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Thanks for your most precious inputs, Tim.
In appreciating good work one tends to go overboard, I suppose.
I thought it was an Indian habit :))

Regards,
CR

On Monday, October 26, 2015, P <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Thanks for clarifying the boo-boo missive Tim.  Don't you just hate it
> when you do that!
> Your comments on the notes are real eye-openers. The editor's art leaves
> much to be desired.
> P.
> On 26 Oct 2015 10:34 am, "Materer, Timothy J." <[log in to unmask]
> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml',[log in to unmask]);>> wrote:
>
> First, I apologize for sending a personal email to the entire list about
> better communication between the two Eliot listservs.
>
> I finally read the Seamus Perry review, which includes comments on V. 5 of
> the Letters, and would like to vent a little. I’m really tired of reading
> comments such as: "The publication of The Letters is an unfolding
> masterpiece of the editor’s art.”
>
> All reviewers praise the editing without giving any specific reasons for
> doing so. They comment only on the letters themselves. It is fair to praise
> the editors for giving us so many letters and for the information in some
> of the notes. Let’s also believe on faith, as I do, that the texts are
> accurate.
>
>
> However, below, I want to give some of my evidence that the notes are
> often  inadequate. These are pasted-in excerpts from my reviews of the
> volumes in Time Present (U.S. TSE Society).
>
> Review of Vol. 4
>
>  The length of this volume, and of the previous three, might not be a
> distraction if the notes were more relevant. In Volume 3, to cite an
> egregious example, Eliot mentions in a letter to Ezra Pound that he has met
> Derek Patmore. Note 2 to the letter quotes Patmore’s unpublished memoir in
> which he expresses “a secret suspicion which I have always believed
> irrelevant to the actual letter could hardly be imagined since Eliot merely
> wrote: “Have seen the boy and quite like him”(123).
>
> In Volume 4 there are many such irrelevant editorial opinions; for
> example, that John Crow Ransom was a
>
> “reputable poet in his early career” (104) and that G. B. Shaw was a
> “philanderer and pro-feminist” (709). The most
>
> tendentious of the notes takes Geoffrey Hill to task because in 2001 he
> “deplored” the epigram from Charles Maurras
>
> that Eliot used in his Dante, and then quotes Christopher  Ricks’s
> refutation in 2003 of Hill’s opinion (582). Since
>
> Eliot’s letter to Maurras merely refers to the passage, nothing in the
> letter is illuminated by controverting Hill.
>
> In some letters the lengthy footnotes apparently leave no room for more
> important annotations. For example,
>
>  when Eliot discusses Granville Hicks’s Time and Tide article on literary
> obscenity, the editors’ half-page footnote
>
> quotes a passage from Hicks’s article; but they do not annotate Eliot’s
> references to Matthew Arnold’s Culture
>
> and Anarchy  and Aldous Huxley’s Antic Hay in the same letter (321–22).
> Shorter footnotes elsewhere might have
>
>  provided room for annotations to explain the significance of “the Lobster
> God” (30), “Sainte-Sulpicerie” (351),
>
> “red Ribbon” (499), “quarter day” (505, 506), and the  allusion to Ezra
> Pound’s poem “Ancient Music” in Eliot’s
>
> dating of a December 1928 letter as “this last day of the Old Year Goddam”
> (370). A reference to the “question
>
> of Reservation” (30) is not annotated, even though the practice of
> “reserving” a consecrated host after a service
>
> for adoration in a church tabernacle was controversial. Eliot considered
> Reservation so essential to devotional
>
> practices that he claims he would be forced to leave the Established
> Church “if it came to an issue on the question” (30).
>
> The reference to “The Immaculate Conception,” which Eliot says he “cannot
> swallow” (351), should also have been annotated. (Later Eliot accepted the
> doctrine.)
>
>
>
> Review of Volume 3
>
>
>
> His brother and his brother’s new wife, Theresa, see the Dostoevskian
> elements of Eliot’s marriage when Tom and Vivien join them for their
> honeymoon trip to Rome in April 1926. At this time, Vivien is beginning to
> suffer the breakdown that would lead to threats of suicide and treatment in
> a French sanatorium.
>
>
>
>             The details surrounding this crisis—a moment of significant
> biographical interest—are regrettably more obscured than elucidated by
> editorial commentary. The first indication of this crisis appears in
> Vivien’s letter to Ottoline Morrell from London on April 16, 1926: “I am in
> great trouble, do not know what to do. In great fear” (145). The footnote
> to the letter merely states, “See TSE’s letter to Osbert Sitwell, 13 Oct.
> 1927.” Some six hundred pages later the reader finds a three-page footnote
> that tells virtually nothing about Vivien’s letter to Morrell. Eliot’s
> letter states that he was upset with Sitwell because Vivien had written to
> him “over a year ago from Rome, and . . . you did not reply” (749). In
> footnote three to Eliot’s letter, we learn from Sitwell’s unpublished
> memoir (1950) that Vivien’s letters to him and his sister Edith “declared
> that we should have inevitably heard of the scandal to which she was
> referring, and in which she was involved. We should be aware, however, that
> if she returned to Tom, it would inevitably bring disgrace upon him. . . .”
> (749). The Sitwells had heard of no scandal. The footnotes do not explain
> from where or whom Vivien might return to Tom. The only context for this
> incident appears in the Biographical Commentary:
>
>
>
> At some point during this period, Vivien writes to Osbert Sitwell, and
> separately to Edith Sitwell, saying that she has been involved in some sort
> of scandal and asking for their imperative help. The “scandal” presumably
> refers to her attempted suicide in Paris: there is no evidence that she
> became involved in any other form of scandal. (xvii)
>
>
>
>             If the scandal concerned this suicide attempt, why is Vivien
> writing to Sitwell from Rome rather than from Paris? The footnote to her
> April 16 letter connects the two letters to Morrell and Sitwell with the
> attempted suicide in Paris. However, the dates of the letters show that
> there is no connection. Footnote three quotes Sitwell’s reply to Eliot that
> he received Vivien’s letter on “the first day of the General Strike.” The
> note does not explain that England’s General Strike of 1926 began on May
> 3—more than two weeks after Vivien’s letter to Morrell. The commentary
> claims that Vivien wrote to Sitwell at “some point during this period,”
> which is the period in May just before Vivien entered the sanatorium; this
> is highly misleading because of the April date of the letter to Morrell.
>
>
>
>             The editors might have given supporting evidence that there
> was no other “form of scandal” in the spring of 1926. Their statement
> contradicts Carole Seymour-Jones’s claim in *Painted Shadow* (441–43)
> that Vivien was infatuated with another man and while in Rome was planning
> to leave her husband. Seymour-Jones’s information is suspect because she
> gives the name of the man (basing her identification on a secondhand
> reference to Morrell’s diary) incorrectly as Haden Guest rather than
> Stephen Haden-Guest, and she incorrectly claims that Vivien’s April 16
> letter was sent from Rome. However, Vivien’s infatuation is also referred
> to in *The Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell *(ed. Nicholas Griffin).
> Russell wrote on March 20, 1926 that Eliot was “sending express letter
> about Guest’s sins.” The note to the letter reads, “Vivien Eliot had become
> infatuated either with Dr Leslie Haden-Guest . . . or with his son,
> Stephen” (Russell 1, 254). Writing to his brother from Rome at the time of
> this crisis (May 12, 1926), Eliot says that he is leaving for Germany (“*do
> not mention that we are going to Germany*,” 151); but the sketchy
> footnotes to the letter require the reader to depend upon the commentary to
> learn of the trip “from Rome to Freiberg in Germany—to consult with Dr Karl
> Martin” (xvii). The footnotes, generally so comprehensive, might have
> clarified the “scandal” that occurred in Rome and apparently motivated the
> trip to Freiberg. Instead, the reader is sent into an editorial maze.
>
>
>
>
>