Rick is right that it it not the most complete introduction to Eliot's
life. For that you should read Lyndall Gordon and Peter Ackroyd. But
The Painted Shadow is not a biography of Tom; it's a biography of Viv
with a great deal of information about Tom that had not been dealt with.
Interestingly, all of the biographies of Tom spend a lot of time on Viv
and usually on how awful she was (though their marriage seems to have
had the effect of making them mutually awful). It seems important that
the focus be shifted, even if one's interest is in the poet, because
their life together had such an impact on the writing as well as on his
life. But her life is deeply interesting in its own right and in many
ways quite as important.
>>> [log in to unmask] 07/11/05 8:49 AM >>>
Rick Parker said:
" My opinion of Painted Shadow is that it is very much worth reading
but it should not be one's introduction to an Eliot biography. I have
been looking forward to James E. Miller Jr's book "T.S. Eliot: The
Making of an American Poet." It was due to be published in August but
might be available now. "
Rick, In fact the Painted Shadow has been my introduction to Eliot's
bio, but I take your point that one should read other accounts. I still
think since it's taken from personal diaries, that there must be quite a
bit of truth to it, just as any account is subjective. If we polled 10
friends of yours for an opinion on you, they'd give 10 different views.
But I will have a look at two or three other accounts to get a fuller,
less biased opinion.
Calla H. Fireman
Assistant to the Director, SRM
Foreign Affairs Canada
219 Laurier Ave., 11th floor, Room 1166
Ottawa, ON K1P 5J6