restricted access B. Editorial Introduction to Reconstructed Lectures, 1933
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[ 825 B. Editorial Introduction to Reconstructed Lectures, 1933 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 Address at his old school, Milton Academy, all partially preserved in some form by members of the audience. He also prepared at least six lectures that he gave at colleges and universities during the winter and spring of 1932-33: “Edward Lear and Modern Poetry,” “The Development of Taste in Poetry,” “The Study of Shakespeare Criticism,” “English Poets as Letter Writers,” “The Tendency of Some Modern Poetry,” and “The Verse of John Milton.” Before he returned to England in June 1933, he destroyed all of them. At that time he gave his lecture notes for English 26, his Harvard course on “English Literature from 1890 to the Present Day,” to Professor Theodore Spencer, likewise “having no further use for them” (4.758). Another lecture , “Modern Education and the Classics,” delivered before the Classical Club at Harvard, he kept and revised for its first printing in Essays Ancient and Modern (1936), and eventually for inclusion in the third edition of Selected Essays (1951). On 26 December 1932, Eliot wrote to Alida Monro that he had written five lectures in the past three weeks. That same day he departed by train fromBostontoClaremont,California,tovisitEmilyHaleatScrippsCollege. On 5 January, he lectured there on “Edward Lear and Modern Poetry,” repeating the lecture at the University of Southern California on 9 January. He lectured on “The Formation of Taste” at the University of California, Los Angeles, on 6 January, and again at Berkeley on 11 January before beginning his return journey to Boston by way of St. Louis, St. Paul, and Buffalo, stopping over to give additional lectures. Throughout the spring semester, he lectured or read his poetry at New England colleges and universities: Yale, Princeton, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Haverford, Smith, Vassar, Wellesley, Bowdoin, Brown, Columbia, and the New School of Social Research. In all of these venues, Eliot’s presence attracted press reports by college and city papers − some with brief summaries, some with extensive Lectures in America, 1932-33 826 ] narratives and quotations. The editors have collected and collated these reports in an attempt to reconstruct from excerpts the likely organization and development of the lectures, based on repetitions and similarities of reported themes, references to authors and works, quotations, summaries, and conclusions. The excerpted narratives of the reports are incorporated with minimal emendation. There are two other sources for reconstruction: Harvard Professor F. O. Matthiessen and Eliot’s brother Henry Ware Eliot (HWE), both of whom had access to the typescripts of Eliot’s lectures and transcribed several passages verbatim. Matthiessen recorded the passages in the book that he was writing while Eliot was at Harvard, The Achievement of T. S. Eliot (1935). Henry, who had attended several lectures, arranged a weeklong family farewell gathering for Eliot at Mountain View House in Randolph, New Hampshire, from 10 to 16 June, with a personal aim of reading and taking notes on all of his brother’s lectures. “I will bring my lectures,” Eliot assured him on 21 May, “but you must not take them too seriously, as I want a holiday.” The transcriptions made by Matthiessen and HWE have been incorporated into the reportorial accounts. Memories and brief reports of the lectures led to numerous inquiries in later years. Former Harvard student Herbert B. Myron Jr., who heard Eliot talk on Edward Lear to the Harvard “Modern Language Conference,” of which Myron was president, wrote on 16 March 1953 to express his frustration at not finding the lecture among Eliot’s essays. “I am flattered that you should retain any interest in the lecture I gave on Edward Lear,” Eliot replied on 2 April, “and am therefore sorry to say that I destroyed the script of this and of a number of occasional lectures which I delivered in the United States in 1932-33. Perhaps some day I shall return to the subject, and I hope, improve on my original effort.” On 29 January 1958, TSE sent a similar reply to Nadia Aboulmagi in Dublin, who requested for her thesis a copy of a lecture from which Matthiessen had quoted on Browning, and again on 12 May 1958 in...