T. S. Eliot: A Symposium from Conrad Aiken and Others

T. S. Eliot: A Symposium from Conrad Aiken and Others

T. S. Eliot: A Symposium from Conrad Aiken and Others

T. S. Eliot: A Symposium from Conrad Aiken and Others

Excerpt

This book was conceived as a tribute to T. S. Eliot, on his sixtieth birthday, from his friends, critics and admirers in many parts of the world. The idea for it first arose from a suggestion by Professor E. F. C. Ludowyk, the director of English studies in the University of Ceylon, who wrote to us in a letter: 'It is T. S. Eliot's sixtieth birthday on September the 26th. Are you going to do anything to celebrate the event?'

Accordingly, invitations to join in on a celebration proper to the occasion were sent out, especially to the younger writers, as well as to those of Mr Eliot's own generation. The response, with one or two exceptions, has exceeded all expectations. Our only regret is that there was not time enough for many others to decorate his cake, who were keen to do so. But though this book was meant as a birthday book, it is apparent that in scope and interest it has far outgrown its original function. The material ranges over a whole historical epoch, and casts many revealing sidelights on the literary scene as it has unfolded itself during more than thirty years.

It has been our aim to present a picture of T. S. Eliot, the man, in the particular setting in which he has been active as poet and man of letters, against a background of poems in homage, and critical essays on his work. Pure criticism has been kept down to a minimum, since this predominates among the vast mass of writing that has already appeared about Mr Eliot. It was felt that a more useful and unusual book would result, if we asked for reminiscences from those who were intimately associated with Mr Eliot at various times, and for personal statements describing the writers' first reaction to his poetry, or the manner in which they became acquainted with it or were influenced by it. And one important aspect of this book that has emerged, is the account it gives of the deepening of a sense of their native tradition, and of the relation of . . .

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