I agree. Eliot's correspondence is interesting and valuable in a number of ways, and Valerie's judgement which has proven itself, led to the publication, so there is no argument against their publication. But Eliot was a nodal figure in nodal cultural context at a nodal time. Few writers are so very important. There's enough junk on shelves now. Recycle the crap!
"[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
As I age and reread the truly lasting poems I have come to conclude that poems should stand on their own, independent of the lives of the poets. In other words, a reader can grasp great language without biographical reference. This I am not deterred by the destruction of letters. Consider what little of Shakespeare we have and how weighty and worthless was that massive volume last year of Larkin's every scribble and a few years past a similar scraps collection of Bishop.
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It's an argument for scholars having access to Philip Roth's letters....
On Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 10:21 AM, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
I agree with you, though I feel much more able to bear up under the loss of Roth than of Eliot. But I think, while you are right about the pain of his marriage, WWI was also a key factor. Many of his letters talk of how difficult it is for everyone, and the combination of his marriage with the War made for what I think was a life-changing view of the world. I'm not sure he would have been ready or able to appreciate Valerie or what that marriage meant when he was young.
>>> John Angell Grant
11/13/12 12:38 PM >>>
Phillip Roth says he will destroy his papers so scholars can't root through them after his death:
It seems a pity Roth is doing this--an act of selfishness and fear--though certainly Roth gets to do what he wants with his papers. The more I re-read and think about Eliot, the more I am sympathetic to the view that the misery of The Wasteland was, in significant part, the misery of his marriage to Vivien, and his problems with women. My understanding is that when Eliot found happiness in his relationship with Valerie, he wrote no more poetry. What kind of poet would Eliot have been with a happy first marriage?
When Eliot's letters to Emily Hale become public, we will understand Eliot better.
I hope Roth reconsiders, but that seems unlikely.