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The Complete Poems and Plays: 1909-1950 Hardcover – 1971

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Eliot's poetry ranges from the massively magisterial ( The Waste Land), to the playfully pleasant ( Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats). This volume of Eliot's poetry and plays offers the complete text of these and most all of Eliot's poetry, including the full text of Four Quartets. Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Eliot exerted a profound influence on his contemporaries in the arts generally and this collection makes his genius clear.

About the Author

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1888. He moved to England in 1914 and published his first book of poems in 1917. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Eliot died in 1965.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015121185X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151211852
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in 1888 in St. Louis, Missouri, and became a British subject in 1927. The acclaimed poet of The Waste Land, Four Quartets, and Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, among numerous other poems, prose, and works of drama, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. T.S. Eliot died in 1965 in London, England, and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

191 of 196 people found the following review helpful By Carl Tait on January 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
T. S. Eliot was arguably the greatest poet of the 20th century, but this collection is far from ideal. Alert readers will have already noticed the ominous qualifier "1909-1950" in the title; this book does *not* include the last two plays ("The Confidential Clerk" and "The Elder Statesman"), the last Ariel poem ("The Cultivation of Christmas Trees"), or the handful of Occasional Verses included in "Collected Poems 1909-1962." In addition, the typography in this volume is claustrophobic in the early poems. TSE's style is concentrated and intense, and virtually every collection of his work has the sense to begin each poem on a new page. This book, unfortunately, is the exception: it crams the poems together like classified ads.
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.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I became familiar with Eliot's work chronologically, learning something new at each step. "Prufrock" introduced me to modern poetical structure, "The Waste Land" showed me how literary allusion can enrich verse, "Ash-Wednesday" refreshed the world of religious poetry, and the supernal "Four Quartets" was for me a metaphysical insight of the greatest beauty.
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.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Matt Fellows on February 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
A wonderful volume for those interested in T.S. Eliot. Be warned! Does not contain any annotations (other than Eliot's) or introductions. You get the texts and thats it. This is a wonderful investment, but just make sure you buy a Companion or a Study on Eliot to go along with it. Unless of course you have studied T.S. Eliot before and know what your doing.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steven Cain on May 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
An excellent collection of the vast majority of his published works.
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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 1, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Even in his lifetime Eliot became a legend, a literary figure so universally praised, so enormously influential, that some of his best works, in spite of their popularity, and perhaps because of it, have been buried by the overly abusive and vulgar public. So for the several decades after his death, his dominant spirit was--had to be--combated by those who wish to break new ground. It is true that now we can see beyond Eliot, but we hardly realize that we still must begin with him, as he himself had begun the modernist tradition nearly a century ago.
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.
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