Another review of "Young Eliot"
Exclusive from the Literary Review print edition.
by Seamus Perry
Seamus Perry is a Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and author of The Cornwall Guide to T S Eliot's The Waste Land.
Young Eliot: From St Louis to The Waste Land
By Robert Crawford (Jonathan Cape 493pp £25)
The Letters of T S Eliot: Volume 5, 1930-1931
Edited by Valerie Eliot & John Haffenden (Faber & Faber 862pp £50)
[Eliot] was unmoved by F W Bateson's interpretation of Wordsworth, a minor academic scandal in its day, which attributed unacknowledged incestuous feelings in the poet towards his sister. 'Well, he may be right', was Eliot's response. 'But the real question, which every reader of Wordsworth must answer for himself, is: does it matter?'
Robert Crawford's adept and widely informed account of Eliot's life up to the publication of The Waste Land in 1922 is committed to making such things seem to matter, and on the whole he succeeds very well.
The only real monster on display is the dreadful Bertrand Russell