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Complete Poems and Plays Paperback – October 7, 2004
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The One True Eliot Collection was never published in the United States: "The Complete Poems and Plays of T. S. Eliot" (Faber and Faber, 1969 and later reprintings). It's worth looking on for a used copy since this book contains virtually all the published poems, all five plays, and even "Poems Published in Early Youth." In the meantime, U.S. readers are better off skipping the 1909-1950 volume. Get "Collected Poems 1909-1962" and buy the plays separately -- along with Old Possum's Book of You-Know-Whats, if you insist.
Eliot is without a doubt the finest poet of the 20th century, perhaps the finest poet ever. His contributions to the poets who came after him, and to literature in general, are persistently evident. Eliot doesn't always succeed, and many of his poems seem trite and pretentious, but when he succeeds he hits dead on with poetry perfect in form, balance, and sound. There is the man here, the poet as reflected in his own work, but there is also common human experience through looking at history ("The Waste Land") and meditating on Man's relationship with the Divine and the eternal (Ariel Poems, and most of his output after 1928).
HOWEVER, this edition of his "collected works," COMPLETE POEMS AND PLAYS: 1909-1950 lacks several last poems which can be found in COLLECTED POEMS 1909-1962. I recommend that edition, as tt is worth missing out on Eliot's plays in order to have a truly complete collection of his sublime verse.
While Eliot lived into the sixties, there is an inevitable temptation to concentrate on his earlier classic works such as The Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock, which yielded the above line, The Waste Land and The Hollow Men above all.
A lot of Eliot's perspectives involve psychological impotence, and a majestic failure to act, and be a part of events, of the World, the Life, if you like; such as in the lines "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing for me."
Here, he writes about isolation and alienation, with accompanying non-participation. The impotent voyeur, as in Joyce's Ulysses, based on the classical myth. Joyce's Sirens are Lydia and Mina, the 'sexy barmaids' at the Ormond Hotel. Bloom can hear their siren song from the next bar, as they lure the male clientele to part with their cash, but he is separate from events; reflecting cyborg-like on their music which he terms 'musemathematics'.
While The Waste Land and The Hollow Men in particular were clearly written during a time of deep spiritual crisis, Eliot did transcend this period and they are not really representative of his later life philosophy.
One stanza from T S Eliot's The Hollow Men, became the source of Nevil Shute's book title On The Beach - this being his 1957 post-apocalyptic novel which later appeared as the 1963 Gregory Peck movie of the same name, about the last doomed survivors of a nuclear holocaust.Read more ›
This book, the complete Eliot, is possibly the single most important book in modern English poetry. Reading Yeats and Eliot side by side, we cannot help but notice that Yeats, and perhaps Stevens with him, belonged to the Romantic tradition, however they masked themselves. But Eliot is different. His poetry represents something new, but at the same time something ancient, as ancient as the Greeks that he so admired. Eliot was a beginning, in the sense that Dante, his master, was a beginning. Like Freud's, Joyce's, Kafka's, and Picasso's, Eliot's voice is unique. But hardly any major poet alive today can escape it. The truth is, we talk like Eliot whenever we want to say something meaningul or "profound"; because his voice had dominated ours, just as his imagination had become part of ours.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
wonderful book. nice to have all his work. good print, highly legible.Published 5 days ago by Ebba K. King
Very hard reading and I will have to make sure I have some real quite time to get into it.Published 1 month ago by Enilorac4
I have mixed emotions overall. Some of his writings, to me, are just okay, while others are profound: laced with deep religious overtones, revealing that he was a man that saw the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kevin Saitta
Great collection, wonderfully put together - a must have for any fan of T.S. Eliot for their library shelves!Published 1 month ago by Travis Williams
Glad I got it. The only thing wrong with it is that the cover is different then pictured. I really like the pictured cover. Sad.Published 6 months ago by Cody
I was looking for his earlier poems. Though this book says "complete," I was not able to find it. I was very disappointed.Published 8 months ago by MYoda