The Letters of T. S. Eliot: Volume 4: 1928-1929

Overview

T. S. Eliot writes the letters contained in this volume during a period of weighty responsibilities as husband and increasing demands as editor and publisher. He cultivates the support of prominent guarantors to secure the future of his periodical, The Monthly Criterion, even as he loyally looks after his wife, Vivien, now home after months in a French psychiatric hospital.

Eliot corresponds with writers throughout Great Britain, Europe, and the United States while also forging ...

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The Letters of T. S. Eliot: Volume 4: 1928-1929

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Overview

T. S. Eliot writes the letters contained in this volume during a period of weighty responsibilities as husband and increasing demands as editor and publisher. He cultivates the support of prominent guarantors to secure the future of his periodical, The Monthly Criterion, even as he loyally looks after his wife, Vivien, now home after months in a French psychiatric hospital.

Eliot corresponds with writers throughout Great Britain, Europe, and the United States while also forging links with the foremost reviews in London, Berlin, Paris, Madrid, and Milan. He generously promotes many other writers, among them Louis Zukofsky and Edward Dahlberg, and manages to complete a variety of writings himself, including the much-loved poem A Song for Simeon, a brilliant introduction to Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, and many more.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Like the preceding three books in the "Letters of T.S. Eliot" series, volume four contains the letters of poet and critic T.S. Eliot (1888–1965), meticulously annotated by his second wife Valerie Eliot (1926–2012) and editor Haffenden (emeritus, English, Univ. of Sheffield; The Letters of T.S. Eliot). It covers the period when Faber & Gwyer, the publishing company for which Eliot was a director, emerged from reorganization as Faber & Faber. The Monthly Criterion, a literary magazine founded by Eliot, who served as its editor from1922–39, went from a monthly to a quarterly publication as the result of financial difficulties. Eliot's first wife, Vivien, continued to suffer from mental health issues, a cause of strain on their marriage from the start. Received into the Church of England as an Anglo-Catholic, Eliot turned to his faith for consolation and sustenance. Mostly addressed to business associates, Eliot's correspondence also includes friends, family, and literary figures Ezra Pound, Conrad Aiken, W.H. Auden, James Joyce, and Leonard and Virginia Woolf. Letters composed by publishing house chair Geoffrey Faber and Vivien Eliot are also included.

Verdict An important resource for Eliot scholars, this volume will appeal to readers interested in Eliot’s life in business, balancing the duties of publisher, editor, husband, and poet.—Denise J. Stankovics, formerly with Rockville P.L., CT
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300187243
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 7/16/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 864
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Valerie Eliot (1926-2012), née Esmé Valerie Fletcher, was the second wife of T. S. Eliot. As his widow she co-edited three previous volumes of his letters and sponsored the annual T. S. Eliot Prize. John Haffenden is emeritus professor of English literature at the University of Sheffield and senior research fellow of the Institute of English Studies, University of London. He was general editor of volumes 1,2, and 3 of The Letters of T. S. Eliot.

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Read an Excerpt

THE LETTERS OF T. S. Eliot


By Valerie Eliot, JOHN HAFFENDEN

Yale UNIVERSITY PRESS

Copyright © 2013 Valerie Eliot
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-300-18724-3


CHAPTER 1

1928


TO Frank Morley CC

2 January 1928 [The Monthly Criterion]

Dear Morley,

I find that the sum needed immediately for payments to contributors is £42.3.0. I have spoken to Faber about the matter and he agrees that the best way is for you to send a cheque to him made out to Faber & Gwyer Limited. In this way no entries will appear in The Criterion books and the cheques will be sent by Faber & Gwyer as usual.

I also think it is better only to send this amount so that Faber & Gwyer should only have exactly what is needed for immediate disbursement.

I have not had any reply from either Whibley or Richmond. If I do not hear from Whibley by tomorrow morning I shall assume either that he is away or that the post in his part of the country has been very much delayed, and I will send him a wire asking him to wire me at Oliver's address.

Yours, [T. S. Eliot]


TO John Gould Fletcher CC

2 January 19286 [London]

My dear Fletcher,

I am returning herewith your cheque made out to The Monthly Criterion and will ask you whether you will be so kind as to cancel this cheque and make out a new one to the order of F. V. Morley. The reason is that for the present we think it much safer that no moneys pass through the Criterion account and consequently that no cheques be endorsed on behalf of the Criterion. The arrangement is that Morley will collect the money and will then make out a cheque to Faber & Gwyer Limited who will pay contributors, etcetera out of it. In view of the attitude taken up by Lady Rothermere, we think it is best to adopt every precaution.

You might, if you will, send the new cheque to F. V. Morley, c/o The Century Company, 10 Essex Street, W.C.2.

You need not be so punctilious as you are about returning books so quickly. Many thanks, however, for the Stained Glass which reached me this morning. I have one or two new French books which may interest you.

I hope you can turn up for lunch on Thursday. We had a very small party last week.

With very many thanks, Yours always, [T. S. Eliot]

Cheque enclosed T. S. E.


TO Richard Aldington CC

3 January 1928 [The New Criterion]

My dear Richard,

I am writing in haste in connection with a letter just received from Fred Manning who is in Rome. He tells me, under date of December 31st, that Alec Randall has been extremely ill with typhoid and is not likely to live. Apparently he has been unconscious most of the time. He has a specialist named Bastianelli whose name I think I have heard before. When Manning wrote, they did not seem to have entirely given up hope, but all the chances were against him.

I am giving you all this information because Manning says that Mrs Randall sent him a letter which she had written to you and asked him to address it to you. Manning is not sure that it reached you because he addressed it to 'Padhurst'. I hope to see you on Thursday at lunch. I have never met Mrs Randall but when the question is decided one way or the other [I] will certainly write to her.

Yours ever, [Tom]


TO Frederic Manning CC

3 January 19282 [The New Criterion]

Dear Manning,

I have your letter with the enclosure for Mrs Randall to yourself and am horrified to hear this news. I have written to Aldington as you suggested, and will certainly tell Read as soon as he returns to London next week.

I should be very grateful if you would let me know immediately the question of Randall's life is decided.

Yours ever, [T. S. Eliot]


TO Godfrey Childe CC

9 January 1928 [London]

Dear Childe,

You are by no means a nuisance in sending me your brother's poems, and if there were anything to be done about it I should be very glad indeed. But I know that the series for next year has already been fully arranged by Richard de la Mare who has the matter in his hands. I will mention it to de la Mare in case the series survives its second year.

And as the prospects of the Criterion are at present so vague, I think that it is safest to let you have the poems back. Please tell your brother that I hope he will send me something later on when we know where we are.

Yours sincerely, [T. S. Eliot]


TO A. L. Rowse TS Exeter

11 January 1928 The Monthly Criterion

Dear Rowse,

May we not now drop the Mr? I am very sorry indeed that it is too late to publish your letter in the February Criterion. It always surprises people to know how early we have to go to press, and, in fact, the February number is entirely in page. But I should like very much indeed to print your letter and I hope you will not consider it absolutely essential for it to come out in February. As a matter of fact, it is almost impossible to make any such correspondence quite consecutive except by a method which I regret having overlooked: that is to say, I wish I had sent you a proof copy of Fletcher's letter as soon as it was ready. For this oversight please accept my apologies.

I should like very much to see you again and incidentally to hear your opinions on Massis and Gide. Your invitation is one I should like to accept; but if I can get to Oxford at all during this term, I have tentative engagements at Worcester and University which I should have to fulfil.

With many thanks, Yours sincerely, T. S. Eliot


TO Ramon Fernandez CC

11 January 1928 [The Monthly Criterion]

My dear Fernandez,

I am glad to hear from you after such a long time. It seems that you have been very busy indeed, and so, in fact, have I. During December the Criterion was on the point of being stopped altogether as Lady Rothermere suddenly decided that she wished to withdraw her capital from the enterprise. We now, however, have some hope of replacing this from other sources and meanwhile have brought out a January number and expect to produce a February number. In the circumstances, therefore, I have to be cautious, to explain the somewhat precarious situation to the people whom I desire to contribute to future numbers. I should be very glad indeed to have either the 'George Eliot' or the essay on Comedy; whichever you send will certainly appear in one of the spring numbers if the Criterion survives this crisis.

I am relieved to hear that you are satisfied with my translation. I was not satisfied myself and hesitate a good deal over the English equivalents for the abstract words. I thought that I would let you know that I was very much pleased with your translation of my 'Mallarmé' and apologise for not having done so.

What has happened to the book on Personality which we are all eagerly waiting for in London?

I have to come to Paris occasionally for a few days at a time, and if you are settled again I will telephone to you in the hope that you can come and lunch with me in Paris.

With all best wishes for your wife and your daughter.

Yours ever sincerely [T. S. Eliot]


TO Antonio Marichalar TS Real Academia de la Historia

11 January 1928 The Monthly Criterion

Cherami,

Merci bien de votre aimable lettre et aussi du numéro de 900 que vous m'avez envoyé pour le jour de l'an. Aujourd'hui Trend est venu déjeuner chez moi et nous avons beaucoup parlé de vous.

Je dois vous dire que l'avenir du Criterion est toujours assez précaire. Nous avons lancé le numéro de janvier et nous avons à peu près assuré l'apparition du numéro de février. Au delà de février nous n'y pouvons pas encore voir clair. Tout de même nous espérons obtenir un capital suffisant pour fonder la revue sur des bases plus solides. La crise a été causée par la decision de Lady Rothermere de retirer les fonds qu'elle avait mis à notre disposition.

Donc, si nos projêts viennent à bout, j'aurai grand besoin d'une chronique de vous pour le numéro d'avril. Tous les sujets que vous proposez m'intéressent vivement, mais je tiens surtout à avoir de vous un article sur Goya. Je vous donnerai de nos nouvelles dans deux ou trois semaines.

Merci bien de votre sympathie qui m'a beaucoup encouragé, et croyez moi toujours votre dévoué.

T. S. Eliot

TO Ezra Pound TS Beinecke

11 January 1928 Faber & Gwyer Ltd

Dear Ezra,

I can now take up the interrupted correspondence. I have discussed carefully the question of a complete text reproduction of Guido [Cavalcanti] with the business people here and others and they consider that the cost would be prohibitive. It would make the initial outlay about double: that is to say from close on to a thousand pounds; and they don't quite see their way. What they would be very keen to have, however, would be a complete variorum edition and they would like to know what you have to say about that. Also, as my own idea, I should like to enquire if there is any portrait of Guido which could be reproduced to make a frontispiece, or alternatively, for the same purpose, some selected piece of manuscript genuinely in his own handwriting.

Yrs. ever T.


TO Charles Whibley CC

11 January 1928 [London]

My dear Whibley,

It will seem very rude of me not to have written immediately to thank you for your letter and wire and for your letter to Oliver. It is simply that I have been very busy for the last fortnight and also rather under the weather. I am very grateful to you indeed, although I fear that nothing will come of it. I had a very pleasant letter from Oliver and am going to lunch with him on Friday. He says, however, that he does not believe he is in a position to be of much use. I will let you know if anything else turns up.

In haste, Yours ever affectionately, [T. S. E.]


TO W. H. Hindle CC

12 January 1928 [The Monthly Criterion]

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter of the 11th instant. I am returning herewith your cuttings which interested me. I should like to consider the possibility of having regular, or irregular, film notices in The Criterion and will certainly keep your name in mind. But at the present moment I am afraid it is out of the question as it is extremely difficult to keep each number within our present limitation of ninety-six pages, so that as things are we already have to omit a great deal of matter that we should like to include.

Yours very truly, [T. S. Eliot]


TO Herbert Read TS Victoria

14 January 1928 The Monthly Criterion

Dear Herbert,

I felt pretty sure that you would have to go to bed again. Still, I am sorry that you cannot come on Monday, as I shall probably be going to Paris on Tuesday for the rest of the week. I hope you will be able to come on the following Monday.

Thank you for criticising the Worringer review. I don't think I can conscientiously reject the review without reading the book, which I have wanted to do in any case; and when I have read it I will write to Smith. But it hardly looks as if the review would be printed. I lunched yesterday with Oliver, who is a most delightful person. He said that he would subsidise a March number, if we brought out February; and that he would contribute £100 a year for two or three years. Bennett, whom Humbert and I saw in the afternoon, proved less helpful; and as he would contribute nothing himself and would not touch Beaverbrook for anything, we drew blank. The only suggestion they had between them was that Gollancz would probably be willing to take it over; but I could Not ask Faber to do that. It is unlucky that Richmond is away, as he had two or three other people in mind whom he was willing to try after Oliver. We will bring out February, but if nothing turns up I propose to stop March, and ask Oliver to relieve some of the February expenses. I tell you all this now (when, being in bed, you shouldn't worry about anything) because I shan't see Morley until week after next, unless he is back on Monday. I never had much hope about it anyway; and I do not feel sure that anybody except Morley takes enough interest to justify the trouble.

My aims have been 'contingent' merely because I did not have the money to run a paper for myself, and because I felt considerable obligation to the people who were running it, and who became less enthusiastic as it cost more and more. I do not blame them for that in the least. I should have preferred to continue to do a quarterly at less cost, than a monthly which would have to pay for itself or sink. As for my aims being indefinite, they are rather so definite that I have deliberately tried to keep them in the background; or rather to make them indefinite enough to be shared with a number of persons; to find the least common denominator for the smallest workable number. I haven't liked to expound my own views except so far as I felt they were shared by others. I should probably feel freer merely as a contributor to other people's journals. But I could only work with Lewis to a very limited extent, as the things he wants (if I have any notion of what he does want) are probably quite different from mine.

ever yours T. S. E.


TO Marguerite Caetani TS Caetani

14 January 1928 The Criterion

Dear Marguerite,

Thank you very much for your note enclosed in one to Vivien. It was very very kind of you to send the flowers, which arrived just at the right moment, and gave a vast deal of pleasure; and the cheque, part of which she spent on toys for the village children.

There is much that would be very difficult to explain without seeing you. It is all very difficult. I should have written before but for The Criterion crisis. There is no need to go into details about squabbles, but Lady R[othermere]. was so outspoken in her dislike and disagreement with the review, and her resentments against me, that I was very glad to have her withdraw her money from it. That means, however, that we cannot carry it on unless she is replaced by others; which does not seem likely. But I have had to waste a good deal of time interviewing financiers etc., meanwhile it has been paid for for January, and partly for February, by a small number of contributors; probably we shall have to wind it up in February.

ever yours affectionately (in haste) Tom.


TO Marguerite Caetani TS Caetani

16 January 1928 57 Chester Terrace

Dear Marguerite,

Thank you very much for your kind letter. I quite understand your embarrassment. It is very difficult to say whether you could do anything, being so far away. I am disturbed to hear that perhaps the Malmaison is not up to date. All the more because I doubt whether Vivien would accept being moved anywhere else; what she wants is to come home; and for that, alas, she is not fit. I do not know what she has written to you; and I do not want to interfere with her writing as she wishes to anyone; but I cannot help saying that her reports are often anything but exact, though I am quite sure that she believes them. You are quite right in saying that she has confidence in you (though she has every suspicion of all of my immediate family and of our friends). Is there any likelihood of your being in Paris before long? I don't want to drag you into this affair, but on the other hand I have not the slightest desire to keep you out of it! Please believe that you have my confidence also, and that I would willingly tell you anything that I would tell anybody.

I am just leaving for Paris: Cecil Hotel, 30 rue St Didier XVI but hope to return to London on Saturday next. Ever affectionately and gratefully,

Tom


TO William McC. Stewart CC

16 January 1928 [The Monthly Criterion]

Dear Mr Stewart,

I am just leaving London for five days and am writing in haste. I was very sorry not to see you but have been extremely busy for the last six weeks. I have not had the chance of comparing your translation with the original, but it seems to me indeed excellent. Will you not show Cape your Introduction also, with the possibility of his putting that into the same volume. You are certainly at liberty to tell Cape I thought the Introduction admirable and would myself have accepted it for the Criterion but for two reasons. First that it was rather too long for our purposes, and second that it is primarily an Introduction to the work which would be much more suitable prefixed to a translation than in any other form. I don't think I can give you any other hints. But if some arrangement could be made by which the other dialogue translated by Madame Bussy could be included to make one volume, I think that would be a good thing.

A translation of Variété has, I see, come out in America. I do not know who did it or whether it is any good; and I do not know whether any other publisher has taken that translation for this country. If not, Cape might care to make a corner in Valéry and take everything. I wish I could be more helpful, but I do not know Cape personally.

Yours sincerely [T. S. Eliot] P.S. MS sent to Cape today.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from THE LETTERS OF T. S. Eliot by Valerie Eliot, JOHN HAFFENDEN. Copyright © 2013 Valerie Eliot. Excerpted by permission of Yale UNIVERSITY PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations,....................     vii     

Acknowledgements,....................     ix     

Preface,....................     xiii     

Biographical Commentary, 1928–1929,....................     xvii     

Abbreviations and Sources,....................     xxvii     

Chronology of The Criterion,....................     xxxiii     

Editorial Notes,....................     xxxv     

THE LETTERS....................          

Biographical Register,....................     747     

Index of Correspondents and Recipients,....................     792     

General Index,....................     797     


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