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(T. S. Eliot Discussion List Frequently Asked Questions File)

This is the latest draft of a monthly informational posting for TSE, the T. S. Eliot Discussion Forum. "Monthly" in the sense of "updated about once a year." At present, it is an FAQ for the TSE list only, not for Eliot's life and works. Questions and suggestions are welcome, and may be sent to either Greg Foster <[log in to unmask]> or Timothy Materer <[log in to unmask]>.


   1. Introduction: What is TSE? Why?
   2. How to Subscribe, Unsubscribe, and Post to the List.
   3. Guidelines for Posting.
   4. Accessing the List Archives.
   5. Making the Listserv Do Your Bidding.
   6. The TSE List Home Page
   7. Where Can I Find More Information? 

    TSE is an electronic discussion list devoted to the works and life of the Anglo-American poet, playwright, and critic T. S. Eliot (1888-1965). It was created in November 1995 by two Eliot enthusiasts at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Greg Foster and Timothy Materer. The list is unmoderated, and is open to all readers of Eliot--poets, scholars, students, fans, and the merely curious. In addition to providing an open forum for conversation about any aspect of Eliot's poems and other writings, the list will be a resource for working scholars, who are encouraged to post queries and confer about work in progress. 

    A. To SUBSCRIBE to TSE, send a message to [log in to unmask], leaving the Subject line blank. In the body of the message, type the single line:

        SUBSCRIBE TSE Yourfirstname Yourlastname

    where "Yourfirstname Yourlastname" is your real name.

    B. To UNSUBSCRIBE, send the following message to [log in to unmask], again leaving the Subject line blank:


    You do not have to add your name when unsubscribing.

    If the above command doesn't work: Please contact Greg Foster <[log in to unmask]>, who is the listowner who handles this sort of thing. And please be patient. There are a number of reasons why an unsubscribe request might not work, but none of them is a function of an arrogant disregard for our listmembers, whatever it may seem to you. PLEASE DO NOT SEND UNSUBSCRIBE REQUEST AND/OR THREATS TO THE LIST ITSELF!! This amounts to harassment of several hundred innocent listmembers, and we will treat it as such.

    C. To POST messages to the list, use the address: [log in to unmask]. N.B. Everything posted by list members to [log in to unmask] will be automatically distributed to everyone on the list. For obvious reasons, then (I say again), DO NOT SEND UNSUBSCRIBE REQUESTS OR OTHER LIST COMMANDS TO THIS ADDRESS! (For more information, see Making the Listserv Do Your Bidding, below.) 
    TSE is an unmoderated list, which means that we don't screen your posts before they are distributed to the list of subscribers. We would like to keep it that way. It is in the interests of all us on the list, therefore, to adhere to a few basic guidelines based largely on netiquette:

       1. We encourage wide-ranging discussions about any aspect of T. S. Eliot's works or life, in addition to works (including our own) about Eliot and related topics (Modernism, etc). Queries are always welcome. The best informal criterion is simply that a post's subject matter should be likely to be of interest to people interested in Eliot.
       2. Readers of all levels are welcome, from novices to established authorities. Accordingly, a spirit of mutual respect and tolerance must prevail in our responses to one another. This does not mean that we are not free to disagree and even to express our disagreements vehemently; but such expressions must stop short of personal attacks.
       3. Students submitting queries should remember that this list is made up of private individuals who post to it in their free time. Although posts from high school and college students have usually been thoughtful in every sense of the word, every now and then we get a post of the form, "Please send me information about 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.' I have a paper due tomorrow." This shows little consideration for others' time--and for that matter, little careful consideration of the subject the poster is writing about. Two basic suggestions: Make your queries as specific as possible, and Try to ask questions that will open up discussion.
       4. All posts should carry a descriptive Subject line, and responses to others' posts should retain the previous Subject line unless the topic under discussion has shifted. (Most mailers automatically retain Subject lines if you respond by means of the Reply function.) The primary reason for using descriptive Subject lines is consideration: not everyone will be interested in every discussion we have (strange but true!), and those especially who have to pay for their e-mail or their time online will appreciate the option of choosing which posts they want to read. Retaining established Subject lines also enables list members to read threads of particular interest to them in sequence.
       5. Replies to others' posts should only quote as much of the original message as is necessary to establish context. To quote the entire text automatically is often not only to waste bandwidth but also to inconvenience your fellow list members. 

    Those things said, I should also say that on the whole (one or two unfortunate lapses not withstanding), discussions on the list over the past year and a half have been models of consideration and generosity. We have certainly had our disagreements, and we will continue to have them; but at our best, we are able to enjoy them. Quite a few friendships have started on the TSE List. We are in good company.
    Perhaps the most important principle to keep in mind is that a list like TSE constitutes a self-governed international community. When disputes (inevitably) arise, we trust in each other's ability to speak out, knowing that the rest of us are willing to listen and to do our best to settle them--because we want the conversation to go on.

    The TSE Archives, originally gopher-accessible and later searchable through a web-based interface to the MHonArc program, are now not web-accessible at all. The reasons for this have to do with conversion to different list software and changes in the local host of the list website. We hope this unsatisfactory state of affairs is temporary, especially since the current list software, listserv 1.8e, incorporates a quite good archiving capability. In the meantime, recent months can be accessed by email: send a message to [log in to unmask] with the content GET LISTSERV REFCARD for more information.
    Send a message to [log in to unmask] with the content GET LISTSERV REFCARD for more information.

    The TSE List Home Page is at, which is probably exactly where you are presently reading it. In addition to this FAQ, this page is home to an online concordance to Eliot's Collected Poems and various other resources of interest to listmembers. Suggestions welcome! 
    A number of internet sites contain useful information on T. S. Eliot, including biographical summaries, texts (many inaccurate and posted in violation of copyright laws--be careful!), parodies, and pictures. For a jumping-off place, try the short list of top-notch sites listed on our T. S. Eliot Links page.

    TSE subscribers may also be interested in the ModBrits list, a moderated Internet discussion list devoted to Modern British and Irish literature, 1895-1955. To subscribe to MODBRITS, send e-mail to [log in to unmask].

    Another interesting e-list that often touches on Eliot is the unmoderated Modernism List. To subscribe to the Modernism List, Send a message of the form SUBSCRIBE MODERNISM FIRSTNAME LASTNAME to [log in to unmask], leaving the Subject line blank. The Modernism List also maintains an online FAQ and a List Home Page. Its archives are accessible on the Web.

    A survey of the many thousands of print resources devoted to Eliot is beyond the feasible scope of this document, though our eventual T. S. Eliot FAQ and online bibliography will provide a start in that direction. (Stay tuned!)

    Finally, please feel free to send questions and suggestions to the list, or to either of the listowners, Greg Foster <[log in to unmask]> and Timothy Materer <[log in to unmask]>, whose e-mail addresses you may have noticed repeated like a mantra every few lines throughout the foregoing. 

Main | Publications | Concordance | Archives | Links
Greg Foster <[log in to unmask]>
TSE: The T. S. Eliot List

Timothy Materer
Department of English
University of Missouri
Columbia MO 65211
Fax 573 882 5785