February: “What is the wind doing?”

There are several interesting additions to our site this month, and heading the News page is the forthcoming publication of Volume 6 of Eliot’s Letters, covering 1932-33. It contains previously unpublished correspondence relating to Vivien Eliot’s mental illness, and, according to a preview, “challenges the view that [Eliot] was cold towards his wife Vivien as she suffered mental illness.” Links to reviews will be added as they appear.

Two intriguing articles have been published in the US.  In a fascinating article from the New York Review of Books, Edward Mendelson combines insights from both Young Eliot and The Poems. He argues that, “At the heart of [Eliot’s] thought and feeling was an unspoken conviction that he, like the society in which he lived, had failed to become what he ought to be, something cohesive and whole – that with all his authority and fame, he lacked a unified personal self.”

And in an essay from the New Yorker, Paul Grimstad draws upon the Complete Prose, and looks unusually at Eliot’s enthusiasm for detective novels. He concludes that “to Eliot, who in The Waste Land wrote of the fractured modern world as a ‘heap of broken images,’ it seems possible that Golden Age detective stories offered above all a pleasing orderliness.”

Meanwhile our own Christopher Ricks has been interviewed at length, in a late-night radio broadcast many of you may have missed, about The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock. The fascinating fifty-minute conversation ranges widely around the poem and other matters Eliotic. Links to all of these items are on our News page.

Also in News is some rare and extraordinary footage, released by the BFI, of Eliot himself, filmed recording Section IV of Little Gidding for the BBC. Do watch this brief clip, to see Eliot himself reading his work.

In Events, you can find details of the TS Eliot Memorial Reading, held in April under the auspices of the Royal Society for Literature. Booking has now opened, and there are tickets available for the general public.

There are also some still images of Eliot which have surfaced online, including an extraordinary portrait by Cecil Beaton, lit so that Eliot’s spectacles become as opaque as the poet himself is to many. There’s also a photograph by John Loengard; and an image by the famous literary illustrator David Levine. All are under Images of TS Eliot.

Finally, the Members Area, along with another request for assistance, contains an item of curiosity – a picture of Eliot which he sent as an inscribed card to Maurice Haigh-Wood. Do keep an eye on the Members Area in the coming days, as we are about to post information about a forthcoming members’ event in London in the Spring, for which early application will be advised!

Fare forward!

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