I think the life is deeply revealing when we can know it, and not as
hero-worship (which simply distracts and confuses) but as insight. It does
matter, I think, that Pound broadcast for Mussolini, that Dickinson was
a recluse, that Plath was suicidal, that MacDiarmid and Jones were in WWI
for all four years. All that reveals the life and experience that evoked so
much poetry. And it matters how Eliot thought of, treated, wrote to and
about women. His poems through *The Waste Land *are full of images and
attitudes towards women. Then he pretty much removed them altogether except
for statues and lines from saints. Why? We learn a lot about those poems
from his experience.

Perhaps it is not the same with Shakespeare precisely because of what Keats
called his "negative capability": he wrote plays for many, many voices and
did not make any one voice central. (Only a speculation--and then there are
the sonnets, a mystery). But acting Shakespeare leaves one an immense range
of possible directions.

But hero worship is empty and a barrier to understanding. They were all
great poets, not models for life.

On Sat, Jan 19, 2019 at 7:34 PM [log in to unmask] <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> What is known of Shakespeare's life, once I was told, could be confined to
> an index card.    Yes, the life of the great poet is greatly interesting
> but at some point hero-worship seems to supersede the heroic.
> Sent from my iPhone
> > On Jan 19, 2019, at 12:12 PM, Materer, Timothy J. <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >
> >
> > From
> >
> > Virago acquires fresh take on TS Eliot ahead of release of over 1,000
> letters
> > Published January 18, 2019 by Katherine Cowdrey
> >
> > Virago is publishing Eliot Among the Women by TS Eliot biographer
> Lyndall Gordon, a book exploring the impact of the women in Eliot's life on
> his work following the release of decades-confined correspondence.
> >
> > Promised to be an "important book" on the poet, whose life and work is
> believed to have been shaped by four women in particular, it will draw on
> more than 1,000 letters Eliot wrote to Boston-born teacher of drama, Emily
> Hale - correspondence that the book's author says is "central to
> understanding his most private emotions during the decades when his
> creativity was at its height".
> >
> > Representing the largest single series of the poet’s correspondence, in
> January 2020 the 1,131 letters TS Eliot wrote to Hale from 1930 to 1956,
> housed in 12 boxes at Princeton University Library for over 60 years, will
> have their steel security bands cut and be opened after decades'
> confinement.
> >
> > Whilst these letters will lead the project, his relationships with other
> women who were close to him - extending also to his first wife, Vivienne
> Haigh Wood, companion Mary Trevelyan, and second wife Valerie Fletcher, as
> well as his mother, and first publisher Virginia Woolf - will also be
> explored in the book.
> >
> > The book was acquired by Virago chair Lennie Goodings in the UK, where
> the deal was done by Isobel Dixon of Blake Friedmann and by Norton in the
> US in a deal arranged by Georges Borchardt.
> >
> > Publication will be in 2022, the centenary of The Waste Land (Faber).
> >
> > Acknowledging Gordon's 40 years experience of writing about Eliot,
> Goodings commented: "This is the book Lyndall Gordon was born to write; it
> draws on all her intuitive understanding of this mysterious poet. We are
> thrilled."
> >
> >