If one tried to correct every misunderstanding, one would have no time for anything else. But in reading your “Chronicle and Comment” for March 1930, I find what is to me a more serious matter: a travesty, as I take it, of my attitude to one of the greatest men of our time; so I ask you, as an act...

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A Commentary (Apr 1930)

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pp. 89-93

Matthew Arnold, in one of the most popular of his essays, expounded with great skill and persuasion the advantage of the French in the possession of an Academy of Letters, but concluded that the English would never get such an institution, and perhaps ought not to wish for it.1 The persistent project of a National Theatre in England suggests somewhat similar...

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In Memoriam [Moncrieff, Lawrence, Whibley]

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p. 94

At the last moment of preparation for press, we learn almost simultaneously of the death of three distinguished contributors to The Criterion: C. K. SCOTT-MONCRIEFF, D. H. LAWRENCE and CHARLES WHIBLEY.1 There is neither time nor space to commemorate them further in this number. Editorial comment must be impersonal. We can only...

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Mystic and Politician as Poet: Vaughan, Traherne, Marvell, Milton

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pp. 95-107

[I am sorry that it is impossible to read you any of Crashaw’s poems in full. But, as I said, the best of them are too long; my talk would become simply a poetry reading. So I will suggest that you read his “Hymn to St. Theresa” (137 in Grierson); and then try to get hold of a translation of the autobiography of that amazing woman; and then read the poem again.2 And finally, on page...

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D. H. Lawrence. To the Editor of The Nation and Athenaeum

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p. 108

Sir, Mr. E. M. Forster, in a letter in your issue of March 29th, says “straight out” that the late D. H. Lawrence was “the greatest imaginative novelist of our time.”1
I am the last person to wish to disparage the genius of Lawrence, or to disapprove when a writer of the eminence of Mr. Forster speaks “straight out.” But the virtue of speaking straight out is somewhat diminished if...

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The Minor Metaphysicals: From Cowley to Dryden

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pp. 109-119

In an age of rich poetic accomplishment we may expect to find a swarm of minor poets each of whom is the author of one or two noteworthy pieces of verse. Donne invented an idiom, a language which less original men could learn to talk; and which they went on talking until they talked it out; and Dryden imposed a new way of speech on the next hundred years. [The...

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John Dryden

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pp. 120-131

[It may seem odd that I have chosen to include Dryden in a series of six talks, five of which have been devoted to those whom we call the metaphysical poets. For no one appears less “metaphysical” than Dryden; and his inclusion here may seem to you a caprice. But as I said at the start, I have chosen to dwell on the continuity of English poetry rather than on its divisions. Among...

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Preface to Anabasis: A Poem by St.-J. Perse, with a Translation into English by T. S. Eliot

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pp. 132-137

I am by no means convinced that a poem like Anabase requires a preface at all.2 It is better to read such a poem six times, and dispense with a preface. But when a poem is presented in the form of a translation, people who have never heard of it are naturally inclined to demand some testimonial. So I give mine hereunder.
Anabase is already well known, not only in France, but in other countries...

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Message to the Anglo-Catholic Congress in London

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p. 138

There is no doubt a large public which is indifferent, there is a much smaller public which is hostile, and there is another public which is rejoiced, when the Anglo-Catholic Congress takes place. To my mind the value of these congresses will prove to be, in time, still more for the first two categories than for the third: the first will learn that there is something to think...

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Second Message to the Anglo-Catholic Congress

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pp. 139-140

I should like to mention, as a layman – and I think it is a suggestion which can be made most forcibly by a layman – that there is one way in which these Congresses are very valuable, which appeals to me particularly. I am thinking of the numbers of Catholics scattered about the land who have not the benefit of a Catholic parish, or of a church in which they can find...

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A Commentary (July 1930)

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pp. 141-144

Whatever nomination be made to the Laureateship, which at our moment of writing is still vacant, the discussions in the press about the “logical” successor to Dr. Bridges imply a very positive tribute to the late Laureate. The journalistic flutter of curiosity over his successor owes its interest largely to the fact that Bridges, in his very different way, raised the Laureateship to a...

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Introduction to The Wheel of Fire: Essays in Interpretation of Shakespeare’s Sombre Tragedies by G. Wilson Knight

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pp. 145-154

It has taken me a long time to recognize the justification of what Mr. Wilson Knight calls “interpretation.”2 In my previous scepticism I am quite ready to admit the presence of elements of pure prejudice, as well as of some which I defend. I have always maintained, not only that Shakespeare was not a philosophical poet in the sense of Dante and Lucretius; but also, what...

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Baudelaire

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pp. 155-167

Anything like a just appreciation of Baudelaire has been slow to arrive in England, and still is defective or partial even in France. There are, I think, special reasons for the difficulty in estimating his worth and finding his place. For one thing, Baudelaire was in some ways far in advance of the point of view of his own time, and yet was very much of it, very largely...

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Introductory Essay to London: A Poem and The Vanity of Human Wishes by Samuel Johnson

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pp. 168-175

There is an essay to be written on the quotations which Sir Walter Scott used for the chapter headings of his novels, to illustrate the wide reading and critical good taste of that novelist. It is a great many years ago – about thirty years ago – that I was struck by a quotation of four lines; I cannot now remember at w hat chapter of which of Scott’s novels it is...

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Arnold and Pater

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pp. 176-189

Although Pater is as appropriate to the ’seventies as to the ’eighties, because of the appearance of Studies in the History of the Renaissance in 1873, I have chosen to discuss him in this volume2* because of the date 1885, the middle of the decade, which marks the publication of Marius the Epicurean.3 The first may certainly be counted the more “influential” book; but Marius...

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A Commentary (Oct 1930)

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pp. 190-193

The summer of Parliament ended in public depression and apathy, and we look towards the autumn resumption with still less hopefulness. Until recent years Parliamentary Government meant that one section of voters wanted to keep the Government in, to carry on its good work; and another section of voters wanted to turn it out, and substitute a really good one. So...

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To the Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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pp. 194-196

As I spent the first 16 years of my life in St. Louis, with the exception of summer holidays in Maine and Massachusetts, and a visit to Louisiana which I do not remember, it is self-evident that St. Louis affected me more deeply than any other environment has done. These 16 years were spent in a house at 2635 Locust Street, since demolished. This house stood on part of...

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Cyril Tourneur

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pp. 197-208

Although the tragedies which make immortal the name of Cyril Tourneur are accessible to everyone in the Mermaid edition, it is still an event to have a new edition of the “work” of this strange poet.2 Fifty-two years have passed since the edition in two volumes by Churton Collins. And this sumptuous critical edition of Professor Nicoll’s reminds us that it is time to...

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Mocking-Birds. To the Editor of The New Statesman

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pp. 209-210

Sir, – I have just read Mr. Brian Howard’s interesting remarks about myself in your last issue but one. I was glad also to read Mr. Brooks’s historical corrections, which are entirely justified, except that instead of Mr. Huxley, a later arrival, he might have added one or two more eminent names.2
It is not however on this subject, whereon I am hardly qualified, that I...

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The Book of Beauty. To the Editor of The Nation and Athenaeum

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pp. 211-212

Sir,
I intervene in this matter with some diffidence and at the risk of being told to mind my own business, but as Mr. Beaton and Mrs. McLaren have so completely distorted what I take to be the point of Mrs. Woolf ’s letter, I feel that it is not impertinent for an outsider to draw attention to the real issue. And the fact that Mr. Beaton is a very insignificant, though...

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A Commentary (Jan 1931)

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pp. 213-220

The Times informed us not long ago in a leading article (October 2nd), that “never in our history has there been such a period of popular education as the last year and a half.” It further rebuked Sir Martin Conway, who had been grumbling in epistolary form about the state of the Conservative Party, for regretting the extension of the franchise, by putting forward the “irresistible...

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Tourneur and The Revenger’s Tragedy. To the Editor of The Times Literary Supplement

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pp. 221-222

Sir, – I am gratified that so distinguished a scholar as Mr. Oliphant should express approval of my article on Cyril Tourneur in your issue of November 13.1 To the points he raises I should like to reply as briefly as possible.
I am sorry if Mr. Oliphant thinks that I attach excessive importance to the chronology of the Stationers’ Register. I am by no means one of those...

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Thoughts after Lambeth

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pp. 223-250

The Church of England washes its dirty linen in public. It is convenient and brief to begin with this metaphorical statement. In contrast to some other institutions both civil and ecclesiastical, the linen does get washed. To have linen to wash is something; and to assert that one’s linen never needed washing would be a suspicious boast. Without some understanding...

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Classicism and Romanticism. To the Editor of The Dublin Review

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pp. 251-252

Sir, – I have read with much interest the correspondence of Mr. Maritain and Mr. Belgion in your January issue.1 If I venture to intervene, it is not to correct any misstatement of my own views, as Mr. Maritain does not impute any to me. I dare say that I write primarily from the flattery of being mentioned so charmingly by Mr. Maritain, who should know very well my...

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A Commentary (Apr 1931)

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pp. 253-264

The social and political situation in England is such that we now hear from the most orthodox editorial pulpits in the country that something must be done – something, that is, better than merely turning the present Government out and putting the last one back again. For example, in The Observer of February 22nd, Mr. Garvin had come to the opinion that a new...

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Dryden the Poet

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pp. 265-274

Dryden’s position in English literature is unique. Far below Shakespeare, and even below Milton, as we must put him, he yet has, just by reason of his precise degree of inferiority, a kind of importance which neither Shakespeare nor Milton has – the importance of his influence. It is this nice question of influence that I wish to investigate first, in relation to what I...

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Dryden the Dramatist

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pp. 275-285

It is not such an easy matter to explain the utility to English letters and civilisation of Dryden’s dramatic work, as it is to persuade of the importance of his poetry. Here are, in the edition of 1735 which I have, six volumes of miscellaneous plays, the chief product of twenty years of his life: it would be in a modern edition one fairly stout volume.2 The point is: are we...

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Dryden the Critic

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pp. 286-295

The prose writings of Dryden, whether in the standard edition of W. P. Ker, or in the convenient “Everyman” edition, consist entirely of prefaces to various volumes of verse or verse plays.2 For the most part, they are concerned either with his views on poetic drama, or with his views on the art of translation. They are occasional, and constitute a kind of commentary...

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If I Were a Dean

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pp. 296-299

My first thought of “If I were a Dean” is not of what I should want to do, but of what I should want not to do: and I make no apology. I have nothing but admiration and pity for those Deans who have toiled unceasingly, made appeals and collected subscriptions year after year, for – what? Merely to keep their minsters from tumbling about their ears. To me a cathedral is...

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A review of The Prospects of Humanism, by Lawrence Hyde

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pp. 300-302

This is the second of a series of three volumes, the first of which was The Learned Knife; for the third we are promised a discussion of “modern religious tendencies.”1 In this book, which is clearly thought out and well written, Mr. Hyde establishes himself as a brilliant and thoroughgoing critic of critics; he might be described as a potential leader of the second, or perhaps...

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A Commentary (July 1931)

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pp. 303-312

Something happened at the Fishmongers’ Hall not long ago which deserves some further record than the short and simple annals of The Financial Times. It was the dinner of the British Bankers’ Association.1 The presiding sprite was Mr. J. Beaumont Pease,2* and the ghost of the evening was the Lord Chancellor.3 Mr. Pease, after the toast of “His Majesty’s Government,” took...

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A review of Son of Woman: The Story of D. H. Lawrence, by J. Middleton Murry

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pp. 313-319

Mr. Murry has written a brilliant book.1 It seems to me the best piece of sustained writing that Mr. Murry has done. At any rate, I think that I understand it better than most of his recent writings. It is a definitive work of critical biography, or biographical criticism. It is so well done that it gives me the creeps: probably these matters matter no longer to Lawrence...

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A review of Essays of a Catholic Layman in England, by Hilaire Belloc

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pp. 320-322

Perhaps the most painful criticism one has to make of Mr. Belloc’s polemical essays is that he has suffered through devoting much labour to combating very stupid people.2 He could reasonably reply that he found the stupidity there; and that when it is the stupidity of such intelligent, ignorant, and extremely active men as Mr. Wells and Mr. Shaw, it is a very serious...

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The Modern Dilemma. Syllabus for Four BBC Broadcasts

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pp. 323-326

One important characteristic of the “problems of the present time” – as it appears at least, to us who are concerned with them – is that they do not form a list of separate problems each to be dealt with by the appropriate specialist; but we feel instinctively before we have even thought about them, that they form together one single problem, affecting the interests of...

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Thomas Heywood

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pp. 327-337

There are a few of the Elizabethan dramatists, notably Marlowe and Ben Jonson, who always return to our minds with the reality of personal acquaintances. We know them unmistakably through their own writings – Jonson partly though his conversations with Drummond2 – and by a few anecdotes of the kind which, even when apocryphal, remain as evidence...

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The Pensées of Pascal

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pp. 338-353

It might seem that about Blaise Pascal, and about the two works on which his fame is founded, everything that there is to say had been said. The details of his life are as fully known as we can expect to know them; his mathematical and physical discoveries have been treated many times; his religious sentiment and his theological views have been discussed again...

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A Commentary (Oct 1931)

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pp. 354-361

Being willing to improve my scant knowledge of the theory of politics, I welcomed the appearance lately of two small books, both of which, to judge from their titles, were elementary enough for my needs. One was An Introduction to Politics, by Mr. Harold J. Laski (Unwin: 2s. 6d.), and the other Ich Dien: The Tory Path, by Lord Lymington (Constable: 4s. 6d.). Mr. Laski...

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A review of Fashion in Literature: A Study of Changing Taste, by E. E. Kellett

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pp. 362-364

Mr. Kellett is writing on a subject on which he has already shown himself something of an authority.1 In this book of 369 pages he seems to me to have missed a most interesting opportunity, or both of two opportunities. He might have written a philosophical and psychological treatise on the enjoyment of art and literary art in particular: for such an investigation...

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Preface to Transit of Venus: Poems, by Harry Crosby

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pp. 365-368

I doubt whether we can ever understand the poetry of a contemporary; especially if we are engaged in writing ourselves. This remark will not seem surprising, or anything more than commonplace, if we stop to try to understand the limited and peculiar sense in which we may be said to “understand” poetry at all. In the senses in which we “understand” a mathematical...

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Donne in our Time

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pp. 369-382

It is, I know, a tercentenary 1631-1931; but for my own experience within the terms of this paper, our time is roughly 1906-1931.2 I mean that Professor Briggs used to read, with great persuasiveness and charm, verses of Donne to the Freshmen at Harvard assembled in what was called, as I remember, “English A.”3 I confess that I have now forgotten what Professor Briggs...

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To the Editor of The Times

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p. 383

Mr. T. S. Eliot asks us to say that his appointment as Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry in the University of HARVARD for 1932-33 which was announced in The Times on Thursday, is for seven months only. Mr. Eliot will not relinquish any of the work on which he is regularly engaged in London.1

NOTES
1. This clarification regarding the terms of the Norton Professorship for 1932-33 was a...

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Charles Whibley

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pp. 384-398

There is a peculiar difficulty, which I experience for the first time, in attempting an estimate of the literary work of a writer whom one remembers primarily as a friend. It is not so much that from a kind of reticence and fear of being uncritical one is inclined to reserve praise: it is rather that one’s judgment is inevitably an amalgam of impressions of the work and...

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B.B.C. Talks on Fiction. The Change of Policy. To the Editor of The Times

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pp. 399-402

Sir,—We desire to express our profound regret at the change of policy implied in the recent decision of the B.B.C. to exclude all references to contemporary novels from broadcast talks. Many of the signatories to this letter are engaged in the creation, manufacture, distribution, and criticism of books. Some of us are, therefore, directly affected by this ban, and to that extent may be said to...

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A Commentary (Jan 1932)

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pp. 403-411

For the last few months we have been peppered with a succession of little books on financial and economic problems; little books aimed at that large part of the “reading public” which normally is not only ignorant of such matters, but prefers to remain so. I myself am normally ignorant as anybody, with the normal disinclination to take up any subject which I did...

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George Herbert

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pp. 412-416

In The Oxford Book of English Verse, George Herbert is allotted five pages, the same number as Bishop King and many less than Robert Herrick.2 This does, I imagine, gauge pretty accurately the measure of Herbert’s reputation: he is known as the author of a few fine devotional poems suitable for anthologies, which serve to illustrate his debt to Donne; and his figure is...

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Preface to Bubu of Montparnasse, by Charles-Louis Philippe. Trans. Laurence Vail

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pp. 417-421

It is a good many years ago, it was in the year 1910, that I first read Bubu de Montparnasse, when I came first to Paris.2 Read at an impressionable age, and under the impressive conditions, the book has always been for me, not merely the best of Charles Louis Philippe’s books, but a symbol of the Paris of that time. Little known even now outside of France, Philippe was then...

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Christianity and Communism

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pp. 422-431

I have been tempted to begin my contribution to this discussion with the words of Trinculo in The Tempest: “The folly of this island! They say there’s but five upon this isle: we are three of them; if th’other two be brained like us, the state totters.”2 I must add that I do not use this quotation in any invidious sense. But it had some relevance to my first thought when I began...

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Mr. Harold Monro: A Poet and his Ideal

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pp. 432-435

Mr. Harold Monro, a distinguished poet and man of letters, died on Tuesday, the day after his fifty-third birthday, at a nursing home at Broadstairs.1 His death will be mourned not only by admirers of his own verse, but by all in England who have cared seriously, during the last 30 years, for serious poetry.
Both his father and his maternal grandfather were engineers. He was...

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Religion and Science: A Phantom Dilemma

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pp. 436-445

Last week I was concerned chiefly, in a general way, with the “dilemma” of Christianity and Communism. But the dilemma which presents itself to more people is the supposed dilemma of Religion versus Science. If my first dilemma, Christianity and Communism, is real – as I firmly believe it is – then it follows that the second dilemma, Religion and Science, is a...

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The Search for Moral Sanction

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pp. 446-455

[I have read all the letters which came to me after my first talk. Some showed misunderstandings which I hope are gradually clearing up as I proceed; some tend to cancel each other; I must say that all have been useful to me and I thank you for them. There are one or two points on which there is enough enquiry to make an answer desirable. One correspondent asks...

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A Commentary (Apr 1932)

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pp. 456-463

I have again been reading a number of small books, pamphlets and articles of a “revolutionary” nature; I find that younger people with whom I talk have, not exactly revolutionary ideas, but rather a yearning towards revolutionary ideas of some kind. Indeed, those who prefer things to be much as they are, including practising politicians in and out of power, and Fabians, may...

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Building Up the Christian World

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pp. 464-473

[It may well have seemed to you, that in what I have been saying hitherto, I have done no more than comment on a few of the obvious troubles of our time. Or it may have seemed in spite of any protestations, that I have nothing to propose except a “return” to Christianity; and that those who neither believe nor want to believe had best turn elsewhere. So I have this...

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John Ford

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pp. 474-485

Among other possible classifications, we might divide the Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists into those who would have been great even had Shakespeare never lived, those who are positive enough to have brought some positive contribution after Shakespeare, and those whose merit consists merely in having exploited successfully a few Shakespearian devices...

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What Is Modern Psychology? Letter to the Editor of The Listener

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pp. 486-487

I think that Professor Pear has missed the point of my brief remarks about modern psychology; but that, I perceive, is chiefly my own fault. The phrase which I used, “modern psychology or psycho-analysis,” was a deplorable ellipsis.1 Although it is twenty years since I studied psychology seriously, I was quite aware that psycho-analysis is only one department, or...

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A Commentary (July 1932)

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pp. 488-496

In Fiction and the Reading Public1* Mrs. Q. D. Leavis has written a useful book: that is, a book which provides information so presented as to allow us to make our own generalizations. Those who read the book intelligently will be likely to engage in speculations further than those of the author. Mrs. Leavis has attempted, not a history of the novel, but a history of the...

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Preface to Selected Essays, by T. S. Eliot

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p. 497

My acknowledgments are due to Messrs. Methuen & Co. Ltd. (for the parts of The Sacred Wood reprinted); to The Hogarth Press (Homage to John Dryden); to The Haslewood Press (for A Dialogue on Dramatic Poetry); to Messrs. Constable & Co. Ltd. (for Seneca in Elizabethan Translation, originally printed as Introduction to the Tudor Translations Series edition of...

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A Commentary (Oct 1932)

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pp. 498-505

It is greatly to the credit of the intellectuals of post-War Germany, living in a country which has been more politics-ridden than any other of Western Europe, and in an atmosphere which one might suppose most discouraging to dispassionate thought, that they have been able to produce so much that is first rate. It is a pity that work of this kind finds little appreciation in...

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A Testimonial for The Cantos of Ezra Pound: Some Testimonies by Ernest Hemingway, Ford Madox Ford, T. S. Eliot, Hugh Walpole, Archibald MacLeish, James Joyce and Others

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pp. 506-507

I don’t think that the publication of Ezra’s Cantos in this country needs any word from me or from anybody else. It is rather an impertinence. There was a time when it did not seem unfitting for me to write a pamphlet, Ezra Pound, His Poetry and Metric but Ezra was then known only to a few and I was so completely unknown that it seemed more decent that the pamphlet...

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A Commentary (Jan 1933)

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pp. 508-514

Writing from a country in which communistic theories appear to have more vogue among men of letters than they have yet reached in England, I have recently looked at two books which discuss the relation of literature to social affairs.1 One is not very new; Trotsky’s Literature and Revolution was first published in translation in 1925, and has since become a text-book...

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A Commentary (Apr 1933)

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pp. 515-521

I do not know whether a book called The Ironic Temper, by Haakon Chevalier (whose name was previously unknown to me) has been published in London or not.1 It is a book worth reading, and also one that inspires the kind of reflexions appropriate to the literary form of these commentaries, if they have a form. Its primary aim is what the title affirms, a study of the...

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Critical Note to The Collected Poems of Harold Monro, ed. Alida Monro, with a biographical sketch by F. S. Flint

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pp. 522-526

If we considered the poetry of Harold Monro, as it is natural to do, from an historical point of view, we should see him isolated between the “Georgian” poets of one decade and the more “modern” poets of another.2† The historical point of view, especially when we are concerned with our immediate predecessors and our contemporaries, is largely impersonal; that is to say, it...

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A Commentary (July 1933)

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pp. 527-533

It seems to be the necessity of the moment – at least in America – for the editor of a literary periodical to explain exactly where that periodical stands on the great political and social issues of the day.2 I have no intention of doing that myself on this occasion; and I have not yet framed any manifesto against manifestoes. In the new American Review I recognize doctrines...

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Catholicism and International Order

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pp. 534-546

I assume that we are all of one mind about the deplorable consequences of the schisms of Christianity, and are convinced of the vital importance of the reunion of Christendom. We are also aware that if Christendom were re-united to-morrow it would be far from coextensive with even the European world. Against it would be not only that considerable body of...

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A review of Letters of Mrs. Gaskell and Charles Eliot Norton, 1855-1865. Ed. with an introduction by Jane Whitehill

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pp. 547-549

This is not a book for admirers of Norton so much as for admirers of Mrs. Gaskell.1 In 1857 Mrs. Gaskell took a holiday from Manchester, and paid a visit to the Storys in Rome.2 Her daughters, Marianne and Meta, accompanied her; in a letter some years later Meta recalls the first meeting to Norton:

I can see your face and smile now (as distinctly as if I were only just turning...

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A Commentary (Oct 1933)

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pp. 550-556

In the month of July, Irving Babbitt died at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the end of an illness of some nine months.2 After a life of indefatigable, and for many years almost solitary intellectual struggle, he had secured for his views, if not full appreciation, at least wide recognition; he had established a great and beneficent influence, of a kind which has less...

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Housman on Poetry. A review of The Name and Nature of Poetry, by A. E. Housman

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pp. 557-560

It has long been known to the majority of those who really care about such matters, that Mr. A. E. Housman is one of the few living masters of English prose; and that on those subjects on which he chooses to exercise his talents, there is no one living who can write better. We hope that he may consent to collect his scattered prose writings: the immortal Preface to...

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Report on The Listener Poems

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pp. 561-566

I have been asked to give my opinion of a series of short pieces of verse by contemporary writers which have appeared in The Listener between February 1931 and the present time. As the terms of reference are rather large it might be well to consider first upon what grounds a weekly periodical is justified in publishing specimens of contemporary verse, and with...

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Measure for Measure at the Old Vic. To the Editor of The Times

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pp. 567-568

Sir, − If I am not too tardy, and if you have the space for this kind of brief communication, I should like to endorse Mr. John Gielgud’s appeal in your issue of December 8 on behalf of the current production of Measure for Measure at the Old Vic.1 The opportunity to see a play – and a very great play – of Shakespeare which is so rarely produced should be enough of an attraction; but it has been...

Part 2: Lectures in America, 1932-33

A. Chronology of Lectures and Readings

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pp. 571-573

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The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures for 1932-33. The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism: Studies in the Relation of Criticism to Poetry in England, by T. S. Eliot

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pp. 574-694

These lectures, delivered at Harvard University during the winter of 1932-33, owe much to an audience only too ready to applaud merit and condone defect; but I am aware that such success as they had was largely dramatic, and that they will be still more disappointing to those who heard them than they will be to those who did not.3 I should much prefer to leave my...

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The Bible as Scripture and as Literature

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pp. 695-708

I shall not detain you with any account of Bunyan, Abraham Lincoln, or of all the famous men who are said to have been reared in humble circumstances and to have formed their style of writing upon the Bible alone. I will presume you to be familiar with these tales.1 Nor shall I waste your time by generally affirming that the Bible of the Authorised Version is the...

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The Percy Graeme Turnbull Memorial Lectures. The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry. Three Lectures Delivered at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA in January 1933

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pp. 709-757

It is not my intention, in three lectures, to cover the whole ground of what is ordinarily called “metaphysical poetry.” Out of the group of poets commonly included under that term in extension, I shall only refer to the principal members. On the other hand, I shall have something to say about other poets, both more ancient and much more modern, who seem to me...

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Lecture Notes for English 26: English Literature from 1890 to the Present Day

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pp. 758-809

Warning about my own limitations. Ignorance and Prejudice – reasons for.
Do not intend to supply any information that can be got out of books. Shall only give information from personal knowledge which cannot be got from books; and for the rest a guide towards private reading and original thinking. Seminar spirit – free discussion.
Why study contemporary literature at all? is the first question. Obviously...

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The Modern Dilemma [originally “Two Masters”]

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pp. 810-816

Several years ago, at the end of a pamphlet on the last Lambeth Conference, I wrote the words: “The world is trying the experiment of attempting to form a civilized but non-Christian mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient in awaiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before...

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Address by T. S. Eliot, ’06, to the Class of ’33, June 17, 1933

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pp. 817-824

Twenty-seven years ago I sat here with the graduating class − not in this hall, we did not seem to need so much room in those days − and somebody then got up on the platform and made the sort of speech that I am supposed to make.2 At least, I believe some one did. I really do not remember. I have not the slightest recollection who it was or a word that he said, and...

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B. Editorial Introduction to Reconstructed Lectures, 1933

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pp. 825-827

In addition to his Norton, Turnbull, and Page-Barbour Lectures, Eliot gave at least three invited lectures for special occasions: “The Bible as Scripture and as Literature” for the Women’s Alliance at King’s Chapel, Boston; “Two Masters,” revised and published as “The Modern Dilemma” for the Boston Association of Unitarian Clergy; and the Commencement...

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Edward Lear and Modern Poetry

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pp. 828-833

Mr. Eliot began with the remark that the subject was essentially too difficult and abstruse a one for him, and that he could offer only a tentative suggestion of hardly more than the problem itself (SCW). His lecture, he announced, was not to be a difficult lecture on a simple subject, but a simple lecture on a difficult subject. Edward Lear’s poetry is not as childish or...

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The Development of Taste in Poetry

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pp. 834-836

Relativity of poetic taste to individual personality was stressed last night by T. S. Eliot. . . . He described three general periods of poetic feeling shading from an adolescent to a mature appreciation of poetry (DC). Taste in poetry must not be an objective thing, but rather must have relation to one’s own personality . . . Mr. Eliot traced the development of taste in the...

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The Study of Shakespeare Criticism

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pp. 837-839

Dr. Eliot prefaced his speech with the generalization that “the views which different men have taken of Shakespeare at different times form a commentary on the history of civilization.” He began his lecture by stating of Shakespeare, “he is one of those very few poets whom it takes a whole lifetime to understand. One reads him every year with more understanding, for...

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The Tendency of Some Modern Poetry

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pp. 840-845

In discussing the aspects of present day poetry, Mr. Eliot declared that the modern poet seemed to serve no essential or necessary function: “Unless the poet’s work is of the worst or of the best type it receives no consideration,” he asserted. “If it is of the worst type it goes into the newspapers. The best poetry is appreciated only by the cultural minority” (MD). He...

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English Poets as Letter Writers

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pp. 846-850

I am really the last person who ought to be talking to you about letter writers, even within the frame to which I have restricted myself. To begin with, I am almost illiterate, although not analphabetic.2 I am an extremely ill-educated and ignorant man. I have been trying for some years, indeed, ever since I provided one of my poems with notes, to shatter the fiction that I...

Index

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pp. 851-874

Image Plates

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