Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-x

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The War Years, 1940-1946: Introduction

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pp. xi-xxxviii

In the early morning of 23 June 1944, a German V-1 flying bomb fell in the middle of Russell Square, injuring no one but blowing out the windows and doors in the offices of Faber & Faber and hurling the ceiling down to the floor. Air Raid Warden Thomas Stearns Eliot, who spent one night a week spotting fires from the roof of the building, was not on duty that night; if he had been, this would be, very likely, a considerably shorter book. Eliot, fortunately, would survive the ordeal of World War II. And this volume, as it stands, offers a richly varied collection representing his...

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Editorial Procedures and Principles

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pp. xxxix-xlviii

I. Published Prose
Criteria for Inclusion
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 of reviews and essays contributed to periodicals; commentaries in the...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xlix-lii

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 to editorial materials, and to trustees Judith Hooper and Clare Reihill of the Eliot Estate....

List of Abbreviations

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pp. liii-lvi

List of Illustrations

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pp. lvii-lviii

Part 1: Essays, Reviews, Addresses, and Public Letters

1940

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Hole and Corner Buffery. To the Editor of The Church Times

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pp. 3-4

Sir, – I have read with a pained surprise your foot-note to Dr. Iddings Bell’s letter in your issue of January 12. His remarks, as quoted by you in an earlier issue, do not seem to have made a deep impression upon me, as I have quite forgotten what you quoted him as having said. I dare say that I would disagree with him as strongly as you do. But Dr. Bell affirms that his arguments were “grotesquely misrepresented”; and I should have thought that, if it was an “unpleasant duty” to quote him, it was equally a duty, though...

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Mr. H. G. Wells and Christianity. To the Editor of The Guardian

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pp. 5-6

Sir, – I am afraid that the correspondence in your columns from Mr. H. G. Wells and his critics, if it continues, is in danger of pursuing a direction which the occasion does not warrant, and ending in nothing but acrimony.1 I cannot find anything in Mr. Roberts’s letter to justify Mr. Wells’s accusation of mock humility; and I am not hasty to join Mr. Murry in the charge of lack of charity.2 But I think that Mr. Roberts is chiefly responsible for the discussion taking the wrong course, by having written, not about...

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Christian Society. To the Editor of The New English Weekly

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pp. 7-9

Sir, – When, as Mr. Reckitt reminds me, I “welcomed the possibility of a discussion which must occupy many minds for a long time,” I did not mean that I hoped that people would continue to discuss my book for a long time; and I write now, not for the purpose of provoking a fresh burst of correspondence, but to make a few observations in retrospect.1

I am grateful to Mr. Reckitt for drawing attention to more than one obscurity in my phrasing. It is always possible that a statement which is misunderstood...

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Views and Reviews: Journalists of Yesterday and Today

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pp. 10-13

No one can have failed to observe that since the beginning of this war two men, whom we had thought of as slowly and unwillingly retiring from public life, have emerged into a glare of prominence. I mean Mr. Churchill and Mr. Wells. They must be nearly contemporary; they were both men of celebrity, I remember, when I was a freshman.1 Both have spoken and written a great deal in the last thirty-odd years; neither possesses what one could call a style, though each has a distinct idiom: that of Mr. Wells being...

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Views and Reviews: On Going West

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pp. 14-17

The second number of “Horizon,” a monthly literary magazine of which the first number appeared in January, gives assurance that this is a periodical which ought to be supported.1 And when I say support, I mean that the best way in which people of modest means can support literature, is to subscribe to reviews of this kind – to subscribe to anything, in these days, which preserves any independence, whether you like its opinions or not. People always seem to expect other people to do the subscribing; but it is the subscriptions, not the casual sales, that make independent journalism...

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Mr. H. G. Wells and Religion. To the Editor of The Guardian

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p. 18

Sir, – I do not know how to please Mr. H. G. Wells. I wrote a letter to defend him against Mr. Michael Roberts, and all he does is to growl at me for using the word “scientist” – a word which, it seems, must go into the waste-paper basket with “God.”1 I must explain that I did not use the word “scientist” as a term of opprobrium, and that I was not applying it to Mr. Wells.

I did not intend to argue with Mr. Wells; I must pay him the compliment of saying that he is an interesting subject to talk about. He has a great deal to...

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Education in a Christian Society. To the Editor of The Christian News-Letter

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pp. 19-26

My Dear Oldham,
My only justification for attempting to write about education in a Christian society is that no one else has so far done so.1 The problems of education in a secular society – but perhaps the right word is neither secular nor pagan, but infidel2 – have been dealt with again and again by those who can speak from vocation, knowledge and experience; and some of the writers who speak with authority on these problems are men of strong...

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Modernism. To the Editor of The Guardian

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pp. 27-28

Sir, – By an accident I failed to see your issue of March 29 until a day or two ago. I was of course flattered to see a sentence of mine quoted in a letter from Mr. T.  J. Wood, but considerably surprised to observe the use to which it was put.1 My sentence proposed that we should treat Christianity with more intellectual respect. The rest of Mr. Wood’s letter ascribes to my sentence, by implication, a very different meaning from that which I myself gave it. So far as I could discover, Mr. Wood was concerned, not with intellectual...

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[The Last Twenty-Five Years of English Poetry]

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pp. 29-45

The simplest way in which to understand the development of English poetry during the last twenty-five years, and the relative significance of those writers who have contributed to it, is to consider first what happens to any living language. A language that is not merely still spoken, but alive, is a language that is changing. It changes first in current speech, which reflects, often in very indirect ways, the social, material and spiritual changes happening to the people who speak it. The spoken language changes more rapidly...

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[Types of English Religious Verse]

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pp. 46-62

In considering a subject like this, in the space of one lecture, I have found it necessary to impose two arbitrary limitations. The first concerns the history that can be covered. I shall only attempt to deal at all with the last three hundred and fifty years. In earlier periods we find a number of religious lyrics and popular carols, some of very considerable beauty. And our first great poet, Chaucer, has a definitely religious and Catholic background, as the last stanza of his long poem “Troilus and Criseyde”...

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The Speed of Progress

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p. 63

In a message from Rhyl which appeared in The Times yesterday, it was stated that as a result of the Army Council’s decision to proceed with the scheme for taking over 40,000 acres of agricultural land in Breconshire for use as an artillery range, 280 farmers would have to vacate their farms in October. In fact, the War Office has intimated that it must take possession of the range on June 1, but it has decided that there would be no objection to farmers remaining in occupation and leaving their stock...

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The English Tradition: Some Thoughts as a Preface to Study

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pp. 64-72

The method of approach of The English Situation (the Syllabus of the Church Union Summer School of Sociology for 1940) is historical.1 In the first section there is a sub-section entitled “Social Basis of Religious Groupings.” It is my purpose in the present paper to develop certain thoughts suggested by this sub-section.2 What I venture to put forward is concerned rather with the present, and the possible future; but I offer it as to some extent a preface to the historical study. For I believe that a complete...

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Autobiographical Note. Harvard College Class of 1910, Thirtieth Anniversary Report

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p. 73

THOMAS STEARNS ELIOT
Occupation: Director of Faber & Faber Ltd., 24, Russell Square, London, W.C.1.

Married: Vivienne Haigh Haigh-Wood, London, England, June 26, 1915.

Published the following books: Collected Poems, 1936; Essays Ancient &...

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Man and Society. A review of Man and Society in an Age of Reconstruction, by Karl Mannheim

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pp. 74-77

Dr. Karl Mannheim is a sociologist, indeed, one of the most distinguished of living sociologists; and this massive work has the inexorable formality and complete apparatus (with seventy-three pages of bibliography) that one expects of continental scholarship. It is also difficult reading; though the difficulty of Dr. Mannheim’s style is not due to any imperfection of English, and not, as with much American writing in this field, to the employment of a technical jargon. The vocabulary is that of any educated...

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Yeats

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pp. 78-90

The generations of poetry in our age seem to cover a span of about twenty years.2† I do not mean that the best work of any poet is limited to twenty years: I mean that it is about that length of time before a new school or style of poetry appears. By the time, that is to say, that a man is fifty, he has behind him a kind of poetry written by men of seventy, and before him another kind written by men of thirty. That is my position at present, and if I live another twenty years I shall expect to see still another younger...

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Poetic Drama To-Day and To-Morrow

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pp. 91-95

Yesterday, in talking about William Butler Yeats to an audience at the Abbey Theatre, I spoke of his contribution to the art of poetic drama.1 I made one point which I must repeat; that of our debt to Yeats, to his colleagues of the Abbey, and to the men and women who have acted there, for keeping the poetic drama alive at a time when, but for them, it would have seemed to be utterly and forever rejected from the stage. It is a debt of which all those who struggle, in England and in America, to keep this...

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Notes on Social Philosophy

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pp. 96-99

I propose to limit the scope of my two pages to a few remarks on one important respect in which it seems to me that social philosophy must differ in the future – or one consideration that will have to be taken account of in the future as an essential part of the art of government, a consideration that has not been recognised in the past. That is the obligation of government to interest itself in the moral education of the people. In the past, the inculcation of moral values has been the function of the Church,...

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Hopousia. A review of Hopousia: or, The Sexual and Economic Foundations of a New Society, by J. D. Unwin

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pp. 100-104

It must be affirmed, first, that the death of J. D. Unwin in 1936 – indirectly as the result of wounds received in the last war – was the most serious loss to English anthropology that could have happened; second, that his chief work, Sex and Culture, has an importance for sociologists and for theologians which has yet to be fully recognised.1 After that, we can explain that Hopousia (as the sub-title should indicate) is a work of most ambitious scope – this is a volume of 475 pages – which Unwin left unfinished.2 In...

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An issue of The Christian News-Letter (14 Aug)

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pp. 105-113

Dear Member,
You were warned by Dr. Oldham that The Christian News-Letter would for the next three weeks appear over my name as locum tenens while he takes a brief midsummer holiday.1 The news can hardly be more unwelcome to you than the invitation was to myself. But for the sake of the work which lies ahead of him, it was obviously important that the Editor should have a vacation now; the alternative of suspending publication for three weeks seemed undesirable from several points of view; and I appeared to be the...

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An issue of The Christian News-Letter (21 Aug)

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pp. 114-120

Dear Member,
One of the perennial problems of Christian thought is that of the different, and often conflicting claims of liberty and order; sometimes between liberty and social justice. The difficulties of the problem are never more acute and perplexing than at a time like the present. When a nation is engaged in a vital struggle which revives the sense of community, social injustice is more patent and more intolerable, and demands control of the...

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An issue of The Christian News-Letter (28 Aug)

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pp. 121-128

Dear Member,
There may be many people in this country who have formed the impression that Catholic France has shown itself to be reactionary, defeatist, and anti-British; who believe, in short, that Catholic France is adequately represented by Marshal Pétain.2 Such opinions should be controverted from the start. I cannot expect that any defence of Catholic and Christian France will be admitted by those who maintain that the English Church, and for...

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Preface to The Testament of Immortality, ed. N.G. [Nagendranath Gangulee]

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pp. 129-130

To those who, like myself, take pleasure in anthologies, it is a satisfaction to observe that there can be no such thing as a final anthology on any subject. Every anthology represents a particular period of taste and a particular temperament. Furthermore, we are happy to remember that there are several possible kinds of anthology, and every anthology is to be judged and enjoyed in its own kind. There is first, of course, the collection which aims at including all the best specimens of prose or verse of their species; but...

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The Writer as Artist: Discussion between T. S. Eliot and Desmond Hawkins

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pp. 131-136

Eliot: There is more than one way in which that phrase, “the writer as artist,” can be interpreted, so I want to be clear from the beginning what I am talking about and what I am not. I don’t think that you can divide writers sharply into two kinds, those who are artists and those who are not: I don’t know of any way in which they could be so divided. No more would I divide readers into those who read for mere pastime and those who read for information and those who read in order to enjoy literary art: we all read...

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The English Tradition: Address to the School of Sociology

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pp. 137-148

The first point that strikes me about my title is that there are not two English Situations, one Civil and one Religious, but that this is one situation, and that you cannot go very far into the Civil aspect without having to consider the Religious, and vice versa.2 The civil history of England, and its religious history, are the same with only a difference of emphasis and detail. In this civil-religious history I find three headings, which seem to subsume all that I have to say here: I may call them Local Organization, Church and State, and Church and Dissent. Under these three headings...

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Commentary for The New English Weekly

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pp. 149-153

There was a period – from 1926 or so, and roughly lasting for about ten years – when all the interesting new writers who appeared were associated with the Marxist faith. (This generalisation is not quite valid in retrospect, but so it seemed, and so it was generally believed, at the time). This direction of change of thinking and feeling was, as Mr. Spender correctly put it, “forward from Liberalism”; and if it should have been disturbing to any people, those people should have been the elder generation of Fabian...

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Views and Reviews: Waiting at the Church. A review of The Betrayal of Christ by the Churches, by J. Middleton Murry

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pp. 154-157

If Mr. Middleton Murry is right in his condemnation of the present moral and intellectual condition of “the Churches” – and I am not here taking the rôle of their defender – then it is to be expected that he will find many clergy to agree with him; and of those who contest his charges, it is likely that many will do so on the wrong ground. Mr. Murry’s fervid style lends itself well to a denunciation of anything so ambiguous as “the Church” or “the Churches”; and the sense of indignation which he communicates may...

1941

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A Message to the Fish

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pp. 158-161

On January 14, having read the obituary notice of James Joyce which had appeared in The Times of that morning, I addressed to the Editor of that paper the following letter:2

Sir, – I hope that you will permit me to submit one or two cautious qualifications to your interesting obituary notice of my friend Mr. James Joyce. That Joyce failed to appreciate “the eternal and serene beauty of nature” can, I think, be disputed by reference to several passages in A Portrait...

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Towards a Christian Britain

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pp. 162-168

At the point at which I enter this discussion,2† I am able to take for granted that a Christian Britain is desirable. But to agree that something is desirable is not the same thing as desiring it; and if we are seriously to entertain the idea of a Christian Britain, we might as well consider in advance what an extraordinary aim this is, and how different from any of the kinds of reform or revolution that men commonly undertake. In the first place, it is unlikely that any of us, if we were presently translated to this Christian...

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Virginia Woolf

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pp. 169-172

It has only been under peculiar conditions that I have ever been able to interest myself in criticizing – except in the currents of conversation – contemporary writers. In the case of authors whose work one considers pernicious, or whose work has been treated with an uncritical adulation which is pernicious, one figures to oneself occasionally an obligation to denounce or ridicule. In the case of authors whose merits have been ignored or misunderstood there is sometimes a particular obligation of...

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Sir Hugh Walpole

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pp. 173-174

One trait of Sir Hugh Walpole, of which, I hope, posterity will not be left in ignorance, was a capacity to appreciate and admire generously the work of authors very different from himself. He held in the highest esteem, for instance, the novels of Mr. James Joyce and Mrs. Woolf.2 That he was quick to appreciate the work of younger men, and ready to help and testify to his...

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Views and Reviews: Basic Revelation. A review of The New Testament in Basic English, trans. S. H. Hooke et al.

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pp. 175-178

The preparation of the New Testament in Basic English has been a task occupying the same length of time as the Trojan War. We are told that “a committee directed by Professor S. H. Hooke, Professor of Old Testament Studies in the University of London, has prepared in the last ten years a new translation from the original sources, incorporating the results of the most recent work on the problems of biblical translation. The text so prepared was subsequently revised by a committee of Cambridge scholars...

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An issue of The Christian News-Letter

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pp. 179-185

Dear Member,
The writer of the previous number of this News-Letter introduced herself in terms of apology which will serve at least equally well for the present writer: I shall therefore not attempt to amplify or vary what she said in her first paragraph, but accept it as an introduction for myself also.2...

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Memoir on Irving Babbitt

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pp. 186-189

On the occasion of Irving Babbitt’s death, I wrote an editorial note from which I quote the following passage as appropriate to this occasion:

Those who know Babbitt only through his writings, and have had no contact with him as a teacher and friend, will probably not be able to appreciate the greatness of his work. For he was primarily and always a teacher and a talker. He combined rare charm with great force: so that those who knew him will always remember his foibles with affection,...

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Greek Literature in Education. To the Editor of The New English Weekly

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pp. 190-191

Sir, – The author of the contribution on “Educational Idealism” in your issue of November 6, in attempting to notice two unrelated publications in the space of three paragraphs, has I think given a false impression of the aims of the President of Corpus Christi (Sir Richard Livingstone) as expressed in his Address to the Classical Association.1 The question there raised was not whether more children could be taught the Greek language: Sir Richard Livingstone was chiefly concerned with the possibility of...

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The Great Layman. A review of The Secret of Pascal, by H. F. Stewart

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pp. 192-195

Every student of Pascal in this country must be acquainted with Dr. Stewart’s earlier book, The Holiness of Pascal.1 The title of this second small book does not reveal its meaning so clearly; but it is as well that we should be provoked to read the book in order to find out what the secret is. It is, for the purpose of this book, Pascal’s style. French critics have analysed and criticised this famous style, but an explanation of it for English readers can best be given by an English critic, and no one is better qualified, first, by his knowledge of...

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Outline for “Notes towards a Definition of Culture

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pp. 196-200

Why informal treatment desirable.

Prospects for culture not good, either in the old order or in any new one. We must try to keep our enquiry clear of political convictions, all of which are irrelevant. Our politics and economics are on the plane of planning, whereas culture is on the plane of growth. While we must assume that something can be done about culture, and there is a place for planning, the difference between politics and culture is something like that between...

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Russian Ballet. To the Editor of The Times

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p. 201

Sir, – I should like to support the Poet Laureate’s plea for the recognition of the importance of Russian ballet, and his suggestion that we should be given the opportunity to see both new ballets and new dancers from Russia.1 The first step towards such a desirable end, surely, should be to obtain official recognition of the importance of the ballet in this country, in the form of exemption, at least for the British dancers of the Sadler’s Wells...

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Greek Literature and Education. To the Editor of The New English Weekly

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p. 202

Sir, – I agree with your contributor T.I. that the two books which he noticed, by Sir Richard Livingstone and Professor John Dewey, were both concerned with the subject of Education; I agree that “Dewey’s approach goes much further back than Dewey” (on the well-established principle of reculer pour mieux sauter);1 and I agree about the possibility that “a society inspired by saner purposes would evolve a system of education which would...

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The Duchess of Malfy

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pp. 203-209

We expect a period of artistic or literary greatness, in any age or country, to be roughly divisible into three stages: that of its rise, that of its perfection, and that of its decline. It is convenient also when we can find three men, each of whom will represent one of these stages. This is possible in what we call Elizabethan drama – so-called because we must remember that some of the greatest plays of this drama, and all of those of its third period, were written and produced in the reign of King James I. For the first two periods...

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Rudyard Kipling. Introduction to A Choice of Kipling’s Verse, ed. T. S. Eliot

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pp. 210-238

There are several reasons for our not knowing Kipling’s poems so well as we think we do. When a man is primarily known as a writer of prose fiction we are inclined – and usually, I think, justly – to regard his verse as a byproduct. I am, I confess, always doubtful whether any man can so divide himself as to be able to make the most of two such very different forms of expression as poetry and imaginative prose.2† If I make an exception in the case of Kipling, it is not because I think he succeeded in making the...

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Revival of Christian Imagination

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pp. 239-244

My dear Oldham,

I am sorry that I have found it impossible to prepare a paper on the subject of Christian Imagination worthy of the standards set by previous contributions to the Moot. I assumed that what was wanted was something which would provide relaxation between the sessions of hard work on Mannheim’s ideas; but even to do that satisfactorily would require more time and thought than I have been able to give. I can only set down a few thoughts as they...

1942

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Autobiographical Note. Who’s Who in America

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p. 245

Eliot, Thomas Stearns, A.M.; Hon. Litt.D. (Cambridge, Columbia, Bristol, Leeds); LL.D. (Edinburgh); Hon. Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge; Director, Faber and Faber, Ltd.; b. 1888; y. s. of Henry Ware Eliot and Charlotte Chauncey Eliot of St. Louis, U.S.A;2 m. Vivienne...

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The Christian Conception of Education

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pp. 246-256

There are several problems which are distinct but intimately related: which, therefore, should neither be confused nor considered without reference to each other. There is first the problem of what should be done about Religious Education in the educational system as we have it at present. There is the problem of its place in a system reformed according to the sort of pattern that is likely or possible in the immediate future. There is also the question of whether we need a specifically Christian doctrine of education in...

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Preface to The Little Book of Modern Verse, ed. Anne Ridler

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pp. 257-260

The number and variety of anthologies of modern verse is considerable enough to justify a prefatory note to explain what kind of anthology this is. Its most obvious and (I believe) its singular characteristic is its small size. In a more comprehensive collection on a similar plan, such as The Faber Book of Modern Verse, the beginner may find himself bewildered among the multitude of poets: with reference to such books the present volume may be regarded as a kind of primer, an introduction to anthologies.2 But it...

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“The Voice of His Time”: T. S. Eliot on Tennyson’s In Memoriam

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pp. 261-267

In order to enjoy and understand the poetry of Tennyson now – fifty years after his death, and ninety-two years since he became Poet Laureate – we have first to try to see the circumstances which contributed to his peculiar success, and the circumstances which provoked a very natural and healthy reaction against his type of poetry later. He was, as many other famous men have been, fortunate in having been born at the right time. He was born in 1809. That meant that by the time he was ready to publish, the fever and...

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Comment on a lecture by Van Wyck Brooks

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pp. 268-271

I have been shown the text of a lecture by Mr. Van Wyck Brooks on “Primary Literature and Coterie Literature” and invited to comment upon it.1 As for Mr. Brooks’ judgements on particular authors I am impressed by the catholicity of his distaste: but I have no comment to make except that his description of Dr. I. A. Richards as “a neurological psychologist who lives in England” does not suggest a very intimate knowledge of that author’s work.2 It is not in Mr. Brooks’s literary appreciations but in the social implications...

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Poetry, Speech and Music

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pp. 272-286

The title I have chosen, for what I am going to talk about, may, I fear, sound depressingly abstract and technical. So I want to excuse it at once, by saying that it represents an indirect approach to what I suppose you would like me to talk about. The subject on which I am supposed to be something of an authority, and the one, therefore, on which people are most willing to listen to me, is modern English poetry: and what they usually want is an explanation, which should be as precise as the answer to a riddle. They...

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An issue of The Christian News-Letter

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pp. 287-294

Dear Member,
An absence of five weeks, in a foreign country which one is visiting for the first time, is not for me the best preparation for replacing the Editor of the News-Letter even for one number.2 To receive no correspondence, to be unable to read the newspapers, and to see English papers only several days after publication, arouses a feeling of ignorance about events at home which persists for some time after return. The recent statement issued by...

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The Classics and the Man of Letters

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pp. 295-309

Not very long ago, an eminent author, in the course of expressing his views about the future of education after this war, went a little out of his way to declare that in the new order there would still be a place for Greek. He qualified this concession, however, by explaining that the study of Greek was a field of scholarship of equal dignity with Egyptology, and several other specialized studies which he named, and that the opportunity to pursue these studies should, in any liberal society, be provided for the few...

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The Music of Poetry

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pp. 310-325

The poet, when he talks or writes about poetry, has peculiar qualifications and peculiar limitations: if we allow for the latter we can better appreciate the former – a caution which I recommend to poets themselves as well as to the readers of what they say about poetry. I can never re-read any of my own prose writings without acute embarrassment: I shirk the task, and consequently may not take account of all the assertions to which I have at one time or another committed myself; I may often repeat what I have said...

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T. S. Eliot on Poetry in Wartime

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pp. 326-328

Not very long after the present war began, people were writing to the newspapers asking: “Where are the war poets?” Various answers were offered, some blaming the younger poets for not turning at once to this subject, others excusing them on one ground or another; but most of the people who interested themselves in the matter seemed to agree that if a nation possesses any literary genius at all, a war ought to produce war poetry. I think that the question was finally dropped, partly because...

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Introductory Note to Introducing James Joyce: A Selection of Joyce’s Prose, ed. T. S. Eliot

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pp. 329-331

The reader of the following extracts from the prose works of James Joyce may reasonably ask on what principle the selection has been made. The editor makes no pretence of having chosen what could be called “the best” of Joyce, and indeed maintains that no such principle could be applied, either in a book of this size or a much larger one, to the work of such an author. The later books, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, are too closely constructed, and depend too much upon cumulative effect, for any extracts to...

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Notes for a discussion on The Anvil

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pp. 332-334

I think that the proper sense of RETRIBUTION is either (a) pagan: whether conceived as a kind of physical law of compensation, or as spiritualised in anangke, atē, dirae, norns, fate, weird sisters etc.1 or (b) as the act of God. It can be carried out by human agency, of course, but not by human intention. Retribution is implicitly just, and human action, in so far as it is related to human intention, cannot ever be wholly just and therefore cannot be conscious retribution....

1943

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Punctuating Joyce. To the Editor of The Church Times

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p. 335

Sir, – My attention has been called to the notice of my book of selections from the prose of James Joyce, in your issue of December 11. In this notice, your reviewer says: “Mr. Eliot has taken pity on the newcomer by separating sentences and punctuating them.”1

If this sentence refers to my introduction, it suggests that it has been my habit in writing prose to run my sentences together without punctuation....

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Is a Christian Society Possible?

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pp. 336-342

The Editor of The Christian Century has proposed to me that I should attempt to answer this question. While it is not a question to which a simple affirmative or negative reply is possible, it is one which can, I think, give rise to interesting by-products, and is therefore worth considering. And in view of the fact that I have devoted a small book to prefatory examination of the nature of Christian Society, there is perhaps some necessity for a postscript or interim statement....

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Notes towards a Definition of Culture

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pp. 343-356

I wish first to try to make clear the sense or senses in which I propose to use the word culture throughout the following articles. It will be remembered that Matthew Arnold laid down that culture is the acquainting ourselves with the best that has been known and said in the world.2 Without necessarily accepting or rejecting this definition within its own limits, I am not here concerned with the culture which the individual may envisage as an ideal or set himself to acquire, but with the culture that a whole society may...

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“A Dream within a Dream”: T. S. Eliot on Edgar Allan Poe

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pp. 357-362

Although the writings of Edgar Allan Poe are not very extensive, his work is more difficult to sum up in a quarter of an hour than that of some men who wrote a great deal more. He did not live to be old: his life covers the first half of the nineteenth century; his life was very irregular and mostly spent in poverty; and as a literary journalist he wrote a good deal of ephemeral stuff. Even of his small output of verse, about a dozen poems are what support his reputation. Then there are his tales, as he called them, “of the...

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Education for Culture. To the Editor of The New English Weekly

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pp. 363-364

Sir, – I am afraid that the result of my attempting to put very briefly a suggestion which requires a good deal of elucidation is that I and Mr. K. G. Collier are talking about different things.1 I need more words than are permissible in a letter, not for defending a point of view (which is a matter of secondary importance) but for making clear what the point of view is and what I mean by “culture.” Mr. Collier appears to hold that an “élite” can be constructed by a system for discovering, and subsequently training in...

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Poetical and Prosaic Use of Words

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pp. 365-380

What I have to say tonight does not belong quite to one or the other of the two usual types of lecture. There is the lecture which aims to impart information, and there is the lecture which attempts to persuade the audience to accept a theory or opinion. The former you hear from the permanent lecturers of the university; the latter, perhaps, is what you expect from a casual visitor. You may find that I have some knowledge, or experience in the use of words for certain purposes: I only regard this as a contribution to the...

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Christian Belief. To the Editor of The Times Educational Supplement

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pp. 381-382

Sir, – I observe that in a letter which appears in your issue of February 20, entitled “To End the Dual System” (the system of which the Archbishop of Canterbury said on June 3, 1942, “if we wish to avoid totalitarianism we must realize that there is a merit in the very duality of the dual system”),1 several eminent persons commit themselves to this assertion: “We hold that the Christian belief common to the Christian Churches heavily outweighs...

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South Indian Church. To the Editor of The Times (19 Mar)

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pp. 383-384

Sir, – I had not interpreted Lord Quickswood’s letter quite as does the Bishop of Barking; and I hope that in this discussion the question of the “sincerity” of any of the parties to the South India scheme – a question which is liable to give rise to sudden and irrelevant heat – will not become an issue.2 The question of the reality of sea-serpents can be discussed without reference to the sincerity with which some believe, and others disbelieve in their existence....

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South Indian Church. To the Editor of The Times (25 Mar)

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p. 385

Sir, – Bishop Western offers, in correction of my interpretation of “the episcopal principle” in the South Indian scheme, the statement that “the affirmation involved is that no one particular interpretation of episcopacy...is essential to the Church.”2 This interpretation of the affirmation seems to me to say just what I said myself, unless there is a subtler distinction here between matters which are inessential, and matters which are indifferent, than I have been able to grasp. The important difference lies in the...

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Draft of a leaflet advertising the Virgil Society

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pp. 386-387

It is not unusual for announcements of the foundation of a new society to begin with the words “why another society?” and then proceed to answer their own question. But this announcement is addressed to those, whoever they may be, and whatever their other vocations and beliefs, who love the poetry of Virgil; and we do not believe that lovers of Virgil need any persuasion to join a society designed to foster the devotion to that poet. The common bond already exists, though the persons united by it are largely...

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John Dryden’s Tragedies

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pp. 388-391

Most of us, whether English or not, have made our first acquaintance with English poetic tragedy through Shakespeare. Then we have read some of the best plays by other poets of Shakespeare’s time, Marlowe, Jonson, Chapman, Webster and others. Even the best plays by these poets are seldom seen on the stage; and Shakespeare is the only dramatist some of whose plays have been produced almost continuously since they were written. But even the less-known plays of his contemporaries give pleasure in...

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Planning and Religion. A review of The Judgment of Nations, by Christopher Dawson; and Diagnosis of Our Time, by Karl Mannheim

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pp. 392-399

To review together Mr. Christopher Dawson’s The Judgement of the Nations and Dr. Karl Mannheim’s Diagnosis of Our Time would be unjustifiable were it possible to do justice to either in less than an essay of the old quarterly size. For to discuss either at all adequately would be to discuss also, not necessarily the whole of each author’s past work but the development of certain dominant ideas throughout that work. Otherwise, one is obliged to assume an acquaintance with Dr. Mannheim’s previous book, Man and...

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Address on the opening of a planned book exhibition in Reykjavik, Iceland

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pp. 400-412

I feel that this occasion calls for something more than the words of greeting and explanation with which an Exhibition is usually opened. You will not expect me to be an expert on all the types of book here represented: so I propose to give most of the time to talking about what I know most about, which is poetry, and modern English poetry in particular. But before I begin on that, there are a few things I might say about these books in general. I am not an encyclopaedia, and cannot explain all the books you will...

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To the Editor of Aventura

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pp. 413-417

Dear Sir, – Since I received the first number of Aventura I have felt the desire to write to you a word of greeting and congratulation.2 To initiate such a periodical in these times requires a spirit of enterprise which is appropriately expressed by the title of your review. I hope I may be pardoned if the occasion revives memories of my own experience as editor of a literary periodical, and of the designs which I entertained. They represent a period of seventeen years, from 1922 to 1939; and the experience, not of...

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Presidential message to Books Across the Sea

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pp. 418-419

I am glad to have this opportunity of expressing my appreciation of the honour of having become President of the English Circle of “Books Across the Sea” – of being one in what I trust will be a long succession. Being already extremely busy, and recognizing in myself no capacity to be president of anything, I accepted with some reluctance. I was informed that the Circle had the benefit of a highly efficient Chairman and Staff, and that I should have nothing to do: I am already assured of the truth of the first of...

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Civilisation: The Nature of Cultural Relations

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pp. 420-426

It would, I think, be a waste of time to attempt to revive any of the immediate impressions of a visit to Sweden made a year ago. Other visitors have come and gone since then; and, from what I have seen, superficial impressions received under similar conditions are much the same. Other impressions, when one’s first visit to any country has been under the present abnormal conditions, are reserved in the hope of a future comparison in more peaceful times. But among many pleasant memories of hospitality...

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The Approach to James Joyce

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pp. 427-431

James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882. He was educated in Jesuit schools in Ireland, and pursued his studies later in Paris and elsewhere in Europe. Except for a few visits, in later years, to England, he spent the whole of his adult life on the Continent. For some years he earned his living as a teacher of English at a language school in Trieste, which was then a part of Austria. He was highly gifted for acquiring foreign languages: he learned French as a student in Paris; in Trieste he acquired a fluent knowledge of German and...

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To the Editor of The Church Times

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pp. 432-433

Sir, – In your review of Mr. F. C. Happold’s Towards a New Aristocracy, in your issue of October 8, it is stated that “the conviction of Mr. T. S. Eliot is shared that a Christian society in these days cannot ask much more than the acceptance of the Christian ethic and outlook, and fears are expressed that an insistence on Christian dogma in school would be to lose all.”1

As for what Mr. Happold believes, he can speak for himself; and he would have no reason to thank me for volunteering to interpret...

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Twenty-Five Years in Gloucester Road

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pp. 434-435

The first Sunday (October 24) of the dedication festival of St. Stephen’s, Gloucester Road, was chosen for the presentation to the vicar, the Rev. E. S. Cheetham, of a gift to which more than four-hundred members of his congregation and other friends had contributed.2 The occasion commemorated Mr. Cheetham’s twenty-five years of service in this parish.3†

Lord Sankey, making the presentation after High Mass, paid a moving tribute to Mr. Cheetham’s services to the church, the parish and the...

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The Social Function of Poetry

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pp. 436-446

The title of this essay is so likely to suggest different things to different people, that I may be excused for explaining first what I do not mean by it before going on to try to explain what I do mean. When we speak of the “function” of anything we are likely to be thinking of what that thing ought to do rather than of what it does do or has done. That is an important distinction, because I do not intend to talk about what I think poetry ought to do. People who tell us what poetry ought to do, especially if they are poets...

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Reunion by Destruction: Reflections on a Scheme for Church Union in South India: Addressed to the Laity

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pp. 447-469

The reader into whose hands this pamphlet has come, will, I hope, have had two questions in his mind: and I hope that these two questions have stimulated a curiosity which I shall endeavour to satisfy. The first question is, of what concern is this subject to me? and the second, why is this writer concerned with this subject? It is precisely the person who asks these questions, who is the reader to whom the following pages are primarily addressed. He is the reader who is not aware of any reason why the...

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Des organes publics et privés de la coopération intellectuelle

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pp. 470-479

La fin de la dernière guerre a été suivie non seulement par un renouveau d’activités intellectuelles et artistiques dans plusieurs pays d’Europe qui avaient participé aux hostilités, mais encore par un regain de curiosité à l’égard des activités d’autrui. Du moins, c’est l’impression que m’a laissée cette période, et au cas où cette impression paraîtrait inexacte, je dirai que sans doute ma mémoire aura été tentée d’exagérer le nombre des personnes engagées dans ces activités. Mais en admettant même qu’il ne s’agissait que...

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Books Across the Sea. To the Editor of The Times

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pp. 480-481

Sir, – In your issue of October 30 you reported, and commented upon in a leading article, the “British Book Week” sponsored by the American Library Association, which took place throughout the United States from October 24 to 30.2 As the New York Circle of “Books Across the Sea” gave its assistance to this campaign, I hope that you will allow me to call attention to the work being done by these “circles” in New York, London, Boston, and Edinburgh.3...

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Message to Aguedal

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pp. 482-483

Cher Monsieur Ignace Legrand, – Je sens l’honneur que vous me faites en m’invitant à contribuer à ce « message » que vous préparez pour le prochain numéro d’Aguedal.2 Message qui, hélas, ne peut être qu’un témoignage.

En effet, même les écrivains, comme tant d’autres hommes plus utiles, voient leurs temps pris, pendant la guerre, par des obligations étrangères à celles qu’ils subiraient avec plaisir et auxquelles ils accorderaient plus volontiers toute leur attention....

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Responsibility and Power

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pp. 484-489

My Dear Oldham,
You have suggested that I should try to arrange on paper some of my haphazard reflections on the subject of responsibility and power.1 Your readers may reasonably expect such a topic to be pursued within the framework already set by your supplement of September 8th on “Responsibility in the Economic System,” and by Mr. Basil Smallpeice’s valuable contribution of April 21st on “The Managers of Industry.”2 But the investigation of the...

1944

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T. S. Eliot on Kipling’s Anti-Semitism. To the Editors of The Nation

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pp. 490-491

Dear Sirs, – Your issue of October 16 has only recently reached me, containing Lionel Trilling’s interesting and, I think, valuable essay on my volume of selections of Kipling’s verse.2 Mr. Trilling permits himself the following observation:

Mr. Eliot, it is true, would not descend to the snippy, persecuted anti-Semitism of ironic good manners which, in “The Waster,” leads Kipling to write “etc.” when the rhyme requires “Jew”;3 but Mr. Eliot must have...

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Reunion: Construction or Destruction? Mr. T. S. Eliot’s Reply

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pp. 492-496

The Editor of the Church of England Newspaper has kindly invited me to comment upon the article by Canon T. Guy Rogers, which appeared in last week’s issue under the title of “Reunion: Destruction or Construction?”1 In this article Canon Rogers addresses himself, with urbanity and courteousness, to the task of defending the South India Scheme for Church Union against the objections which I raised.2 Canon Rogers could not concern himself, in so brief an article, with exhibiting any positive arguments...

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Mr. Butler’s National Christianity. To the Editor of The Church Times

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pp. 497-498

Sir, – The Times of January 11, and the Times Educational Supplement of January 15, contain brief reports of an address by the President of the Board of Education to the Board of Deputies of British Jews.1 I have not the copy of the Times by me, but the Educational Supplement has the following sentence:

Mr. Butler contemplated that where necessary the Jewish representative should be called into the deliberations for framing an agreed syllabus of...

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Aristocracy. To the Editor of The Times

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pp. 499-500

Sir, – In the leading article which you devote, in your issue of April 13, to Sir Walter Moberly’s address to the Classical Association, you look forward to the formation of “an aristocracy drawn from all sections of society.”2 It is to be presumed that an aristocracy drawn from all sections of society will include some members of the aristocracy; so that an inspection of the two meanings of the word “aristocracy” is invited.

The traditional use of the word implies, I believe, an emphasis upon inheritance: not merely the inheritance...

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Books for the Freed World. To the Editor of The Times

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pp. 501-502

Sir, – I hope that Mr. Archibald MacLeish’s proposals for “lending libraries on a world basis” outlined in his article in your issue of May 3, will be considered, discussed, and supported by every one concerned with scholarship and the arts and sciences.2 It is with the desire to promote discussion and support that I write.

There are only two points in Mr. MacLeish’s article which I should like to see expressed rather differently. He says that it will be necessary “to...

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Introduction to Shakespeare and the Popular Dramatic Tradition, by S. L. Bethell

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pp. 503-506

As the volume of Shakespeare criticism increases, year by year, the common reader must be inclined to wonder, what has all this to do with him? and to reiterate the objection, that what really matters is the plays themselves, and not what an endless succession of critics say about them. The science of textual criticism he admits, and pays a remote respect to the scholar who removes or inserts a comma; the discovery of another biographical fact is at least a sensation; and the structure of the Tudor and Jacobean stage is a...

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Broadcast on the liberation of Rome by the Allies

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pp. 507-509

I am to speak of the debt of all European peoples to Rome, for the literature she has given us, and for the literature which she has helped us to create. It is a debt different, not in degree, but in kind, from that which we owe to any other civilisation. When we talk of the “debt” of one culture to another, we do not mean the kind of debt which can be repaid: yet we are apt to think of it as a debt which has been settled. We think of it as a debt incurred by our ancestors: we imagine that the debt is now written off, and...

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To the Editor of Svenska Dagbladet

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pp. 510-511

Dear Mr. Aurén, – I doubt whether I can provide any singular and profound thoughts to supply your request of the 26th [sic] May. But you ask for “reactions,” in the plural; and that suggests a difference which I anticipate in my response to the future Waffenstillstand, from that of 1918.1 On the former occasion – even allowing for the fact that those who remember it were a great deal younger than we are now – the reaction was quite simple. Indeed, at the comparable stage of that war, the question asked by...

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What France Means to You

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pp. 512-515

En examinant, dans un récent numéro de La France Libre, les réponses qu’on a faites à cette question, je m’aperçois qu’il est possible de l’interpréter, et d’y répondre, de façons fort diverses. Dans le court espace dont je dispose, je m’efforcerai de ne pas répéter ce qu’on a déjà dit, et de ne pas récapituler ce que la France représente, non seulement à mes yeux, mais à ceux de beaucoup de mes compatriotes. Cette élimination me conduit à essayer de définir ce que la France a été pour moi dans le passé (mais sans parler des...

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Tribute to Anton Chekhov

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pp. 516-517

The Soviet Union are, I understand, about to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the death of Anton Chekhov.1 I do not know why the fortieth anniversary is of particular importance: but I feel strongly that no European writer who owes anything to Chekhov should miss any opportunity of paying his tribute to the memory of that great man. Like many other people in England, I am at the moment, owing to various enemy actions, prevented from access to many books. To write the appreciation...

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James Joyce. To the Editor of The Listener

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p. 518

On what Mr. O’Connor says of Irish writers in general in his talk entitled “Egotism in Irish Literature,” in your issue of June 1, I would not attempt to pronounce: Mr. O’Connor is an Irish writer himself, and everything Irish writers say about themselves is interesting.1 But he devotes most of his attention to James Joyce: in so far as this is literary criticism, I disagree with what he says; and in so far as it is a character-sketch, any friend of Joyce must resent it. Even the physical description gives a very different picture...

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The Responsibility of the Man of Letters in the Cultural Restoration of Europe

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pp. 519-526

I wish first to define the sense in which I shall use the term “man of letters.” I shall mean the writer for whom his writing is primarily an art, who is as much concerned with style as with content; the understanding of whose writings, therefore, depends as much upon appreciation of style as upon comprehension of content. This is primarily the poet (including the dramatic poet), and the writer of prose fiction. To give emphasis to these two kinds of writer is not to deny the title “man of letters” to writers in many...

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To the Reader. Preface to Inoubliable France — France Remembered, by Alice Jahier

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pp. 527-529

Those who open this book, to study the photographs, of scenes so familiar and so strange, and to read the evocative text, are likely to be drawn to it first by its power of awakening memories from their own past lives. Whether these are memories of six or seven years ago, or out of a more remote past, it makes no difference. To most English lovers of France, the most recent visit now appears in as distant a perspective as the first recollections. To some, this book will bring memories of holidays, or of visits to French friends; to...

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To the Editor of Blackfriars

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p. 530

Dear Sir, – At the close of an article called “The Tragedy of James Joyce” in your August issue, Mr. Anthony Birrell suggests that Messrs. Faber and Faber would do well to republish A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.1...

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The Meaning of Democracy. To the Editor of Christendom

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pp. 531-532

Sir, – We are grateful to Mr. Mackinnon for “Some Reflections on Democracy” in your June issue – in spite of what seems to me a somewhat ungenerous innuendo against our neo-agrarians.2 I find myself generally in agreement with him: it is only in his fifth paragraph that he strikes me as guilty of a lapse from the crystalline lucidity which he has recently taught us to expect from him.3 To find Mr. Mackinnon a democrat of the school of Burke is gratifying: but he seems to withdraw into some different philosophy...

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Kipling – The People’s Poet

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pp. 533-540

Rudyard Kipling was, I think, a great writer: but his work is very difficult to classify, and the man is very difficult to explain. In the first place his work is extremely varied. There have been great novelists and story writers – Walter Scott, Emily Brontë, Thomas Hardy, D. H. Lawrence are a few examples – who also wrote some poetry; there have been fewer poets who also wrote prose fiction. Kipling does not belong with either group. He was equally skilled in both prose and verse; and the characteristic...

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The Responsibility of the European Man of Letters

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pp. 541-542

I do not suggest that the responsibilities of men of letters are, or will be, fundamentally different from what they always have been: only the emphasis, on one responsibility rather than another, can vary. The permanent responsibility of each of us is towards the preservation and the development of his own language: and in bearing that responsibility we engage in a perpetual civil war against those who would arrest that development, and against those who would corrupt it. But we should know, after the mutual...

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Notes for a lecture on John Milton

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pp. 543-546

Controversy. The reason for so much heat can only be that Milton has become a SYMBOL. For some he represents Protestantism; for some, Liberalism, Parliamentary government and democracy; for others, the opposite of everything they dislike about modern poetry. But Milton doesn’t fit very well into any party: Mr. Lewis has defended his theological orthodoxy, and Mr. Wilson Knight has made him out to be a kind of monarchist.2 And one of the curious things about the people who have undertaken...

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Britain and America: Promotion of Mutual Understanding

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pp. 547-552

Few persons will deny the importance of developing a more intimate acquaintance between Britain and America in the field of education. But many of us who would cordially share the hope may have failed to consider why the aim is desirable or what form this intimacy should assume or what steps should be taken to bring it about.

If we do not try to answer these questions we may fall into one of two errors. We may think of the purpose of such closer association as being...

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On the Place and Function of the Clerisy

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pp. 553-562

The subject presents itself to me first in the form of three questions:

What is the place of the clerisy, if it exists, in the social structure?
Assuming it to exist, what is its composition?
In view of its composition, what is its function?

The clerisy (if it exists) must be an élite and not a class.2 The distinction may appear too obvious to need mention, yet I suspect that in discussion the two are often confused. An élite is not a substitute for a class, or a class...

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Bridgebuilders

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pp. 563-565

Next week, after the two exhibitions are over, these two collections of books will be starting on their tour of Britain and America respectively. So I don’t need to describe the Exhibition we’re holding here, because those of you who see the Exhibition of British Children’s Books in New York City will be able to picture this one in London. But I should like to explain why Books Across the Sea, in both countries, takes these two exhibitions so seriously. There are two things I want to say about Books Across the Sea in...

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What Is Minor Poetry?

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pp. 566-580

I do not propose to offer, either at the beginning or at the end, a definition of “minor poetry.” The danger of such a definition would be, that it might lead us to expect that we could settle, once for all, who are the “major” and who are the “minor” poets. Then, if we tried to make out two lists, one of major and one of minor poets in English literature, we should find that we agreed about a few poets for each list, that there would be more about whom we should differ, and that no two people would produce quite the...

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Preface to Roll Call [Apel, by Jerzy Andrzejewski]

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pp. 581-585

This book records a single incident, occupying only a few hours in the life of the notorious concentration camp of Oswiecim in Poland. Whoever the unknown author may be, or may have been, he was, as appears even through a translation, a man who knew how to write. I put this opinion first: for the fact that the document commends itself as a piece of writing, must be the first justification of the editors, for inviting a writer, with no experience of concentration camps, to introduce it. Whoever wrote this book knew...

1945

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The Four Quartets. To the Editor of The New English Weekly

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pp. 586-587

Sir, – In his review of my Four Quartets in The New English Weekly several weeks ago, Mr. Snell mentioned my note of acknowledgement to friends for their help, and observed that he could only find three or four minor changes from the text as originally printed in your columns.1 He is quite correct, and correct also in suggesting that one of the changes was of doubtful value. But the “improvements of word and phrase” for which I made acknowledgement were incorporated before the poems were printed in any...

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Broadcast on the publication of the first ten “Guild Books” in Sweden

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pp. 588-591

First, I wish to take this opportunity to give my greetings to my friends in Sweden, and to anyone who may remember me there. I have not forgotten the hospitality and kindness which I received from you, nearly three years ago.1 I wish that I could be present, at the reception in Stockholm in connection with which, and to which, I am speaking: but, if I could have been flown to Stockholm for this occasion, I know that I should have wanted to stay longer than there was any excuse for....

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The Germanization of England. To the Editor of The New English Weekly

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pp. 592-594

Sir, – Mr. Snell has called attention to some of the weaknesses in Mr. Belgion’s position, and some of the incoherence in his exposition of it.1 By now Mr. Belgion may have supplied an answer, and perhaps explained what he really means. But I do not think that a mere rejoinder to his critics will be enough: he must pursue the enquiry further.

To distinguish the German mind by an element, “the Fanciful” (apparently not possessed by other peoples), is only to give an arbitrary name to...

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Full Employment and the Responsibility of Christians

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pp. 595-602

The Supplement in the last issue raises two important questions, which are not of the same order.1 The first is, what are the prospects of success of the Government’s scheme for ensuring permanent full employment, and what is likely to happen if the operation of the scheme is not wholly successful. The second is, whether all Christians are under the obligation to support the scheme. Civis is extremely pessimistic in his expectations for the scheme if it does not receive full Christian support; and it is for this reason that he...

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The Germanization of Britain. To the Editor of The New English Weekly

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pp. 603-604

Sir, – Mr. Montgomery Belgion has now distributed the prizes for the best answers, but I do not think he ought to be allowed to escape from the platform without answering one or two more questions himself.1

He says that I complain that the terms fanciful and extravagant were not defined in the article: to this he replies that the article was devoted to illustrating what he means by them. Apart from the question of the difference between “definition” and “illustration,” he has misunderstood my query. I ...

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Cultural Forces in the Human Order

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pp. 605-622

The word culture cannot be precisely defined: that is to say, no definition can be given which would be of much use to anyone previously unacquainted with the word itself or with what it designates. Furthermore, although the word cannot be taken as exactly synonymous with civilization, the meanings of the two words certainly overlap, and can be in some contexts identical; so that any attempt either to identify or to keep quite separate the meanings of the two words is certain to be stultified in practice. The difficulties to...

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Mr. Charles Williams

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pp. 623-624

Mr. Charles Williams, of the Oxford University Press, poet, critic, and novelist, died at Oxford on Tuesday after an operation. He was 58.

Charles Walter Stansby Williams, the only son of R. W. Stansby Williams, was born on September 20, 1886, and was educated at St. Albans School and University College, London. His published work has been unusually varied. It includes poetry, poetic drama (notably his Thomas Cranmer, the Canterbury play of 1936), historical biography (James I and Henry VII),...

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Cultural Diversity and European Unity

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pp. 625-638

What I want to put before you are some recent reflections upon the problem of diversity of local cultures within a national unity, and of national cultures in a European unity. My own observations have been, of course, chiefly of the relation of cultures within this small island. If I venture to present my thoughts upon this subject to you, it is because I believe that Europe itself is a pattern of just such diversities, and the problem of the union of several cultures in one nation should throw some light on the problem of...

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The Social Function of Poetry

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pp. 639-652

I am very glad that this title2* – le rôle social des poètes – was suggested to me, because I want to make a slight change in it; for the change of title gives me a pretext for something I want to say. I shall call this talk “le rôle social de la poésie.” What difference does this make? It makes no direct difference, but an indirect difference of some significance. I accept the term “poet” only as a convenient designation for this, that or the other person who has written one or more good poems. I have known a good many poets,...

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Homage to Paul Valéry

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pp. 653-654

WHEN I LAST SAW VALERY TWO MONTHS AGO I KNEW MYSELF IN PRESENCE OF A DYING MAN STOP1 WHETHER HE KNEW THIS HIMSELF I CANNOT SAY STOP HE WAS CONSCIOUSLY FACING DEATH BUT THE DEATH THE FACE OF WHICH HE SAW WAS THE DEATH OF AN EPOCH PARAGRAPH THERE ARE POETS WHO DIE BEFORE THEIR AGE HAS BECOME CONSCIOUS OF THEM AND WHO THEREFORE DIE BEFORE...

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The Class and the Élite

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pp. 655-668

It would seem that among the more primitive societies the higher types exhibit more marked differentiation of function amongst their members than the lower types. At a higher stage still we find that a distinction is made between functions which are more highly and less highly valued, and this distinction leads to the development of classes, in which higher honour and higher privilege are accorded to the person not merely as functionary but as member of the class. And the class itself possesses a function, that of maintaining...

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What Is a Classic?

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pp. 669-687

The subject which I have taken is simply the question: “What is a classic?” It is not a new question. There is, for instance, a famous essay by Ste.- Beuve with this title.2† The pertinence of asking this question, with Virgil particularly in mind, is obvious: whatever the definition we arrive at, it cannot be one which excludes Virgil – we may say confidently that it must be one which will expressly reckon with him. But before I go farther, I should like to dispose of certain prejudices and anticipate certain...

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Outline of a lecture on Edgar Allan Poe

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pp. 688-693

Would not venture formal lecture on Poe: one of the most puzzling critical problems in literature. All the more suitable for informal talk followed by discussion. Few general remarks, followed by consideration of one aspect of his importance, which has had more attention in France than here or in America.

No poet has greater reputation on fewer poems: and of these even very few people have read all. But there are three or four which everybody knows....

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Mass Deportations. To the Editor of The Times

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pp. 694-695

Sir, – In his rejoinder to Lord Russell, Mr. J. H. Flexman makes three points none of which seems to me effective.2

First, he says that Lord Russell produces no evidence. But there was no need for Lord Russell to recapitulate what we have all read in the Press; it was rather for Mr. Flexman to prove that the published reports are false or exaggerated. In an ancient work of Indian philosophy one of the grounds of legitimate belief is given as “universal report: as, when all the people say,...

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Meaning of Culture. To the Editor of The Times Educational Supplement

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pp. 696-697

Sir, – Your leading article of October 27, devoted to an international meeting in London to consider the establishment of a United Nations’ Educational and Cultural Organization, is entitled “A Momentous Conference.”1

So indeed it may prove to be: and at a period when momentous conferences follow each other thick and fast, we may fail to pay sufficient attention to its proceedings....

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Autobiographical summary

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pp. 698-700

My family, since its removal from England in 1669, has always been settled in or near Boston, Massachusetts. It has therefore been associated for some generations with the Unitarian sect and with Harvard University. My grandfather, as a minister of Unitarianism, went out to St. Louis, Missouri in 1837 to found the first Unitarian church west of the Mississippi River: but though he was extremely active in public life there, and amongst other activities founded a local university, Boston remains the...

1946

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Preface to Sommes-nous encore en chrétienté?, by T. S. Eliot

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pp. 701-708

Ces conférences ont été prononcées pendant l’hiver de 1939, si lourd de menaces, et publiées peu après la déclaration de guerre. Vaut-il la peine de les reproduire en 1946, cette fois en traduction française? Lecteur, sois-en juge!2

Il peut paraître actuellement si chimérique de réaliser une société chrétienne que, pour d’aucuns, le simple examen de sa notion semble déjà un vain gaspillage de temps. Cependant, les événements consécutifs à la parution de mon texte en 1939 n’impliquent en rien, j’ose le dire, qu’il faille le...

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Die Einheit der europäischen Kultur

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pp. 709-735

This is the first time that I have ever addressed a German-speaking audience, and before speaking on such a large subject, I think that I should present my credentials.2† For the unity of European culture is a very large subject indeed, and no one should try to speak about it, unless he has some particular knowledge or experience. Then he should start from that knowledge and experience and show what bearing it has on the general subject. I am a poet and a critic of poetry; I was also, from 1922 to 1939, the editor of...

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Memorandum on Catholicity

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pp. 736-741

The background of these notes is given in a paper I contributed to Prospect for Christendom.1 I am aware that the thesis there stated is, in that form, still open to grave misunderstanding, but I am obliged to take it, for the moment, as a satisfactory statement so far as it goes.

I assume that every primitive culture (in the anthropological sense) at the beginning shows no division between “religious” and “secular” activities. From a religious point of view, the cultural element is of religious origin;...

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Preface to The Dark Side of the Moon [by Zoe Zajdlerowa]

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pp. 742-747

The manuscript of this book came into my hands over a year ago.2 The book is the story of what happened to Poland, and of what happened to innumerable Poles, between 1939 and 1945.3 It is also a book about the U.S.S.R. It is incidentally a book about Europe – not the Europe with which we were familiar in the past, but the Europe in which we now have to live.4† The aim of the book is to provide a record and to state a case: as dispassionately and fairly as is possible for a book, written by one of a...

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John Maynard Keynes

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pp. 748-752

What one immediately remarked, and most distinctly remembered, about Maynard Keynes, when first meeting him twenty-five or more years ago, was a very exceptional intelligence. The use of “intelligence” here suggests the French, rather than the English associations of the word. That is already, however, making a suggestion which needs at once to be corrected. It is on a somewhat lower level, that of the most alert un-creative mind, that intelligence is a French rather than an English characteristic. When it is united...

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Leçon de Valéry

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pp. 753-758

Only as many meetings, I think, as could be counted on the fingers: but these meetings were distributed at significant points in the twenty-one years ending in July 1945, twenty-one years during which Valéry, already recognised as a great poet, came to be a figure symbolic of the Europe of our time. As the author of La Jeune Parque, he had been introduced to English readers by Mr. J. Middleton Murry, writing in The Times Literary Supplement not long after that poem had been published; he was a famous man in...

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Ezra Pound

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pp. 759-770

Whatever may have been the literary scene in America between the beginning of the century and the year 1914, it remains in my mind a complete blank. I cannot remember the name of a single poet of that period whose work I read: it was only in 1915, after I came to England, that I heard the name of Robert Frost. Undergraduates at Harvard in my time read the English poets of the ’90s who were dead: that was as near as we could get to any living tradition. Certainly I cannot remember any English poet then...

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Individualists in Verse. To the Editor of The New English Weekly

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p. 771

Sir, – Our attention has been called to the letter from Mr. Owen Barfield, under the heading above, in your issue of November 7.1

We desire to state that Miss Sackville-West asked the permission of the publishers and the author for the use of these lines from The Waste Land in this way, adding that her comment was likely to be unfavourable.2 While publishers ask no fee for the use of such a short quotation (except where it...

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The Significance of Charles Williams

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pp. 772-776

Charles Williams, the writer, died a year ago this summer.2 It is very difficult to give a total impression of his varied work in the time at my disposal. If you look in Who’s Who, you will find that he was born in 1886, educated at St. Albans and at the University of London, that he was made an honorary M.A. of Oxford, and that he wrote books of several kinds.3 There is poetry, drama, literary criticism, historical biography, religious and theological writing, and a whole series of novels. A considerable output for a...

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Grant Amnesty to All War and Political Prisoners

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pp. 777-778

I do not see how any Christian could hesitate to support the appeal for “Christmas Amnesty.”1 It seems to me, however, that we ought to particularise the several classes of unfortunates who might benefit by such an application of Christian principles in public affairs: not in order to make exceptions, but, first, in order to distinguish our direct responsibility, in this country, from our responsibility to express our attitude towards affairs abroad over which we have no control....

Part II: Transcripts and Summary Reports of Lectures

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Culture and Community (22 Sept 1942)

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pp. 781-782

Poets generally felt that they should be writing for larger audiences than they were, and that raised the question of the meaning of culture. The word could mean good manners, or education and learning, or artistic taste. To be cultured a man must have something of all three. Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy concentrated on what a man could do for himself, and showed no consciousness of sociological culture. It was possible to speak of the culture of one nation as distinct from another because of...

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Walt Whitman and Modern Poetry (2 Feb 1944)

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pp. 783-787

I can’t help reminding you of the occasion on which, during the LincolnDouglas campaign for the presidency, Stephen Douglas – well-termed “The Little Giant” in oratory – had just delivered himself of one of his best speeches. There was a great amount of applause, Lincoln sitting quietly through it. When it had at last subsided, Lincoln got up, removed his coat, rolled up his cuffs, and said, “We will now proceed to stone Stephen.”2

I relate this anecdote, told me by my father, because it is the first – and probably the last – opportunity I have...

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Helping Children to Know the World (10 Oct 1944)

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pp. 788-789

Mr. T. S. Eliot, president of the British section of Books Across the Sea, speaking at the annual meeting, at the Waldorf Hotel, last night, said that the activities of the organization in the juvenile world in the past year had been conspicuous.2

This was a very important part of the work in which they were taking a long view towards the future. People sometimes asked why there should be any new children’s books when there were so many established children’s...

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Presidential address for Books Across the Sea (1 Feb 1946)

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pp. 790-792

According to the Times, TSE, “who handed the collection over,” said: “It is a library of Americana which will be unique in the world; a library of first editions – the librarian’s dream. It will be a library of books very few of which will have been published in this country. One must keep in mind a picture of a library exactly corresponding to this in New York of English books which we have been sending over since the organization started.”

“Mr. T. S. Eliot,” reported the Books Across the Sea Bulletin,...

Part III: Signed Letters and Documents with Multiple Authorship

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The Malvern Conference. To the Editor of The Times (14 Jan 1941)

T. S. Eliot, H. A. Hodges, and Alec R. Vidler

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p. 795

Sir, – The report which you have published about the results of the Archbishop of York’s conference at Malvern states that “a document of conclusions” was adopted unanimously, and that “another document outlining in detail the conclusions of the conference on all aspects of the question debated – doctrinal as well as economic – will be issued later.”1 As members of the conference, we wish to say that neither of these documents...

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Beauty in Trust. To the Editor of The Times (25 July 1941)

Nancy Astor, Max Beerbohm, R. W. Chambers, Sybil Colefax, T. S. Eliot, Rose Macaulay, Charles Morgan, Dorothy Sayers, M. St. Clare Byrne, F. A. Voight, and Helen Waddell

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pp. 796-797

Sir, – The gutting of the Temple and Gray’s Inn, the massacre of the City churches, are things done, not to be undone:1 we have been improvident trustees of a beauty that we judged imperishable, it had been so long with us. But there is beauty still, and still unprotected. Flesh and blood can run to shelters, but wood and stone are helpless unless mankind that shaped them will be ingenious to shield them.

Now, while the German bombers are still busy in the East, there is breathing space to plan protection...

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Books in War Time: “Disintegration” of the Trade. To the Editor of The Times (1 Jan 1942)

Laurence Binyon, Edmund Blunden, Bonamy Dobrée, T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Philip Guedalla, Storm Jameson, B. H. Liddell Hart, Walter De La Mare, Desmond MacCarthy, Gilbert Murray, J. B. Priestley, Ernest Rhys, G. Bernard Shaw, Osbert Sitwell, G. M. Trevelyan, H. G. Wells, and Rebecca West

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pp. 798-799

Sir, – The apathetic disrespect shown by successive Governments towards letters and men of letters has been one of the safeguards of freedom of expression. It is now, in the circumstances of this war, robbing this freedom of any significance.

Unless authority, in the person of the appropriate Ministers, suffers a change of mind, the condition of letters in this country will be quickly past prayer. Any who think that this defeat at home will have no effect on the...

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Foundational statement of the Joint Standing Committee of Religion and Life and the Sword of the Spirit (29 May 1942)

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pp. 800-802

(1) We agree that a compelling obligation rests upon all Christian people in this country to maintain the Christian tradition and to act together to the utmost possible extent to secure the effective influence of Christian teaching and witness in the handling of social, economic, and civic problems, now and in the critical post-war period.

We are all profoundly impressed with the increasing danger that in our generation the Christian heritage, in which we all share, may be lost, and...

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Scheme for Civic Theatres: Memorandum to the Prime Minister (18 Nov 1942)

British Actors’ Equity, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Esher, Sir Percy Harris, Mrs. Alfred Lyttelton, Dame Elizabeth Cadbury, Sir Barry Jackson, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Colonel Sir John Shute, Mr. William Armstrong, Mr. James Bridie, Mr. Ashley Dukes, Mr. T. S. Eliot, Dr. Julian Huxley, Mr. Will Lawther, Mr. Kenneth Lindsay, Mr. Desmond MacCarthy, Dr. J. J. Mallon, Mr. Norman Marshall, Dr. Gilbert Murray, Mr. J. B. Priestley, Mr. Alec L. Rea, Dr. Malcolm Sargent, Mr. G. Bernard Shaw, Dr. Edith Summerskill, and Mr. Geoffrey Whitworth

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pp. 803-805

Proposals for the development of the theatre on a State-aided basis after the war are set forth in a memorandum to the Prime Minister, the President of the Board of Education, and the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts. The Civic Theatre Scheme, as it is called, has been prepared by a special committee appointed by the British Drama League.1

It is suggested that the benefits of the scheme should be available throughout the entire country, and that such financial assistance as may be...

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Mr. Arthur Machen. To the Editor of The Times (18 Feb 1943)

Max Beerbohm, Edward Marsh, Algernon Blackwood, John Masefield, Walter de la Mare, A. E. W. Mason, T. S. Eliot, Arthur Quiller-Couch, Desmond MacCarthy, Michael Sadleir, Compton Mackenzie, and G. Bernard Shaw

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p. 806

Sir, – March 3, 1943, will be the eightieth birthday of one of the most distinguished living men of letters, Mr. Arthur Machen.1 His friends and admirers wish to honour the occasion by a birthday cheque, which will be...

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An English Tribute. To the Editor of the Harvard Alumni Magazine (8 May 1943)

Gilbert Murray (1926-27), Regius Professor of Greek, Oxford
Sir Eric Maclagan (1927-28), Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Athenaeum, London
H. W. Garrod (1929-30), Fellow of Merton College, Oxford
A. M. Hind (1930-31), Keeper of Prints and Drawings, British Museum, London
T. S. Eliot (1932-33), London

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pp. 807-808

The undersigned English men of letters, who have had in succession the high privilege of holding the annual professorship at Harvard founded by Mr. Stillman in memory of his great teacher, Charles Eliot Norton, wish to express our sense of personal loss at the death of President Lowell and our admiration for his work and character.1

We hesitate to speak of the personal kindness and thoughtful hospitality which we received from him and Mrs. Lowell.2 Those qualities are only...

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Church House, Soho. To the Editor of The Times (1 Dec 1943)

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p. 809

The Bishop of London is warmly supporting an appeal, signed by Lord Halifax, Lady Ravensdale, and Mr. T. S. Eliot, for gifts towards the upkeep of St. Anne’s Church House (57a, Dean Street, Soho, W.1), which was opened experimentally last May as a centre of evangelization.1 Two wardens were appointed, and the expense of essential repairs to the bomb-damaged fabric of the building was incurred in a venture of faith.2 Now, say the writers, the promoters’ faith has been vindicated. The work of the home is well...

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Laurence Binyon. To the Editor of The Times (6 Dec 1943)

Gordon Bottomley, Atul Chatterjee, Sydney Cockerell, W. de la Mare, T. S. Eliot, George Hill, Dougal O. Malcolm, John Masefield, William Rothenstein, Logan Pearsall Smith, George Bernard Shaw, R. C. Trevelyan, Arthur Waley, and J. R. H. Weaver

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pp. 810-811

Sir, – It is six months since Laurence Binyon died.2 His noble gifts as a poet are widely recognized; one of his poems, “For the Fallen,” has become part of our national inheritance.3 His love for the masters of English watercolour painting, for Turner, Girtin, and Cotman, for Blake and his followers, for the arts of India, China, and Japan, indeed for all work touched with the glow of imagination, has stirred thousands in both hemispheres. Moreover, his own high character, his response to anything he found...

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The Virgil Society. To the Editor of The Times Literary Supplement (18 Dec 1943)

H. E. Butler, T. S. Eliot, J. W. Mackail, [Alexander] Moncrieff, R. W. Moore, V. Sackville-West, and R. Speaight

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pp. 812-813

Sir, – The purpose of the Virgil Society is to bring together those men and women everywhere who are united in cherishing the central educational tradition of Western Europe.1 Among such persons the love of the poetry of Virgil is most likely to be found; and for such persons he is the fitting symbol of that tradition. Virgil is the poet who has been most studied and loved, uninterruptedly through the centuries which divide him from our own; he is the witness to the continuity of our civilization; among Roman...

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Homage to Virgil (18 Dec 1943)

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pp. 814-816

There are excellent reasons why the Virgil Society should receive the support for which it asks in the letter on the opposite page.1 All the older Europe has been bred up on Virgil; by an accident of history Virgil has always had a wider constituency than Homer; and by his priority in time he is more cosmopolitan than Shakespeare. Like Cicero, who is, in spite of the Greeks before him, the father of European prose, Virgil is the true father of European poetry – as much the poet par excellence, even now, as he was to...

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Ruined City Churches: Preservation as Memorials. To the Editor of The Times (15 Aug 1944)

Marjory Allen of Hurtwood, David Cecil, Kenneth Clark, F. A. Cockin, T. S. Eliot, H. S. Goodhart-Rendel, Julian Huxley, [Maynard] Keynes, and F. J. Salisbury

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pp. 817-819

Sir, – We should like to invite your attention to a proposal first advocated, we believe, by the Architectural Review, that a few of our bomb-damaged churches should be preserved in their ruined condition, as permanent memorials of this war.1 Already the authors of “A Plan for Plymouth” have taken up this idea to the extent of selecting the ruined church which, they feel, would be “a fitting memorial to symbolize the city’s grief...” and on April 28 your correspondence columns contained a specific suggestion for...

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The Freedom Press Raid. To the Editor of The New Statesman and Nation (3 Mar 1945)

Alex Comfort, Herbert Read, T. S. Eliot, Reginald Reynolds, E. M. Forster, D. S. Savage, Ethel Mannin, Stephen Spender, John Middleton Murry, and Julian Symons

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pp. 820-822

Sir, – We desire to express our disquiet at the increasing tendency in England to-day towards the restriction of the liberties of statement and persuasion. This tendency has been demonstrated recently in an instance of arbitrary police action and of other methods of indirect coercion. We refer to the acts against Freedom Press, the anarchist publishing group. Most of us do not subscribe to the political theories held by Freedom Press, and have no connection with the anarchist movement, but we respect their...

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Professor Saurat. To the Editor of The Times (13 June 1945)

Hugh Kingsmill and T. S. Eliot

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pp. 823-824

Sir, – According to your recent report of the luncheon at the Savoy at which the dissolution of the Council of the Institut Français was publicly announced, no reference appears to have been made, on that occasion, to the services rendered by Professor Denis Saurat.1 It was gratifying to know that the British Council received recognition of its generosity to a good cause during the war years: for without the financial help of the British Council the French Institute could not have survived. But without the...

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Telegram to President Harry S. Truman (1 May 1946)

Gerald Brenan, Benjamin Britten, Fenner Brockway, Rhys J. Davies, T. S. Eliot, [Gavin Henderson, 2nd Baron] Faringdon, E. M. Forster, B. H. Liddell Hart, Laurence Housman, C. E. M. Joad, Augustus John, Arthur Koestler, Ethel Mannin, John Middleton Murry, George Orwell, Bertrand Russell, G. Bernard Shaw, Edith Sitwell, Osbert Sitwell, Michael Tippett, and Gamel Woolsey

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pp. 825-826

SIR WE VIEW WITH CONCERN THE CONTINUED IMPRISONMENT UNDER HEAVY SENTENCES OF THREE THOUSAND CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS IN YOUR COUNTRY AND WISH TO ASSOCIATE OUR NAMES WITH THE PETITIONS WHICH WE UNDERSTAND ARE BEING SENT TO YOU BY AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS AND CITIZENS STOP WE WOULD ASK RESPECTFULLY IF IT IS NOT POSSIBLE NOW THAT THE WAR HAS...

Index

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pp. 827-854

Photographs

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