A Companion to T.S. Eliot

A Companion to T.S. Eliot

A Companion to T.S. Eliot

A Companion to T.S. Eliot

Synopsis

Reflecting the surge of critical interest in Eliot renewed in recent years, A Companion to T.S. Eliot introduces the 'new' Eliot to readers and educators by examining the full body of his works and career. Leading scholars in the field provide a fresh and fully comprehensive collection of contextual and critical essays on his life and achievement.
  • It compiles the most comprehensive and up-to-date treatment available of Eliot's work and career
  • It explores the powerful forces that shaped Eliot as a writer and thinker, analyzing his body of work and assessing his oeuvre in a variety of contexts: historical, cultural, social, and philosophical
  • It charts the surge in critical interest in T.S. Eliot since the early 1990s
  • It provides an illuminating insight into a poet, writer, and critic who continues to define the literary landscape of the last century

Excerpt

Critical work on T. S. Eliot has undergone a renaissance since the early 1990s, bringing new ideas and methods to bear on a much-studied writer whose depths, by then, were long supposed to have been plumbed. Key developments have included innovative work in the areas of sexuality and gender; new insight on Eliot’s relations with popular culture and mass media; more closely historicized readings of his political, social, religious, and philosophical views; a more sophisticated understanding of his role in the definition and dissemination of modernism; and rekindled debate over his prejudices. Meanwhile, The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry, a major addition to the canon of Eliot’s prose, appeared in 1993, providing important new material for literary scholars; and Inventions of the March Hare, a fascinating collection of early poems and drafts that had been lost in manuscript for decades, was finally published in 1996, further altering critical assessments of Eliot’s development, influences, and social views. Between then and now, Cats (for which Eliot had been posthumously awarded a Tony) ended its marathon run on Broadway; Eliot was named “Poet of the Century” in Time magazine; and journalism on some of the scholarly controversies kept Eliot in the public eye to an unusual degree.

A Companion to T. S. Eliot presents the “new” T. S. Eliot in a series of chapters covering, from a contemporary perspective, the full range of Eliot’s output and career. Part I of the Companion comprises eight chapters elucidating the forces that shaped Eliot as writer and thinker, with attention given to influences high and low; Eastern and Western; aesthetic, biographical, historical, philosophical, and scientific. Part ii guides the reader through Eliot’s entire oeuvre, analyzing richly every phase of his poetry, drama, and critical prose.

Part iii contextualizes Eliot in a variety of ways. By examining his work through the lenses of race, gender, sexuality, religion, and politics, several chapters shed light on the new developments in Eliot studies and the controversies surrounding Eliot in our own time. Two chapters consider facets of Eliot’s career–his work as a publisher and his founding and editing of the Criterion–that were adjunct to his writing, yet . . .

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