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December 15, 2015
9781421420189
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v2.1 Reference

The Poems of T. S. Eliot, Volume 2

Practical Cats and Further Verses

This critical edition of T. S. Eliot’s Poems establishes a new text of the Collected Poems 1909–1962, rectifying accidental omissions and errors that have crept in during the century since Eliot’s astonishing debut, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." As well as the masterpieces, the edition contains the poems of Eliot’s youth, which were rediscovered only decades later, others that circulated privately during his lifetime, and love poems from his final years, written for his wife Valerie Eliot.

Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue have provided a commentary that illuminates the imaginative life of each poem. Calling upon Eliot’s critical writings, as well as his drafts, letters, and other original materials, they illustrate not only the breadth of Eliot’s interests and the range of his writings, but how it was that the author of "Gerontion" came to write "Triumphal March" and then Four Quartets. Thanks to the family and friends who recognized Eliot’s genius and preserved his writings from an early age, the archival record is exceptionally complete, enabling us to follow in unique detail the progress of a mind that never ceased exploring.

Following the collected and uncollected poems of the first volume, this second volume opens with the two books of verse of other kinds that Eliot issued: the children’s verse of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and his translation of St.-John Perse’s Anabase. This volume then gathers the verses Eliot contributed to the learnedly lighthearted exchanges of Noctes Binanianæ and others for intimate friends or written off the cuff. Each of these sections has its own commentary. Finally, and pertaining to the entire edition, there is a comprehensive textual history that contains not only variants from all known drafts and the many printings but also extended passages amounting to hundreds of lines of compelling verse.

"I do not know for certain how much of my own mind he invented."—William Empson

About the Authors

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1888. He moved to England in 1914 and published his first book of poems in 1917. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Eliot died in 1965. Christopher Ricks is the co-director, with Archie Burnett, of the Editorial Institute at Boston University. His publications on Eliot include T. S. Eliot and Prejudice (1988), Inventions of the March Hare: Poems 1909–1917 (1996), and Decisions and Revisions in T. S. Eliot (the Panizzi Lectures, 2002), together with True Friendship: Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht, and Robert Lowell under the Sign of Eliot and Pound (2007). Jim McCue is the author of Edmund Burke and Our Present Discontents (1997) and the editor of the Penguin Selected Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough (1991). For fifteen years he worked for The Times, where he wrote the Bibliomane column. His imprint, the Foundling Press, began with the first separate publication of T. S. Eliot’s Eeldrop and Appleplex and has printed for the first time writings by Alexander Pope, Ben Jonson, Henry James, and A. E. Housman.

Reviews

"These volumes are not merely a monument to T. S. Eliot, they are a blazing demonstration of what literary criticism, at its best, can do for literature."

- John Sutherland - Financial Times

"The texts are impeccably edited... they acquire richness and exhibit a greater variety of modes."

- The Hudson Review
Johns Hopkins University Press
Volume 2
2015
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688 Pages
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