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Carrol is right about this--though women used to get rejected constantly if they wrote about women, only 20-30 years ago. Some perservered: for example, Gerda Lerner was discouraged over and over by advisors but persisted and eventually became not only a major historian but the first women to be president of the American Historical Association.

On the other hand, once the dissertation is done and accepted, you will be in a position to make the case you want to make. I suggest making the focus Eliot's effect on younger poets and including yours as a major example rather than the other way might work.
Nancy

>>> Carrol Cox 09/17/10 10:29 PM >>> 
The main consideration here is getting the Ph.D. You have a lifetime to 
devote to writing what you want to write. Pick a topic that can be 
handled quickly without too much hassle, & shake the dust of grad school 
from your feet. And you might eveen be surprised to find that whether 
the topic is important in itself or not, yu personally gain something 
from writing it. 

Carrol