By Russell Elliott Murphy
This quantity is part of evidence On File’s burgeoning severe better half sequence. Eliot has been probably the most enigmatic yet enduring modernists because the book of the affection track of J. Alfred Prufrock in 1915. regardless of his fairly spare overall output of labor, he continues to be well known between scholars and students. recognized customarily as a poet of such lasting works as “The Waste Land” and 4 Quartets, in addition to “Prufrock,” he was once additionally a famous playwright (Murder within the Cathedral) and critic, publishing a few well-received and influential collections of literary essays. it is very important word that this quantity isn't really classified as an encyclopedia, for it doesn't easily include an alphabetical record of short entries. quite, it's divided into 4 surprisingly built components. the 1st is a biography of approximately 30 pages protecting Eliot’s upbringing, impacts, spiritual conversion, and marriages. the guts of the paintings and by way of a ways its longest half is the second one part, prepared A–Z and containing precise analyses of and observation on his works. half three specializes in figures, works, and destinations that had an enduring effect on Eliot. The final part includes a chronology and bibliography of assets via and approximately Eliot. The analyses within the moment half are fairly broad (entries on “The Waste Land” and 4 Quartets are 60 and forty four pages, respectively) but cogently written and simple to stick to. Many contain details at the ebook heritage of the paintings and suggestions in realizing Eliot’s large use of allusions. half three obviously enhances this part by means of supplying extra clarification of the impacts on those works. Examples of themes right here comprise Catholicism, Dante Alighieri, Harvard, and Vers libre (free verse). total, this is often an exceptional and exhaustive source and an excellent purchase for many libraries. it can simply as safely be positioned with the literary feedback as within the reference assortment. --Michael Tosko
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Additional resources for Critical Companion to T. S. Eliot: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work
By the end of that year, however, he collapsed as a result of a particularly noxious episode of London’s famous “smog,” and he was hospitalized under continuous oxygen for the next five weeks. It was a setback from which the 74year-old poet never fully recovered. Much of 1963 found Eliot in and out of hospitals as his lungs and heart continued to deteriorate so that by September of that year, when the American poet Allen Tate visited him in London, Tate later reported that Eliot was so weakened with illness that he was barely able to get around even with the help of two canes, and he could not find the strength to wave goodbye to Tate.
A new production of The Family Reunion, which had experienced a disappointing five-week run when it first premiered in London in 1939, was successfully mounted at the Mercury Theatre in October 1946. Both that play and Murder in the Cathedral were selected for performances for the inaugural season of the Edinburgh Festival in 1947. Eliot was encouraged by these successes to begin to think in terms of another project for the stage, and by July 1948 he sent a draft of the first three acts of this new play, which he originally titled “One-Eyed Reilly,” to Martin Browne.
This is why, once Eliot is past the execrable racist and bigoted overtones of his first few pages, which are meant mainly for the consumption of his largely Southern, white audience, he gets down to business by mixing his metaphors among the religious, the literary, and the political. Specifically, Eliot sets the reader up with one set of anticipations both by the quasi-religious implications of the book’s title (especially his subtitle, “A Primer on Modern Heresy”) and by his emphasizing, early on, the importance of a common religious background in fostering a people’s tradition.