There’s a rather fine 3-volume edition of Coleridge’s extraordinary anthology of essays, Biographia Literaria; not surprisingly I could only find vols 1 and 2 for this picture (in which I’ve included the fine anthology of English Prose published in the now sadly defunct Pelican imprint – though I believe it’s about to be revived.)
Two volumes of literary essays now sit together: Edmund Wilson’s and the one that inspired one of my earliest blog posts, T.S. Eliot’s . I like the symmetry of their austere covers. All of these books still have the old library shelf-mark taped to their spines.
I still haven’t read the Penguin MC edition of e.e. cummings, , or Edward Upward’s . An anti-fascist in the thirties and member of the Isherwood, Auden and Spender set, he’s now largely derided or forgotten. Must get round to reading this book. I like the surrealist cover.
Life is a couple of working women in a flat that is more or less a brothel, conspiring to cheat their landlord and telling fortunes with cards while they wait for American clients. In the second part, Sweeney has joined them; in an earlier poem he had shaved heedlessly while the woman he had just had sex with has a fit and now the language he uses to flirt talks of cannibalism and murder. The women grow anxious because of the cards – "I drew the coffin" – and Sweeney talks of how "Any man has to, needs to, wants to / once in a lifetime do a girl in" and how one of his friends killed a woman and kept her in a bath of disinfectant, periodically calling on Sweeney for a drink.
Selected Essays, 1917-1932 - Wikipedia
Eliot was much obsessed with violent death – he and Vivienne went to a fancy-dress party as Crippen and his cross-dressed sailor-suited mistress, and Eliot dressed as Crippen for one he attended by himself. If Sweeney Agonistes is as important a hinge in his development as it seems to me to be – with its sense of modern life as a cannibal isle where all that is true is "birth, and copulation, and death" and sex ends in murder and madness – "a woman runs a terrible risk" – then something perhaps had to change.
Selected Essays | Faber & Faber
S Eliot's conversion to high Anglican Christianity came as a colossal shock to Bloomsbury – his friends saw themselves as a conspiracy of the enlightened against stodgy leftovers of the world that had created the war, and here was one of their best and brightest telling them that they were wrong. Really they should not have been surprised. The pages of his magazine, the Criterion, were full of bile towards their world of adultery and smart parties – and he published it even though when socially convenient he was able to blame Vivienne for writing it. The best of his own work of the time between and the first poems of conversion is full of anger and contempt. The Waste Land and the quatrain poems in which Sweeney first appears works of bright idealistic optimism compared to Sweeney Agonistes and The Hollow Men.
Selected Essays of T. S. Eliot, 1917-1932 Essay
The Hollow Men is, after all, headed A penny for the Old Guy, which is to say it offers something up to be burned, something wrong and damnable and a threat to proper order. It uses as its epigraph "Mistah Kurtz – he dead" from Conrad's Heart of Darkness – Eliot had earlier contemplated another quotation from that work "the horror, the horror" as epigraph for The Waste Land until Pound talked him out of it. Since there is no evidence in either case that Eliot was especially concerned about Conrad's excoriation of Belgian colonial policy, it seems more likely that what drew Eliot to the novella was a desire to pick up on Conrad's sense of London, and modernity, as "one of the dark places of the earth". The idealistic dead – his father, Verdenal – are gone from us; what is left are scarecrows, stuffed shapes, presiding over fields no longer capable of fertility; the world is ending "not with a bang but a whimper".
Eliot, T. S. 1921. The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and CriticismHardback: a Chatto and Windus copy of William Faulkner’s , from the 1970 Collected Edition. Had I known I possessed this I wouldn’t have used the tatty paperback Penguin for my blog piece on this superb novel a few months ago.
SELECTED ESSAYS OF T.S. ELIOT by T.S. Eilot | Kirkus ReviewsThe fragment Sweeney Agonistes is described as Aristophanic, that is to say quite specifically as satire of contemporary relevance; one of the reasons why Eliot left it as a fragment is that it says what it needs to. Inasmuch as it echoes classical Greek satirical drama, it is a fragment because it is a living remnant of a dead culture and should not be whole. In The Hollow Men, language is dead and empty "quiet and meaningless / as wind in dry grass / or rat's feet"; here Sweeney tells the others that he cannot talk accurately of what is important – "well here again that don't apply / but I gotta use words when I talk to you".
T.S. EliotEliot, T. Articles published in Studies in Literature and Language! T S Eliot The Waste Land?
Shop for Selected Essays by T! Eliot, Selected Essays,? Lected essays. 1932). Iot, T. Selected Essays, 1917 1932 (Harcourt, 1950). Ndon: Faber and Faber Limited. Iot, T? Iot, T. KB Eliot, T. Selected Essays, ed. Liot including information and reviews. Faber and Faber, London 1976 6.
Anastasia Marou 1990 T. KB.. Ssays Selected Essays. Poetry and Drama (Faber.