Warbler Press announces the publication of To Murder and Create: A Novel Inspired by T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock“
by Ardythe Ashley. The Press’s mailing informs us that “To Murder and Create is an extraordinarily inventive and engaging historical novel structured around T. S. Eliot’s paradigm-bending modernist poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Set in 1915 in Boston, an array of eccentric and eminently charming tenants inhabit a boardinghouse sternly governed by a rule-bound yet likable landlady. They include the retired sea captain with a secret, the intellectually gifted and ambitious cook, the spinster who has all but given up on love, two carpetbaggers who could have sprung from the pages of Mark Twain, the “confirmed bachelor” who stumbles into happiness, and the retired professor who is obsessed with his former student, T. S. Eliot. Star-crossed love, passion, jealousy, and courage take center stage in this captivating glimpse of an authentically rendered bygone world brimming with timeless questions of the heart and mind.” The novel gets strong endorsements from Society members, which you’ll be able to read if you follow the link in the title above).
DÍdac Llorens-Cubedo is pleased to announce the publication of his essay in Modern Drama, “Destined to Hope or Remorse: T.S. Eliot, Francis Bacon, and Their Furies,” which may be downloaded from this link.
City Lit Theater will perform Murder in the Cathedral in the sanctuary of Edgewater Presbyterian Church (1020 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago, IL) on May 3 – June 16, 2024. The production will be directed by Terry McCabe; previews will be held on May 3-11. This will be the first full production of the play in Chicago since the early 1950s.
Michael Rogalski announces that The Athenaeum Center, a longstanding mainstay performing arts venue in Chicago, will mount a solo staged rendering of Eliot’s Four Quartets in October. Michael is directing and performing the piece. Additionally, poet and scholar James Matthew Wilson will present a talk on Four Quartets on Saturday, 10/14 at the Athenaeum Center.
Paul Tankard, of the University of Otago in Dunedin, NZ, would like to announce a series of free public readings of The Waste Land (here’s a flier for the event; please circulate widely). The readings are free and open to the public and will take place in late July and August.
On 9 September, at the Meditatio Centre in London, Grevel Lindop will lead a gathering focused on T. S. Eliot and Kathleen Raine: Two Contemplative Poets. The event will also be available online–register here.
Ralph Fiennes’ performance of Four Quartets is now available for rental or purchase on Kinonow.
Cécile Varry will give a lecture titled “T. S. Eliot and the Language of Liturgy” on Wednesday, 17 May, at Pusey House, Oxford. If you’re fortunate enough to be in Oxford, you can attend the lecture (4 p.m. BST). For the rest of us, there’s will be a livestream. Cécile will explore Eliot’s attachment to the language of liturgy, and examine the use he makes of words and rhythms from the Book of Common Prayer in three poems written around the time of his conversion to Anglo-Catholicism (“The Hollow Men,” “A Song for Simeon” and “Ash-Wednesday”). In the light of newly available materials from the Complete Prose and the Emily Hale Letters, the lecture looks at the intersections of poetry with prayer and blasphemy, and considers what happens when the language of liturgy meets the anxieties of modernist poetics.
Jayme Stayer, former President of our Society, Professor of English at Loyola University Chicago, and Visiting Fellow of Campion Hall, delivered The Campion Lecture, “T. S. Eliot, Terrible Celibate: Suffering and Sexuality in the Letters to Emily Hale” on 4 May 2023 in Campion Hall. The lecture was recorded and is available here. Intimate, poignant, and occasionally enraging, the letters contain revelations large and small, challenging modernist scholars to rethink what has been known or assumed about the poet’s life and work. Prof. Stayer’s talk drew on these letters, as well as on his own archival work in the Bodleian and the Eliot Foundation, to illuminate the poet’s evolving ideas about suffering, sexuality, divorce—all of it informed by his conversion to the Church of England and his fierce commitment to Christian principles.
Ralph Feinnes‘ performance of Four Quartets will be released on film this spring, first in New York, at the end of April, with wider theatrical releases to follow.
Karen Christensen announces a conversation with the poet and translator Qiu Xiaolong titled “The Waste Land in China; it’s to be held on Zoom on 12 April at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Follow the link for registration information.
T. S. Eliot: Teatro Completo, the Spanish-language critical edition of Eliot’s plays, has recently been published, edited by Didac Llorens-Cubedo and Teresa Gibert. The volume features contributions by several Society members.
Chris Jones published “Help from Uncle Possum: Unpublished letters from T. S. Eliot about Omar Pound’s schooldays” in the Times Literary Supplement.
The Folio Society has published an edition of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, limited to 350 numbered copies and illustrated by Tom Phillips RA. See the press release. Printed letterpress, the book is half-bound in vellum blocked in 22-carat gold and has printed linen sides as shown in this short film.
Writing Great Tom: T. S. Eliot and the Keepers of the Flame, by T. S. Matthews is available from Berkshire Publishing. Society members are entitled to a 20% discount with the code provided in a recent email. Please contact Patrick Query if you can’t find that code and want him to resend it (email@example.com).
PennSound releases master recordings of Eliot reading his work
The master recordings from one of the earliest recording sessions of Eliot, made at Columbia University in the early to mid 1930s, are now online at the PennSound website. Some of these recordings had been distributed through various releases later in the twentieth century, but this is the first time the master recordings are being made available, digitized from aluminum transcription discs.
Lyndall Gordon to deliver the Annual T. S. Eliot Lecture for 2023
The Lecture, titled “T. S. Eliot’s Secrecy”: Disguise and the Hidden Drama of Emily Hale,” will be the first time that Gordon has lectured on the Emily Hale letters since they were made publicly available. It will be given on Thursday 27th April, at 5.30pm, in the T. S. Eliot Theatre at Merton College, Oxford. Information concerning registration and more details about the event may be found on the UK Eliot Society’s website (here).
The complete extant archive of T. S. Eliot’s letters to Emily Hale is now available to the public (open access) under the auspices of the Eliot Foundation. Edited and annotated by John Haffenden, the online edition, in addition to the 1,131 letters from Eliot to Hale, includes a gallery of relevant photographs, an appendix of writings by Emily Hale as well as a timeline of Hale’s life. There are also letters from Hale to Eliot that have been held in the Eliot archive in London. The International T. S. Eliot Society held a conversation, on Zoom, about this new edition on Friday, the 10th of February. We had close to eighty registrants and fifty in attendance. We’re hoping to hold another event–focused more on the details of the edition itself–sometime in the Spring (we’ll promote the event widely).
The T. S. Eliot Studies Annual is publishing a special topics forum on the Eliot-Hale correspondence in their next volume–you’ll find the CFP here.
note: In the year after the opening of the Hale archive, the Society published a number of short essays on the letters in its journal Time Present. Those pieces may be found in these issues: Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021. The most extensive and authoritative source for further study of TSE and Emily Hale is Lyndall Gordon’s The Hyacinth Girl. See also Frances Dickey’s essays on the Modernism / modernity Print+ platform and in Twentieth Century Literature; see also Robert Crawford, Eliot After The Waste Land; and Dickey and John Whittier-Ferguson on the status of the letters themselves (on the M/m Print+ platform); see also Michelle Taylor’s essay in The New Yorker.
Digital Eliot: The Complete Prose now available in HTML Critical Edition
Johns Hopkins University Press, Project Muse, and our own Tony Cuda, managing editor of the digital edition of Eliot’s Complete Prose, are delighted to announce the launch of the Prose in what Project Muse is hailing as a “flagship project”–the next generation of online scholarly editions. In the video below, which JHUP commissioned for the launch of the edition, Tony explains the project and demonstrates some of the most important and exciting capacities of this new resource. The Johns Hopkins blog post about the edition may be found here.
Eco-Modernism: Ecology, Environment, and Nature in Literary Modernism, edited by Jeremy Diaper (Clemson)
This volume of critical essays (including work on Eliot from Jeremy Diaper and Julia Daniel) provides the first major guide to ecology, environment and nature in literary modernism. It explores the environmental turn and green consciousness in modernist criticism and broadens the boundaries and scope of current ecocritical enquiry. In drawing together contributions from leading and emerging scholars from across the UK and America, Eco-Modernism offers a diverse range of environmental and ecological interpretations of modernist texts and illustrates that ecocriticism can offer fresh and provocative ways of understanding literary modernism. In the rapidly burgeoning field of environmental studies, it will serve as a vital touchstone for scholars and students alike to explore the major areas and crucial themes in ecocritical modernism.
The Waste Land: A Hundred Years Later / La tierra baldía, cien años después
Viorica Patea & Dídac Llorens-Cubedo are pleased to announce the publication of a Special issue of the journal Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses devoted to The Waste Land. This special issue presents new global perspectives of this epochal poem. This centennial issue is divided into two parts: Part I comprises fourteen critical, scholarly essays on The Waste Land by scholars from five different countries (Spain, USA, UK, Germany, and Russia). Part II is dedicated to creative artwork in commemoration of Eliot’s poem, including poetry written by four poets from the USA, Spain and Mexico, paintings by two artists from Germany and Spain, and a special section on music (the recording of a recital titled “Then Spoke the Waste Land: Songs and Fragments,” performed in 2022). The essays reflect various approaches of scholars from different generations, renowned Eliotians who have shaped our understanding of the poet, as well as a younger generation of scholars who approach the vibrancy and complexities of the poem from different angles and that attest to its freshness even today. While these authors raise new questions, address some continuing ones, or offer new discoveries on Eliot’s text, they consistently open his work to avenues worthy of further exploration. This special issue offers international and cross-cultural perspectives on Eliot’s The Waste Land, covering areas of interest ranging from poetry criticism to literary theory, translation studies and philosophy. Readers already familiar with Eliot scholarship will recognize the names of distinguished Eliot scholars in this volume: Jewel Spears Brooker, Michael Alexander, Clive Wilmer, Charles Altieri, and Teresa Gibert, as well as well-established critics in other fields of research such as Fiona Sampson, poet and nineteenth-century biographer and critic, and Francisco Collado, an eminent Spanish scholar in the field of the postmodern novel. This special issue also hosts a younger, highly accomplished generation of scholars such as Natalia Carbajosa, Rhett Forman, Leonor María Martínez, Santiago Rodríguez Guerrero-Strachan, or Anna Kurasova. They not only present an eclectic, international gathering of ideas, but they also invigorate Eliot studies in new areas.
Conference on Christianity and Literature gives Lifetime Achievement Award to Jewel Spears Brooker
We quote from the letter informing Jewel of her award (which will be made at this year’s MLA but presented to her in March): “We believe that your exceptional scholarship on T. S. Eliot, one of the truly great figures in twentieth-century letters, your distinguished teaching career at Eckerd College and at a host of visiting appointments around the world, and your commitment to the exploring the intersections of Christianity and literature exemplify the highest ideals of the CCL. The Lifetime Achievement Award “honors great artists and scholars who have enabled us to think more profoundly, more intelligently, more critically, and more self-critically about the relations between literature and Christian faith and practice.”
Tony Cuda, Ron Schuchard, and Jayme Stayer held a daylong “short course”– sponsored by the T. S. Eliot Summer School, held under the auspices of the Institute for English Studies on 17 January, 2023. The past decade has witnessed a publishing renaissance of new primary materials by Eliot, new editions of his poems, letters, and prose that will transform how we understand him and his place in literary history . This special study day offered participants the chance to talk with the editors about the aims and features of the newly launched digital platforms for Eliot’s works; to think about Eliot’s changing place in modernism; and to reflect on how modern readers use both print and digital editions together. It was led by Prof. Anthony Cuda, editor of the new online edition of The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot and Director of the T. S. Eliot International Summer School, with Prof. Ron Schuchard, General editor of The Complete Prose and founder of the summer school, and Prof. Jayme Stayer, coeditor of The Complete Prose.
Lyndall Gordon, The Hyacinth Girl
“[O]ne of the most refreshing things about The Hyacinth Girl is that Gordon neither lionizes nor takes down Eliot. Rather, a deep respect for and curiosity about his writing, combined with a supple psychological portrait, animates her analysis. She resists judging him in a facile or dismissive way, while not hesitating to illuminate the unsavory and disturbing behavior he sometimes displayed. . . .
“One common pitfall of the genre of books devoted to the wives and muses and women around a famous male author is that the biographer often skips impatiently over the writer’s work to the more juicy revelations of his life. Gordon somehow manages to keep Eliot’s poetry and prose at the center of the book, while preserving a quiet but persistent moral authority.
“There is a human richness to Eliot’s cerebral poetry that we can appreciate more in the context of his knotted emotional life, and Gordon’s art is in drawing this out. She is also adept at mapping Eliot’s well-known religious and spiritual yearnings onto the sexual and emotional struggles that fed his beliefs. This is delicate and tricky work, if one is not overly reductive, and Gordon allows the reader to live with Eliot’s conflicts and contradictions. She is not interested in reducing or bludgeoning the mystery of his words, but in exploring layers and resonances.”
“All the women are one woman,” wrote T. S. Eliot in his deliberately difficult notes to his extraordinary modernist poem, The Waste Land. But who were all the women that race around his poem, and why did they inspire him so much, despite his unease with them?
One woman who has remained fascinated with the poem is arts journalist Jude Rogers. She still dreams of the modernism doctorate she never did and recently attended the International T. S. Eliot Summer School for a treat for her 40th birthday. Despite her own struggles with the problematic poet, the beauty and bleakness of The Waste Land still draws her in, leading her to immerse herself in the worlds and the voices of the women inside and outside of the poem.
She meets other female experts fascinated by Eliot – biographer Lyndall Gordon, who’s just published The Hyacinth Girl: T. S. Eliot’s Hidden Muse, and Frances Dickey, Eliot scholar and Associate Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Missouri. They discuss what it was like to be among the first to read more than a thousand love letters written by Eliot, from an archive that was recently opened after being hidden from the public for more than 50 years. We also hear from Beci Carver, Lecturer in 20th Century Literature at the University of Exeter, and Megan Quigley, Associate Professor of English at Villanova University, who discuss Eliot’s problematic if compassionate representations of women in The Waste Land.
An Overcoat Media production for BBC Radio 4
James Longenbach, the Joseph H. Gilmore Professor of English at the University of Rochester, died of cancer on July 29 in Stonington, Connecticut, at the age of 62. A preeminent scholar of poetry and poetics as well as of modernism, a fine poet in his own right, and an accomplished teacher, he gave the T. S. Eliot Memorial Lecture to our Society in 1997. Titled “Recovering a Postmodern Eliot,” the lecture was published as “What Was Postmodern Poetry?” in Modern Poetry After Modernism (Oxford, 1997). His first scholarly monograph, growing out of his dissertation at Princeton, was centrally concerned with Eliot: Modernist Poetics of History: Pound, Eliot, and the Sense of the Past (Princeton, 1987). The obituary from the University of Rochester may be found here; the Poetry Foundation’s is here; his publications are gathered on his website. Jim was a brilliant and generous colleague and friend to many in our fields of study. We lament his passing.
Temur Kobakhidze – scholar, teacher, and a good and longtime friend of the International T. S. Eliot Society – has died. A Professor at Tbilisi State University in Georgia, he organized multiple Eliot conferences and was a part of many others. He will be missed.
The Charleston Literary Festival ( full program of events here), which is running November 4th through the 13th this year in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, announces two events this year that will be of interest to Society members:
- Lyndall Gordon will discuss her new book The Hyacinth Girl: T. S. Eliot’s Hidden Muse (Tickets here; Dock St. Theatre)
- Edoardo Ballerini, audiobook narrator, will be performing The Waste Land along with some of his other poems. (Tickets here; Dock St. Theatre)
The T. S. Eliot Society in the UK is pleased to announce that their Annual TS Eliot Lecture 2022 is to be given in London at 5.30pm on 17th November by Professor John Haffenden. Its title is Vivien Eliot – Woman and Writer. The English Department of University College, London will host the lecture in the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre at UCL. Admission is free, but the audience is limited and registration is required. Members of the TS Eliot Society UK have booking privileges for the Lecture. Registration is open now to members only, exclusively for seven days prior to public registration opening on 21st October. You will need your Member Password to enter the booking site at tseliotlecture.eventbrite.co.uk where full details of the evening and its location are provided and you can register to attend.
Mark Wallace Maguire has released an album containing sections of T. S. Eliot reading parts of “Preludes.” The album is inspired by C. S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy. Sample here: https://markwallacemaguire.bandcamp.com/track/merlin-sleeps
Marybirnong, Australia: Staged at the heritage site Jack’s Magazine, a 144 year-old munition factory, there will be a live recitation of The Waste Land directed by Kirsten von Bibra and performed by Ray Swann, Thursday 10 November 2022 – Saturday 19 November 2022. It features pre-show music by Melbourne composer and musician Andrew Duffield. https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/939376
compiled by Patrick Query
Charles Altieri’s new book, Modernist Poetry and the Limitations of Materialism, is available from New Mexico University Press. It features a long chapter on the doubled world Christianity affords in Murder in the Cathedral and Four Quartets.
Massimo Bacigalupo, emeritus of the University of Genoa, Italy, and president of the Class of Letters of Accademia Ligure di Scienze e Lettere in Genoa, is marking the 50th anniversary of Ezra Pound’s death (1972-2022) with a book of essays, Ezra Pound: un mondo di poesia, published by Edizioni Ares in Milan. The book features longer chapters on Pound and Ford Madox Ford and Pound and Yeats in Rapallo, as well as an account of Eliot’s and Pound’s reception by one of Italy’s most significant post-war experimental poets, Edoardo Sanguineti.
On April 7th, David Chinitz delivered (alas, on Zoom) a keynote lecture, “Does T. S. Eliot Have a Future?” at the European Association of American Studies conference in Madrid. The conference theme was “Wastelands,” in homage to the Waste Land centenary.
On Monday 15 August, 100 years of The Waste Land was marked in Wales with a special edition of Cardiff BookTalk, organized by Dr Anna Mercer at the School of English, Cardiff University. Celebrating the poem’s centenary with members of the public, Dr. Ruth Alison Clemens of Leiden University, Dr. Nicoletta Asciuto of the University of York, and Durham University’s Suzannah V. Evans gave presentations on elements of multilingualism and interlingual exchange in Eliot’s poem. An exciting discussion followed, and the event will soon be uploaded to Cardiff BookTalk’s YouTube channel. More details can be found here: https://cardiffbooktalk.wordpress.com/
Pascale-Marie Deschamps announces that the Paris Conference “T. S. Eliot in Translations” is on its way, 13-14 October 2022. All information may be found here: https://tseliotintrans.wixsite.com/eliotintranslations
The organizers hope to have the Translators of the Waste Land Roundtable (Oct 14th, 5-7pm, Paris time) broadcast on Zoom. This Conference is organized by LARCA, Université Paris Cité, Université Lyon 2, Université Rennes 2, and supported by The T. S. Eliot Foundation, the Société d’études modernistes and the French Association of Literary Translators.
Sara Fitzgerald spoke on 1 October to the annual meeting of the University of Michigan Alumnae Council on her book, Conquering Heroines: How Women Fought Sex Bias at Michigan and Paved the Way for Title IX.
Lyndall Gordon has been invited to speak on Eliot on the final day of the Charleston Literary Festival in South Carolina in November.
On September 22, Rob Hartman’s T. S. Eliot. De vele gezichten van een conservatieve modernist (‘T.S. Eliot. The Many Faces of a Conservative Modernist’) will be published by Spectrum, Amsterdam. Language: Dutch. 272 pp.
Ryan Holston’s new book Tradition and the Deliberative Turn: A Critique of Contemporary Democratic Theory will be published by SUNY Press in February 2023.
Ian Probstein has published two new books: in August, a bilingual English-Russian edition of Osip Mandelstam’s Centuries Encircle Me with Fire: Selected Poems (Academic Studies Press); in September, Contemporary American Poetry in Russian from Black Mountain Poets to Language Poetry (New Literary Review. Language: Russian).
Barry Spurr delivered two public lectures in Sydney, Australia to mark the centenary of The Waste Land: at The Australian Club in April and at Campion College in August.
John Tamilio III is now a full-time professor of philosophy at Salem State University. His book Applied Ethics: Exploring Ethical Theory in the Medical, Environmental, and Business Fields was just released by Kendall Hunt.
Wei Zhou completed her PhD in English under the supervision of Dr Richard Brown at the University of Leeds in June. Her thesis entitled Modernist Nostos in The Waste Land and Four Quartets examines the reimagining of the classical trope of “nostos,” homecoming, in a selection of T. S. Eliot’s poems. Her examiners, Professor Jean-Michel Rabaté (University of Pennsylvania) and Professor Fiona Becket (University of Leeds) recommended the thesis for Recognition of Research Excellence.