A sample from another review (in London Evening Standard) I might’ve shared earlier:
“He commissions books and articles, he assesses submissions. He responds to invitations and suggestions, always with courtesy, even when refusing. He supplies references and letters of introduction, he offers advice. He constantly apologises for delays in replying and he thanks people for their contributions, their comments, their hospitality, friendship and support.
All this can make repetitious reading now, essential though it may have been then to the literary culture he was seeking to nurture. Yet taken together these letters are little less than a lesson in conduct, a kind of tireless poise, a demonstration of grace under pressure.
They are invariably, as Haffenden notes in his preface, “humane and engaging, constructive and inventive, and frequently jokey” — and sometimes they are more than that: revealing, touching and wise. They are also, like all good letters, wonderfully different in tone when writing to different friends and acquaintances.”
Well, I did have an initial feeling that something was amiss. This brief description brings that home to me.
“Eliot is called upon to become the completely public man. He gives talks, lectures, readings and broadcasts, and even school prize-day addresses. As editor and publisher, his work is unrelenting, commissioning works ranging from Michael Roberts's The Modern Mind to Elizabeth Bowen's anthology The Faber Book of Modern Stories. Other letters reveal Eliot's delight in close friends such as John Hayward, Virginia Woolf and Polly Tandy, and his colleagues Geoffrey Faber and Frank Morley, as well as his growing troupe of godchildren - to whom he despatches many of the verses that will ultimately be gathered up in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939).
The volume covers his separation from first wife Vivien, and tells the full story of the decision taken by her brother, following the best available medical advice, to commit her to an asylum - after she had been found wandering in the streets of London. All the while these numerous strands of correspondence are being played out, Eliot struggles to find the time to compose his second play, The Family Reunion (1939), which is finally completed in 1938.”
CROn Sun, Feb 3, 2019 at 2:28 PM Chanan Mittal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:Let me sheepishly withdraw my foolish comment.“Sunlight on a broken column,” indeed.Best compliments.CROn Sun, Feb 3, 2019 at 1:15 PM Materer, Timothy J. <[log in to unmask]> wrote:Thanks for the notification! It answers what has been a puzzling question.
Twenty such books are planned.
On Feb 3, 2019, at 5:54 AM, Rick Parker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
The Letters of TS Eliot Volume 8: 1936-1938, edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden – review
by Tim Adams
Sunday, 3 February 2019