Their impact as literature is quite secondary.
They were not written to be read, but to be experienced
on stage. Other than THE COCKTAIL PARTY which did achieve
notable success on both Broadway and Shaftesbury Avenue, the
others have held their own with many of the best plays of
the century as production pieces. Who would go? Obviously
people with a different mindset from yours. Is yours the
archetypal mindset by which all others are to be measured?
From: Carrol Cox [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, December 01, 2003 9:18 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Poets on poetry
I saw _Cocktail Party_ in Washington, D.C. about 50 years ago, and wrote
a long paper on it for Austin Warren's Major American Writers course a
couple years later. I read his other plays at about the same time. And
this is the first time I've given a minute's thought to any of them
since then. Thinking for that minute, it occurs to me that if I were to
make a list of plays I either wanted to reread or read for the first
time, there are probably at least a thousand that would come higher on
the list than any of Eliot's. It seems to me that Jennifer's dismissal
was measured and probably represents pretty much a consensus. Who would
read or produce those plays (or even be aware of their existence) if
their author had not also written Prufrock, Gerontion, TWL, & 4Q? I
doubt that they would even be in print.