Preface to Essays Ancient and Modern, by T. S. Eliot
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[ 321 Preface to Essays Ancient and Modern, by T. S. Eliot London: Faber & Faber, 1936. Pp. 190; Preface, 5-7. A volume of essays entitled For Lancelot Andrewes has gone out of print, after some eight years, and a new edition was proposed. I have taken the opportunity of changing the title, which had served its turn, of omitting the preface, which had more than served its turn,1 and of omitting two papers with which I was dissatisfied, on Machiavelli and on Crashaw.2 And as the essay on Thomas Middleton is now included in another collection called Elizabethan Essays,3 there was no point in including that either. On theotherhandIhaveaddedfiveessaysnotpreviouslycollected:“Religion and Literature,” “Catholicism and International Order,” “The Pensées of Pascal,” “Modern Education and the Classics,” and “In Memoriam.”4 I renew my acknowledgment of obligation to the Editors of The Times Literary Supplement, Theology, The Dial (New York), and The Forum (New York) on account of essays which appeared in the earlier volume. “Religion and Literature” was originally given as one of a series of addresses arranged in 1934 by the Rev. V. A. Demant and published together as a volume called FaiththatIlluminates(TheCentenaryPress).“CatholicismandInternational Order” was an address delivered to the Anglo-Catholic Summer School of Sociology at Oxford in 1933, and was printed in Christendom. “The Pensées of Pascal” appears as the Introduction to the English translation of that work published in the Everyman Library. “Modern Education and the Classics” is the revision of an address delivered to the Classical Club of Harvard University in 1933, and hitherto unprinted. “In Memoriam” is the expanded version of an Introduction written for the Nelson Classics edition of Poems of Tennyson. To the several editors and publishers I wish to make grateful acknowledgment. I am aware that most of these papers date themselves, even when I have forgotten the dates. It may well be that in a few years’ time I may wish to remove some from currency, as I have in the past; but I may remark that nothing that has happened in more recent times has caused me to wish to modify in a more favourable sense my comments on the League of Nations in “Catholicism and International Order.” The note on Baudelaire antedates the longer paper printed in my Selected Essays, and “our time” is Essays, Reviews, Commentaries, and Public Letters: 1936 322 ] perhaps over: nevertheless the note seemed to me worth preserving for the present.5 I observe that the advertisement of For Lancelot Andrewes advanced the claim that the essays had “a unity of their own.”6 I do not know whether my ideals of unity are higher, or merely my pretensions more modest, than eight years ago; I offer this book, as the title implies, only as a miscellaneous collection, having no greater unity than that of having been written by the same person. Notes 1. For the Preface to For Lancelot Andrewes (1928), see 3.513. 2. “Niccolò Machiavelli” (3.111) and “A Note on Richard Crashaw” (3.379). 3. “Thomas Middleton” (1927) (3.122); Elizabethan Essays (London: Faber & Faber, 1934). Only the essay “John Marston” (5.114) was printed there for the first time; the others were reprinted from Selected Essays (1932). 4. “Religion and Literature” (1935) (5.218), “Catholicism and International Order” (1933) (4.534), “The Pensées of Pascal” (1931) (4.338), “Modern Education and the Classics” (1936) (5.337),“InMemoriam”(1936)(5.323).ForthetableofcontentsofEAM,seethelistofillustrations. 5. “Baudelaire in our Time,” included in For Lancelot Andrewes, was originally published as “Poet and Saint . . .” (1927), a review of Arthur Symons’s Baudelaire: Prose and Poetry (3.71). It was followed by “Baudelaire” (1930) (4.155). 6. The front of the dust jacket for the Faber edition of For Lancelot Andrewes states that the volume “consists of seven essays which are selected from Mr. Eliot’s work of the past two or three years, and which he believes show some consistency. The subjects cover a wide range of literature, theology and philosophy; but taken together they have a unity of their own.” ...


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