The Johns Hopkins University Press

The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition

Ronald Schuchard, General Editor

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot gathers for the first time in one place the collected, uncollected, and unpublished prose of one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century. The result of a multi-year collaboration, this eight-volume critical edition dramatically expands access to material that has been restricted or inaccessible in private and institutional collections for almost fifty years.

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The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition

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The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition

Apprentice Years, 1905–1918

T. S. Eliot edited by Jewel Spears Brooker and Ronald Schuchard

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Volume 1 of The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot, Apprentice Years, 1905-1918 includes all surviving prose from Eliot’s years as a student and from his first three years as a literary journalist. Spanning the most formative period in his life, the collection begins with a story composed when he was a sixteen-year-old student at the Smith Academy in St. Louis and ends with a review published when he was thirty and an established man of letters in London. The volume contains twenty-six previously unpublished essays in philosophy and nearly one hundred pieces published in periodicals but never collected. Scrupulously edited and annotated by Jewel Spears Brooker and Ronald Schuchard, this volume is the first scholarly edition of Eliot’s early prose.

Apprentice Years, 1905-1918 is divided into three parts. The first features stories and reviews written between 1905 and 1910 while Eliot was a day student at Smith Academy and an undergraduate at Harvard. The second consists of essays in philosophy and ethics written between 1912 and 1915 when he was a graduate student at Harvard and Oxford. The culmination of this work was his doctoral dissertation on F. H. Bradley, here published for the first time in a critical edition. Articles and reviews written between 1915 and 1918 constitute the third group, beginning with pieces related to Eliot’s credentials in philosophy and the social sciences and concluding with essays and reviews in little magazines and journals Eliot published while establishing himself in literary circles. Apprentice Years contains a detailed historical introduction that traces Eliot’s intellectual development from broad interests in language and literature to intensive study of F. H. Bradley and Aristotle to an informed synthesis of literature and philosophy in literary criticism.

Jewel Spears Brooker, Professor Emerita of Literature at Eckerd College, is the author or editor of eight books, including Approaches to Teaching Eliot's Poetry and Plays (1988), Reading 'The Waste Land': Modernism and the Limits of Interpretation (1990, coauthored with Joseph Bentley), The Placing of T. S. Eliot (1991), Mastery and Escape: T. S. Eliot and the Dialectic of Modernism (1994), Conversations with Denise Levertov (1998), T. S. Eliot and Our Turning World (2000), and T. S. Eliot: The Contemporary Reviews (2004). She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Knight Foundation, and Pew Charitable Trust. She has served as president of the T. S. Eliot Society and the South Atlantic Modern Language Association and as a member of the National Humanities Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Ronald Schuchard, the Goodrich C. White Professor of English, Emeritus, at Emory University, is the author of award-winning Eliot’s Dark Angel (1999) and The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts (2008). The editor of Eliot’s Clark and Turnbull lectures, The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry (1993), he is co-editor with John Kelly of The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, Volume 3 (1994), Volume 4 (2005), winner of the MLA’s Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of Letters, and Volume 5 (forthcoming). A former Guggenheim fellow and founder-director of the T. S. Eliot International Summer School (2009-2013), he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition

English Lion, 1930–1933

T. S. Eliot edited by Jason Harding and Ronald Schuchard

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The period of T. S. Eliot’s life between the ages of forty-one and forty-five was a time of great inner disturbance, including the permanent separation from his wife Vivien. And yet these difficult years also witnessed a steady widening and deepening of his critical interests, in essays that represent the crucible of Eliot’s mature literary, cultural, political, and theological thought.

Among the highlights of work included in this volume are two books of collected lecture series, The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism and John Dryden: The Poet, The Dramatist, The Critic; two pamphlets, Thoughts after Lambeth and Charles Whibley; and substantial essays on seventeenth-century drama, “Cyril Tourneur,” “Thomas Heywood,” and “John Ford” that originally appeared as leading articles in the Times Literary Supplement. Also included are a dozen BBC broadcasts, restoring material cut from the original typescripts, and more than fifty miscellaneous essays, including previously uncollected Criterion editorials, prefaces, letters, and reviews.

Eliot returned to the United States in 1932 for the first time in seventeen years to assume the Charles Eliot Norton Professorship of Poetry at Harvard, providing in his Norton lectures his most important statement on the history and development of English literary criticism, his major engagement with the legacy of the English Romantic poets, and a principal defense of the obscurity of modern verse. He delivered more than forty public talks during the nine months he spent in the United States. Most of his talks were never intended for publication. This volume includes the texts of five unpublished American lectures reconstructed by the editors from a range of contemporary eyewitness accounts. They supplement and enrich our knowledge of Eliot’s statements on literary, cultural, and religious matters, and provide revealing glimpses into his thoughts about particular authors.

The most important previously unpublished materials in this volume are the lecture notes to Eliot’s undergraduate class on contemporary literature at Harvard, English 26: “Contemporary English Literature (1890 to the Present Time).” Ninety-two pages of handwritten notes for twenty lectures reveal unparalleled evidence of Eliot’s thoughts on his contemporaries, including James Joyce, Ezra Pound, W. B. Yeats, and D. H. Lawrence.

Upon his return to the United Kingdom in 1933, Eliot embarked upon a new direction as a creative writer—composing verse choruses for a religious drama. His hopes for creative renewal, however, did little to assuage the guilty qualms ascribed to the “honest poet” in the concluding lecture of The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism, who worried that he had “wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing.”

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The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition

Literature, Politics, Belief, 1927–1929

T. S. Eliot edited by Frances Dickey, Jennifer Formichelli, and Ronald Schuchard

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In 1927, T. S. Eliot was baptized and confirmed in the Church of England and became a naturalized British citizen. The works collected in Literature, Politics, Belief are contemporaneous with Eliot's conversion and exhibit his deepening interest in the history, complexity, and difficulty of belief. During this period he also developed his passion for Renaissance literature and increasingly engaged with English, European, and theological politics.

The nine essays Eliot collected in his third volume of criticism, For Lancelot Andrewes (1928), represent only a fraction of his writing from this period. He produced fifty-four pieces in 1927, forty-nine in 1928, and twenty-four in 1929, along with a small book on Dante.

Literature, Politics, Belief includes Eliot's reviews of detective novels and an edition of The Complete Sherlock Holmes Short Stories; his review of a two-volume biography of Edgar Allan Poe; and his introduction to Ezra Pound's Selected Poems. It also includes two unpublished essays, “The Return of Foxy Grandpa,” a review of Alfred North Whitehead’s Science and the Modern World and Religion in the Making, and the first publication in English of “The Contemporary Novel” (previously in French translation only), which evaluates the state of the novel in Eliot’s time with reference to D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, and David Garnett.

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The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition

The Perfect Critic, 1919–1926

T. S. Eliot edited by Anthony Cuda and Ronald Schuchard

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We are delighted to announce that Volume 2 of The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition was awarded the Modernist Studies Association 2015 Book Prize for an Edition, Anthology, or Essay Collection.

The Perfect Critic, 1919-1926, Volume 2 of The  Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot, documents Eliot's emergence as an authoritative and commanding critical voice in twentieth-century letters. The essays and reviews in this volume, most of which were never republished or collected after their first appearances in periodicals, trace the swift and astonishing arc of his rise to international prominence as an incisive critic of literature and culture, an avant-garde poet, and an editor of a successful and celebrated London journal. These seven years register the seismic shift in modern poetry that comes with the publication of The Waste Land (1922), and they witness the appearance of Eliot's first collected volume of verse, Poems, 1909-1925 (1925).

Eliot composed not less than 130 essays, reviews, and letters during this brief time, publishing in venues as various as The Athenaeum, The Times Literary Supplement, La Nouvelle Revue française, The Dial, and Vanity Fair. Such a period of intense creativity and prolific critical writing is all the more remarkable when considered against the backdrop of the extraordinary upheavals in his personal life: the unexpected deaths of his father and sister, the dismal mental and physical health of his wife Vivienne, and Eliot's own psychological breakdown and treatment. The volume features a thorough historical introduction that describes the dynamic and challenging circumstances, both personal and professional, that faced him as he began to establish his critical reputation in London literary circles and beyond.

  The Perfect Critic gathers together an impressive and widely unknown body of work, but it includes also several of Eliot's most influential and enduring essays—“Tradition and the Individual Talent,” “Hamlet,” “The Metaphysical Poets,” and “Ulysses, Order, and Myth”—now edited and annotated by Anthony Cuda and Ronald Schuchard. These magisterial early works furnish us with the signal concepts and phrases that have made Eliot's criticism a permanent feature of monographs, syllabi, and anthologies, including the “extinction of personality,” the “objective correlative,” the “dissociation of sensibility,” and the “mythical method.”

  The Perfect Critic includes a previously unpublished essay, “A Neglected Aspect of Chapman,” as well as the contents of two influential prose volumes published during the period, The Sacred Wood (1920) and Homage to John Dryden (1924). It also contains newly edited versions of the eight Clark Lectures that Eliot delivered in 1926 for the prestigious series at Trinity College, Cambridge.

  Anthony Cuda, associate professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, is the author of The Passions of Modernism: Eliot, Yeats, Woolf and Mann (2010). He has published articles on Eliot, Yeats, and Heaney, and his reviews of contemporary poetry have appeared in The Washington Post Book World, The New Criterion, FIELD: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, and elsewhere. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the T. S. Eliot Society and a regular lecturer at the T. S. Eliot International Summer School. 

Ronald Schuchard, the Goodrich C. White Professor of English, Emeritus, at Emory University, is the author of award-winning Eliot's Dark Angel (1999) and The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts (2008). The editor of Eliot's Clark and Turnbull lectures, The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry (1993), he is co-editor with John Kelly of The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, Volume 3 (1994), Volume 4 (2005), winner of the MLA's Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of Letters, and Volume 5 (forthcoming). A former Guggenheim fellow and founder-director of the T. S. Eliot International Summer School (2009-2013), he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition

The War Years, 1940−1946

T. S. Eliot edited by David E. Chinitz and Ronald Schuchard

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The War Years: 1940–1946 reveals Eliot’s response to the extraordinary pressures of total war. Much of his work of the period was composed under circumstances or for purposes dictated by World War II, and the war remains the grim background for his prose whether he was writing on the ballet, the book trade, Kipling, Poland, or Poe. The latest pieces in the volume bring Eliot to the brink of another global conflict: the Cold War.

The first part of The War Years includes 129 works under the heading “Essays, Reviews, Addresses, and Public Letters.” It is a sign of Eliot’s cresting reputation as a figure of cultural significance and of his consequent value as a speaker that fully a quarter of these works were written as lectures or radio broadcasts. Freed from the obligation to write commentaries and reviews for the Criterion, which he had shuttered in 1939, Eliot was able to distribute his attention more widely—a fact that may help to account for the thirty-two letters he fired off to the editors of various periodicals during these years. The remaining items in Part I are exceptionally diverse generically, including not only the headlined essays, reviews, and addresses, but prefaces, introductions, newsletters, autobiographical documents, position papers, a controversial pamphlet, a telegram, an advertisement, a wry social comment in the form of a limerick, and an article written as cultural propaganda for a magazine airdropped into occupied France by the Royal Air Force. Across a number of these pieces, Eliot begins to explore the ideas that will coalesce in 1948 as Notes towards the Definition of Culture.

The second part of the volume comprises transcripts and summary reports by others of four lectures for which Eliot’s original text is lost; the third comprises fifteen letters and documents of which Eliot is one of several signatories. The War Years includes a wealth of new material, with twenty-seven works that were previously unpublished and a further thirty-eight that were unrecorded in Donald Gallup’s bibliography and are likely to be unfamiliar to Eliot’s readers.

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The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition

Tradition and Orthodoxy, 1934−1939

T. S. Eliot edited by Iman Javadi, Ronald Schuchard, and Jayme Stayer

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Volume 5 of The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot covers the years 1934–1939. Subtitled Tradition and Orthodoxy, the volume documents Eliot’s engagements with the many social crises that dominated the 1930s.

The abstractions of political theory and the claims of Christian theology were the two disciplines by which Eliot steered his way through the political and economic problems of the decade. The lingering effects of the Great Depression and the consequent rise of extremist political ideologies in the early 1930s gave rise to Eliot’s reflections on the failures of capitalism and liberal democracy in addressing these problems. The popularity of, and problems with, fascism and communism provided Eliot with numerous opportunities to reject both options and to sketch instead ways in which traditional culture and orthodox Christianity could provide principles, if not practical ideas, for reweaving the disintegrating fabric of culture. The arts and literature are continuing themes in this volume, though now they are considered in their social totalities, including culture and religion.

Eliot’s controversial and speculative lectures—given in Virginia in 1933, and published the next year as After Strange Gods—are republished in this volume for the first time since 1934. Here, he attempts to interpret aesthetic and artistic concerns in a broader moral frame that includes sociological and theological themes. Throughout the volume, Eliot is engrossed in the emerging field of Christian sociology, which considers how Christian cultures operate and are structured. The arc of this period begins in the stark moralizing of After Strange Gods and ends in the more generous vision of The Idea of a Christian Society, written as Europe moved inexorably toward another total war.

There are eight pieces published in this volume for the first time, including two lectures on Christianity, “The Church as an Ecumenical Society” and “The Christian in the Modern World,” a short radio broadcast, and two major literary lectures, “Tradition and the Practice of Poetry” and the two talks gathered here as “The Development of Shakespeare’s Verse.” There are a further fifteen items that had been previously published but were unrecorded in the Gallup bibliography, plus another eight signed letters and documents with multiple authorship, also unrecorded in Gallup. Here are reproduced, with full textual notes and annotations, all of the books, articles, commentaries, radio broadcasts, lectures, letters to the editor, and other prose forms in which Eliot sought to reach broad and diverse audiences on the matters that most compelled his attention in this tumultuous decade.

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