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Selected Prose of T.S. Eliot

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0156806541
ISBN-10: 0156806541
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Editorial Reviews

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

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest Books (November 10, 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156806541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156806541
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By frumiousb VINE VOICE on October 3, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent selection of essays by Eliot. He is at his best in many of these-- ascerbic, crisp and correct. I am constantly amazed by the number of people who have opinions about the ideas and theories of Eliot, but who have never read his essays themselves. I suggest that before taking umbrage at what he is supposed to have said, a student of the modernists should at least read a bit of what he did say.

This selection is broken into two categories: Literary Criticism and Social and Religious Criticism. Essays such as "Tradition and the Individual Talent" and "What is a Classic?" (compare and contrast with G. Stein in "What are Masterpieces?") are particularly worth the time to read.

I wish that Kermode had included more of the social and religious essays and that he had not excerpted as heavily as he did throughout the book. I would personally rather read a longer book consisting of complete essays than having such a high percentage of the selection consisting of excerpts. Of the meagre three essays in the social and religious section, two were excerpted rather than being published in their entirety. Too bad.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a useful compendium of essays that are usually scattered or incompletely represented in anthologies. It's an excellent supplement for a course on Eliot's work or to learn more about his critical perspectives and how they shifted over time. Very worthwhile.
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Format: Paperback
Eliot's reputation has taken a beating in the last 20 years. He has been charged with anti-semitism, racism, elitism, and even misogyny. All of these charges are basically true. Nevertheless, as a critic his judgements are sound and dead-on. Read either "Traditon and the individual Talent" or "Dante" from this book and tell me if you think I am wrong. The book is worth the price for these two essays alone.
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A good selection of prose from T. S. Eliot. After years of reading, I still find his prose more effective and more useful than his poetry. (I know -- sheer heresy.) Eliot places great emphasis on The Tradition and on an impersonal approach to art, an emphasis which aspiring writers of today would be wise to heed. Like Matthew Arnold, Eliot's criticism is dogmatic, and right. The reader's only wish is that this collection included more.
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Format: Paperback
I've recently taken a personal interest in T.S. Eliot. When I went to talk to one of my professors, an Eliot scholar, about Eliot's poems, he gave me a copy of The Selected Prose. I will admit that I was a little worried about reading prose written by a well-known poet, but luckily Eliot's prose writing is as virtuosic as his poetry. His essays are both easily enjoyable and incredibly beautiful, and I found myself noting passages for both their insight and the quality of the prose. This collection is helpfully split up into three types of essay, essays in generalization, appreciations of individual authors, and social and religious criticism, which are categories that Eliot described when looking back on his writing. This makes it easy to read the kind of essay you feel like reading at the moment while skipping things you might not be interested in, and makes the essays flow together nicely.

I found the essays in generalization to be the most interesting, as they dealt with criticism, theory, aesthetics, poetics, and the use of poetry and criticism. His essay on "Verse Libre" was a short but thorough look at the misconceptions surrounding supposedly "free verse" poetry, and what makes poems without a strict meter or rhyme scheme good. Easy to read, and with lovely quotable passages like "Freedom is only truly freedom when it appears against the background of an artificial limitation," this essay should be assigned reading for poetry students everywhere. His essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent" should likewise be required reading. In this essay, Eliot argues that modern writers can only be evaluated in light of their relation to the past, and that classics are made by how they fit into and change our perception of the course of tradition.
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By Ben on November 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Simply the best essayist I have ever read. Even if you disagree with his critical and/or cultural theory, you will be drawn in by his prose and inspired to re-evaluate how you read, think, and write. Obviously "Tradition and the Individual Talent" is a necessary read for any student of Twentieth Century poetic theory. His appreciations and assessments of other writers and poets are where he truly shines, however. At the very least you will be permanently impressed by his technical skill as an essayist.
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