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Publishers WeeklyCovering a shorter period than Volume One, this second installment spans two years of "crisis and consolidation, of severe domestic collapse and hard-won professional recovery." No longer a striving poet and burgeoning critic, a more mature Eliot undertakes greater responsibilities as editor, publisher, and arbiter. His talents now in great cultural demand, fleeting business communications provide a less linear narrative, but read as a who's who of literature, with Eliot welcoming contributions from Aldous Huxley, E.M. Forster, and D.H. Lawrence after founding The Criterion. This disjointedness, however, stems from an increasingly erratic life where hardship-financial, physical, and emotional-remains a prevalent theme, filtering into even the most formal of exchanges. Following a lengthy diatribe on the publishing industry in a letter to New York lawyer John Quinn, some desperate words are later added in ink: "I am worn out, I cannot go on." Eliot's letters poignantly detail triumph, tragedy, and hard-earned mutual respect-encapsulated in the penultimate letter revealing his elation at receiving a copy of The Great Gatsby, "the first step that American fiction had taken since Henry James." The copy arrived inscribed: "For T.S. Eliot/Greatest of Living Poets/from his enthusiastic/worshipper/F. Scott Fitzgerald."
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