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Letters Of T.S. Eliot: Vol. 1, 1898-1922 (Letters of T. S. Eliot, 1898-1922) Paperback – September 24, 1990


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This controversial volume of letters covers the period from Eliot's childhood in St. Louis, Mo., until the end of 1922, when he had settled permanently in England, married and published "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "The Waste Land." Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Letters of T. S. Eliot, 1898-1922 (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (September 24, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156508508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156508506
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,893,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Al Kihano on December 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
No biography of Eliot could better capture the thoughts and personality of the young poet than these letters. Eliot had a lively correspondence with so many, including family, friends, editors, and partners in verse. Even the short letters -- like the ones in which Eliot simply announces to his correspondent that he's exhausted and doesn't want to write anything -- give a glimpse of how Old Possum acted.
Eliot's poetry is so cerebral and allusive that when reading it, one can feel at his mercy. In his letters he is far less in control, and the contrast is fascinating.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By withheld on January 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This edition [ISBN-10: 0151508852] lacks letters which are contained in ISBN-10: 0300176457.

Few of the letters over first 30 pages are by TS, and the majority are in French [with translations]. Then the 'actual/mature' letters begin around 1912 after he has graduated from Harvard. There are a dozen unpublished poems- some good- including one as a teenager- others not- and a 'screenplay' written over a continuing correspondence which is really tongue in cheek. Like most intelligent people TS can be quite funny, and as well quite self contradicting, and although generous, rather self absorbed- it is somewhat shocking how little the war affects him, or even his best friend's newborn's death. These letters are much more interesting than I expected.

I learned that TS was admitted to Harvard at 16- he seems to have been quite proficient in studying language before that time, excelling in Latin, Greek, French, and somewhat in German- which he put off a year, but eventually studied under Santayana, Josiah Royce, and visiting professor Bertrand Russell before going to the Sorbonne and studying under Bergson, and then Oxford under Collingwood and GE Moore, among others. He was acquainted with Okakura who introduced him to Matisse, was best friends with Conrad Aiken, and practically forced into poetry by Ezra Pound whom he shockingly writes to his father he does not very much care for and wishes to maintain a strictly professional relationship with. In fact, without WWI, when he had literally just begun teaching in Marburg, Germany, he'd never have met Ezra or his wife- he writes that he was still a virgin at 26 and had a shotgun wedding ostensibly out of lust- thus producing The Wasteland.
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