That sounds like precisely the essay I had in mind. Thank you.
In a message dated 2/18/2003 3:19:28 PM Eastern Standard Time, [log in to unmask] writes:
> I don't know if it's the essay you're looking for, but Orwell wrote a review
> of the first three Quartets that was originally published in Poetry London,
> October-November 1942.
> Orwell's main complaint is not about obscurity, but that the Quartets
> represent a decline from Eliot's early poetry. This is a fairly familiar
> criticism, and as one would expect Eliot's conversion to Anglicanism and
> other orthodoxies does play a part. But Orwell's objection is not purely or
> even mostly political: he starts off by saying that unlike Prufrock, the
> Quartets fail to stick in his memory, and analyses the reasons for the
> I'm not sure he mentions 'parlor tricks' at any stage, though.
> The (untitled) essay is reprinted in the Collected Essays, Journalism and
> Letters of Orwell (vol. II). I think you can also find it in TS Eliot: The
> Critical Heritage.
> RaphaŽl Ingelbien
> [log in to unmask]
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2003 5:41 PM
> Subject: Re: Orwell on Eliot
> > I'd sent out a query on this some years ago (in vain), but there are so
> many new listers now it may be worth trying again.
> > I recall reading, many years ago, an essay by George Orwell attacking
> Eliot for having declined from vibrant, living language into abstract
> obscurantism. (I believe the essay was written after some, but not all, of
> Four Quartets had been published, but I may be wrong about that.) I recall
> in particluar a line about Eliot's use of opposites ("what you know is what
> you do not know", etc.") having degenerated from fresh and new into
> something of "a parlor trick."
> > At the time, I was just getting into Eliot's later poetry and remember
> having a fair degree of sympathy with Orwell's view (though even then I
> thought it overstated.) Having come to appreciate the post-conversion work
> more, I would like to read the essay again and see what I think of it.
> > I've tried to locate it on line with some fairly extensive googling, and
> most of what I get is Orwell on Eliot on Kipling, or references to Eliot's
> decision not to publish "Animal Farm." Does anyone else recall the essay I
> am referring to, or know where it might be located
> (preferably on-line)?
> > Tom K