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Sep 20, 2005 - LONDON (Reuters) - A series of largely unpublished
letters from T.S. Eliot and a first edition of The Waste Land poem
inscribed by the author sold for nearly $438,000 at auction on
Tuesday.
 
The lots included sets of letters from Eliot to his godson Tom Faber
and Tom's mother Enid. Tom Faber, who died in 2004, was Eliot's first
godchild and the son of his friend and publisher Geoffrey Faber.
 
A series of 50 typed letters sent to Tom were signed "Uncle Tom" and
revealed a humorous side to the poet.
 
In one letter he wrote "I should like to put you in touch with Mr
Mandlebaum of New York, who is writing a thesis on the Dynamics of
Audience-Response to the Cocktail Party. This is called Sociology and
is an American disease."
 
The sale included a first edition of Eliot's classic poem The Waste
Land, inscribed by the poet, sold for 32,400 pounds. With the letters
and other inscribed first editions the collections totaled 242,652
pounds.
 
American-born Thomas Stearns Eliot spent much of his life in Britain
as a poet, playwright and publisher with an austere reputation, based
on his royalist, conservative, High Anglican church views.
 
Born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1888, Eliot moved to London in 1914,
where he worked as a teacher and a bank clerk.  He died in 1965.
 
Apart from his modernist poems, he published "Old Possum's Book of
Practical Cats," a children's work on which Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit
musical "Cats" is based.