hits counter Young Eliot: A Biography - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Young Eliot: A Biography

Availability: Ready to download

A groundbreaking new biography of one of the twentieth century’s most important poets On the fiftieth anniversary of the death of T. S. Eliot, Robert Crawford presents us with the first volume of a definitive biography of this poetic genius. Young Eliot traces the life of the twentieth century’s most important poet from his childhood in St. Louis to the publication of his r A groundbreaking new biography of one of the twentieth century’s most important poets On the fiftieth anniversary of the death of T. S. Eliot, Robert Crawford presents us with the first volume of a definitive biography of this poetic genius. Young Eliot traces the life of the twentieth century’s most important poet from his childhood in St. Louis to the publication of his revolutionary poem The Waste Land. Crawford’s depiction of Eliot’s childhood—laced with tragedy and shaped by an idealistic, bookish family in which knowledge of saints and martyrs was taken for granted—provides readers with a new understanding of the foundations of some of the most widely read poems in the English language. Meticulously detailed and incisively written, Young Eliot portrays a brilliant, shy, and wounded American who defied his parents’ wishes and committed himself to an artistic life as an immigrant in England, creating work that is astonishing in its scope and vulnerability.      Quoting extensively from Eliot’s poetry and prose as well as drawing on new interviews, archives, and previously undisclosed memoirs, the award-winning biographer Robert Crawford shows how the poet’s background in Missouri, Massachusetts, and Paris made him a lightning rod for modernity. Most impressively, Young Eliot reveals the way he accessed his inner life—his anguishes and his fears—and blended them with his omnivorous reading to create his masterpieces "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and The Waste Land. At last, we experience T. S. Eliot in all his tender complexity as student and lover, penitent and provocateur, banker and philosopher—but most of all, Young Eliot shows us as an epoch-shaping poet struggling to make art among personal disasters.


Compare

A groundbreaking new biography of one of the twentieth century’s most important poets On the fiftieth anniversary of the death of T. S. Eliot, Robert Crawford presents us with the first volume of a definitive biography of this poetic genius. Young Eliot traces the life of the twentieth century’s most important poet from his childhood in St. Louis to the publication of his r A groundbreaking new biography of one of the twentieth century’s most important poets On the fiftieth anniversary of the death of T. S. Eliot, Robert Crawford presents us with the first volume of a definitive biography of this poetic genius. Young Eliot traces the life of the twentieth century’s most important poet from his childhood in St. Louis to the publication of his revolutionary poem The Waste Land. Crawford’s depiction of Eliot’s childhood—laced with tragedy and shaped by an idealistic, bookish family in which knowledge of saints and martyrs was taken for granted—provides readers with a new understanding of the foundations of some of the most widely read poems in the English language. Meticulously detailed and incisively written, Young Eliot portrays a brilliant, shy, and wounded American who defied his parents’ wishes and committed himself to an artistic life as an immigrant in England, creating work that is astonishing in its scope and vulnerability.      Quoting extensively from Eliot’s poetry and prose as well as drawing on new interviews, archives, and previously undisclosed memoirs, the award-winning biographer Robert Crawford shows how the poet’s background in Missouri, Massachusetts, and Paris made him a lightning rod for modernity. Most impressively, Young Eliot reveals the way he accessed his inner life—his anguishes and his fears—and blended them with his omnivorous reading to create his masterpieces "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and The Waste Land. At last, we experience T. S. Eliot in all his tender complexity as student and lover, penitent and provocateur, banker and philosopher—but most of all, Young Eliot shows us as an epoch-shaping poet struggling to make art among personal disasters.

30 review for Young Eliot: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    James Murphy

    It's been decades since the last biography of T. S. Eliot. We forget--or I forgot--that a long time ago Peter Ackroyd published one and later Lyndall Gordon produced a 2-volume life. Do you remember" Of course you do and now you're realizing it seems a lifetime ago. There's a reason. Eliot didn't want a biography written, unrealistic as that wish seems today. His wife Valerie, keeper of the flame after his death in 1965, acceded to that wish by withholding access to materials and limiting what A It's been decades since the last biography of T. S. Eliot. We forget--or I forgot--that a long time ago Peter Ackroyd published one and later Lyndall Gordon produced a 2-volume life. Do you remember" Of course you do and now you're realizing it seems a lifetime ago. There's a reason. Eliot didn't want a biography written, unrealistic as that wish seems today. His wife Valerie, keeper of the flame after his death in 1965, acceded to that wish by withholding access to materials and limiting what Ackroyd and Gordon could quote. Still, their biographies were exciting because they were all we had. Obviously there was persistent interest in Eliot, though. For the most part the resulting works, like the play and movie Tom and Viv which depicted him as a misogynist or other works which dealt with his anti-Semitism or claimed him to be a closeted homosexual, disappointed Valerie Eliot and hardened her resolve to stand in the way of serious biographical studies. Now Valerie is gone. Robert Crawford, who knew her and had impressed her with his academic work on the poet has used the relaxed restraints on research and access to the material to write the first biography since Gordon's. Young Eliot is right. The story of Eliot in London is a familiar one. But whereas most biographies race quickly over the formative years, Crawford spends three chapters and 78 pages in detailing Eliot's boyhood in St Louis and Gloucester, Massachusetts because he's able to demonstrate how influences of those years were later used in his greatest poetry. Another five chapters and abut 120 pages are needed to get him through Harvard, after which he studies at Oxford, meets Vivien, his first wife, and the rest is famous literary history. All of this material, though, is new because it's not before been covered in such detail. While I was aware, for instance, that he'd studied philosophy at Harvard, I hadn't known before of his deep background in anthropology and how it would affect The Waste Land, the Sweeney poems, and his criticism. Equally important parts of Eliot's story, and heavy influences on what he wrote, were the one who got away, Emily Hale, and the one who wanted him and married him, Vivien Haigh-Wood. One of the surprises for me was that Crawford mutes the difficulties of the marriage. While he allows they were awkward together the way he writes of the marriage makes Tom much more supportive and accommodating than perhaps we'd believed before. Of course, this first volume ends at the end of 1922, and Tom and Viv have some trying years ahead of them. There's the poetry, too. No biography of Eliot could not discuss and analyze "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and The Waste Land. Crawford writes in depth about where they came from within the poet and why, as well as lengthy discussions of the Sweeney sequence, "Gerontion", and other early works. This is grand biography. Crawford plans a second volume to be called Eliot after The Waste Land. I'm sure that when it's published Crawford's will be the Eliot biography for our time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books The shelving, status updates and star rating constitute how I felt about this book. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books The shelving, status updates and star rating constitute how I felt about this book. (hide spoiler)]

  3. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    3.5 stars Honestly, the main thing that cost this the star was the fact that Crawford describes T.S. Eliot as "Tom." Constantly. Literally on every page. Like, that's how he talks about him on every single page. He has some bullshit reason, like making Eliot seem intimate to us or whatever, but this is bullshit because it just seems creepy, distracting, and weirdly voyeuristic, especially when you consider in this period (up to The Waste Land), even Ezra Pound called him "T.S.E.", and the main pe 3.5 stars Honestly, the main thing that cost this the star was the fact that Crawford describes T.S. Eliot as "Tom." Constantly. Literally on every page. Like, that's how he talks about him on every single page. He has some bullshit reason, like making Eliot seem intimate to us or whatever, but this is bullshit because it just seems creepy, distracting, and weirdly voyeuristic, especially when you consider in this period (up to The Waste Land), even Ezra Pound called him "T.S.E.", and the main people who called him Tom were his family and his wife. It is just so distracting, and I'm not sure if this kind of "cosiness" is really the point of biography. I'm not saying it isn't. I'm just saying I'm not sure. (Incidentally, I saw Eliot's childhood pictures in Kings' archive and it's weird as hell. Baby Eliot looks like a puppet, and his eyes appear - at least to me - to be very out of proportion. He just looks like a very shrunken version of his grownup self and that is weird. Perhaps I shouldn't be lecturing Crawford on overfamiliarity when I got an archivist to show me Eliot's family pictures.) There's also a tendency towards over-interpretation or clumsy linkings, which would be okay but this book seems somewhat confused as to whether it's a critical book or an autobiography. As an autobiography, it's really very good, but its weird forays into clunking into random bits of young Eliot's poetry often don't flow quite right. Buuuuut...with all that said -- this book is invaluable to anyone doing an Eliot dissertation/long piece of work, especially if you're focusing on Eliot's early work (as I have this year). If your library doesn't have good resources or whatever, I seriously advise you to invest in this book. You don't necessarily have to listen to some of the stuff Crawford throws into the mix (in fact, I would suggest that you didn't), but the sheer volume of details, fragments, cuttings, and official documentation he's presumably scoured the globe (?) to find is...extraordinary. There's also a fantastic selection of the letters to choose from, if you can't face combing through around 10,000 pages (I'm not even exaggerating that much) of his letters to find the diamonds. So, yeah, do buy, but I would strongly advise you not to listen - but, thanks, Crawford, for the amazing amount of original research and compiling. Saved me this year.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    TS Eliot from birth to The Waste Land. Hardly a detail has been left out, filling in many gaps usually ignored about Eliot's childhood, education, first sad marriage, and early poetry. If you love Eliot as I do--the first place I heard of a mysterious substance called curry or the elegant name Lavinia or the word scenario or the wonderful silly English repartee--"The only person I ever met who could hear the cry of bats. Hear the cry of bats? He could hear the cry of bats. Buts how do you know h TS Eliot from birth to The Waste Land. Hardly a detail has been left out, filling in many gaps usually ignored about Eliot's childhood, education, first sad marriage, and early poetry. If you love Eliot as I do--the first place I heard of a mysterious substance called curry or the elegant name Lavinia or the word scenario or the wonderful silly English repartee--"The only person I ever met who could hear the cry of bats. Hear the cry of bats? He could hear the cry of bats. Buts how do you know he could hear the cry of bats? Because he said so, and I believed him, But if he was so . . . harmless, how could you believe him? He might have imagined it. My darling Celia, you needn't be so skeptical. I *stayed* there once, at their castle in the North. How he suffered. They had to find an island for him where there were no bats." We have to wait until 2020 when the letters of the American girl he was really in love with but who wouldn't have him will be made public for the second volume. Meanwhile read this and listen to the wonderful recording, if it still exists, of The Cocktail Party, from which the above is excerpted, with Alec Guiness as Alexander MacColgie Gibbs.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jee Koh

    Robert Crawford makes very good use of recently released materials, including letters by Eliot and by others to him, to show the vital importance of his growing-up years in St. Louis and Cape Ann to his poetry, not just his Unitarian and privileged upbringing, but also his social shyness and sexual self-doubt. Crawford is probably right that Eliot wrote his best poetry when he was in crisis, whether sexual or health-wise. The rest of the time he was too busy being the responsible machine to his Robert Crawford makes very good use of recently released materials, including letters by Eliot and by others to him, to show the vital importance of his growing-up years in St. Louis and Cape Ann to his poetry, not just his Unitarian and privileged upbringing, but also his social shyness and sexual self-doubt. Crawford is probably right that Eliot wrote his best poetry when he was in crisis, whether sexual or health-wise. The rest of the time he was too busy being the responsible machine to his wife, family, bank job and literary journalism. This part of his life is almost unbearable to read, the steeling of the self against tremendous pressures. He and Vivienne should never have gotten married, but if they did not, he would have gone back from Oxford to America and become a philosophy professor, not a poet. She believed in his poetic genius, and that must count for a very great deal. I learned a great deal from this conscientious biography. The style is unnecessarily convoluted in places.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Adams

    Wow, this book is. not. great. It picks up around the time Tom meets Ezra Pound and marries his first wife. Be warned, though, that I had exhausted my library renewal opportunities before reaching the middle of the book. The first half is a lengthy catalog of things Eliot read in his youth. While filled with details valuable to the serious Eliot scholar, a more abridged version of his biography would be suitable (and more enjoyable) to most.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week: A new biography of TS Eliot by Robert Crawford, and abridged by Katrin Williams, is published to mark 50 years since the poet's death. From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week: A new biography of TS Eliot by Robert Crawford, and abridged by Katrin Williams, is published to mark 50 years since the poet's death.

  8. 4 out of 5

    N.L. Brisson

    T. S. Eliot was a poet that I fell in love with the very first time I read his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, a poem with images and rhythms which did not exist in the sonnets and odes from our text, Norton’s Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1 (which had many poems I also enjoyed). Recently I saw that a new book had been published by Robert Crawford with the title Young Eliot: from St. Louis to The Waste Land. This book did not turn out to be an easy read. It is an academic boo T. S. Eliot was a poet that I fell in love with the very first time I read his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, a poem with images and rhythms which did not exist in the sonnets and odes from our text, Norton’s Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1 (which had many poems I also enjoyed). Recently I saw that a new book had been published by Robert Crawford with the title Young Eliot: from St. Louis to The Waste Land. This book did not turn out to be an easy read. It is an academic book. It seems that Robert Crawford is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the British Academy. He is a Professor of Modern Scottish Literature at the University of St. Andrews, a scholar and a poet. Although this does not have the permissions necessary to be an official biography it is quite scholarly with plenty of attributions. In fact the chapters offer so many numbered footnote references that you must learn to filter them out so that you can follow the details of Eliot’s life. Since T. S. Eliot destroyed almost all correspondence from his first marriage to Vivien Haigh-Wood most biographies devote very few pages to Eliot’s life before he reached his twenties. Crawford, however, following exhaustive research at the many repositories which hold Eliot memorabilia and with the permission of Eliot’s second wife who was still alive, begins at the beginning in St. Louis, Missouri which he credits with the jazz-like rhythms of Eliot’s poetry (not his exact language). “Eliot’s formative years were exactly that. Their importance is greater than most readers have realized. Young Eliot presents this crucial period in much more detail. ‘Home is where we start from’”, says Crawford. “…St. Louis – that French-named city of ragtime, racial tensions, ancient civilisations, riverboats and (in Eliot’s words) the real start of the Wild West.” Another important early influence on T. S. Eliot is added in his early teens when his “time [is] divided between education in Missouri and summering in Gloucester, Massachusetts” where he learns to sail. T. S. Eliot, once he leaves to go to Harvard, never goes home to St. Louis, although he still summers in New England. Crawford spends much time on Eliot’s life with Vivien and the dysfunctional nature of their marriage. Vivien is quoted as saying, “I love Tom in a way that destroys us both.” They seem to have sexual difficulties but apparently there is not enough remaining information to tell us the true nature of these difficulties. Crawford blames both of them for the tensions in the marriage. The Eliots live in England (Vivien is English) and they both spend a lot of time being ill, but they also socialize with the important literary figures of their age, both in England and in Paris, e.g. Virginia Woolf, Mary Hutchinson, Conrad Aiken, James Joyce, Ezra Pound and Bertrand Russell. Tom reads voraciously in Eastern philosophy and religion, anthropology, Western philosophy and religion, psychology, literary criticism, and literature including drama, novels, and poetry from the classics to his contemporaries. He says about himself that he is “…in different places and circumstances a professor, a journalist, a banker, a philosopher, a Parisian flâneur and also something much wilder.” Despite the plethora of attributions Crawford still is left to conjecture about how much of Tom’s possible sexual difficulties and his buttoned-down formal persona (which he could discard when he was with male companions) informs the poem that this book ends with, The Waste Land. I am not sure that all of Crawford’s research gave him anything definitive to add to our understanding of T. S. Eliot's poetry, but we do get to know Thomas Stearns Eliot as a person with all his brilliance, his humor, his gloom, and his flaws. There are still enough things we probably don’t know about Young Eliot to leave some mysteries that might be solved in the future. Crawford plans to follow up with a second volume but it will pick up after the publication of The Waste Land.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    Now that T. S. Eliot’s letters have been published and much other archival material has come to light, Robert Crawford felt it was time to write a new biography of the poet and critic. Young Eliot is the first volume of this new project, covering Eliot’s life up to the publication of The Waste Land in 1923. (The second volume, covering the rest of his life, is planned for after the release of his correspondence with Emily Hale, kept under embargo at Princeton until 2020.) The biography relies hea Now that T. S. Eliot’s letters have been published and much other archival material has come to light, Robert Crawford felt it was time to write a new biography of the poet and critic. Young Eliot is the first volume of this new project, covering Eliot’s life up to the publication of The Waste Land in 1923. (The second volume, covering the rest of his life, is planned for after the release of his correspondence with Emily Hale, kept under embargo at Princeton until 2020.) The biography relies heavily on the first volume of T. S. Eliot’s collected letters, so for particularly obsessive Eliot fans who worked through that, a great many of the details will seem already familiar. Nonetheless, there are two particular aspects of Eliot’s life that Crawford’s biography presents in a significant new detail. One, Crawford traces Eliot’s reading at Harvard. It is interesting how much of precisely this period of his education and reading for pleasure was later incorporated into The Waste Land, and this allows a fresh reading of that poem as a rather nostalgic look back at younger days from a time he was wracked with torment – Crawford depicts vividly the amount of overwork Eliot was engaged in these years which led predictably to his nervous collapse. Secondly, while it had been known that the philosopher Bertrand Russell carried out an affair with Eliot’s wife Vivien Haigh-Wood shortly after the Eliots’ marriage, Crawford is able to show just how long this tryst lasted and how deeply entwined Vivien and Russell’s lives were during this time. Eliot was undoubtedly aware of everything that had happened, but bore this burden silently. Incidentally, the latter half of this book is not a “Tom and Viv” story – a tale of two spouses that feuded and tortured each other. Rather, they seem to have been living in a stable marriage during this time, albeit one where each was a nervous wreck, and their real falling out must be saved for the second volume of this biography. In spite of this detail on certain aspects of Eliot’s life, there are lacunae as there often are in biographies. Crawford does not go into Eliot’s doctoral studies in philosophy on the thought of F.H. Bradley, which must be considered a major part of his life because it occupied him for at least a year and resulted in a lengthy dissertation. Perhaps Crawford, a scholar of literature, felt unequipped to tackle such matters of philosophy. Furthermore, I found myself frustrated by Crawford’s focus on only one or two Eliot poems for each portion of his life (e.g. “Prufrock”, “Gerontion”, The Waste Land) and his attempt to link the details recounted to this particular poem; Eliot wrote a great deal of poetry in these years, but Crawford doesn’t actually engage with much of it. There are also some factual errors or misunderstandings. Crawford writes of Eliot being able to read the Buddha’s Fire Sermon in the “original Sanskrit”, but it was in fact written in Pali. Crawford also claims that Eliot’s reading of Xenophon’s Anabasis as a young man later aided him in translating Saint-John Perse’s Anabase, but the two works have nothing in common except their titles. The cigar brand Romeo y Julieta is referred to as “Romeo and Juliet cigars” – a minor quibble, perhaps, but a sign that more peer review might have been helpful.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Ross

    T. S. Eliot is one of my favorite poets, so reading Part 1 of this new biography, which promised more detail on his life from the beginning in St. Louis to the publishing of "The Waste Land," intrigued me. The book delivers its promise: the details are, at times, excruciating to the point of obscuring the bigger picture. There is such a thing as a balance between detail and the big picture and the author doesn't achieve that balance as well as he should have or could have (my hope is that Part II T. S. Eliot is one of my favorite poets, so reading Part 1 of this new biography, which promised more detail on his life from the beginning in St. Louis to the publishing of "The Waste Land," intrigued me. The book delivers its promise: the details are, at times, excruciating to the point of obscuring the bigger picture. There is such a thing as a balance between detail and the big picture and the author doesn't achieve that balance as well as he should have or could have (my hope is that Part II will be different). However, having said that, for anyone who is intrigued by or enjoys the depth and intensity of Eliot's poetry (and essays - he is perhaps one of the most perceptive literary critics ever and his essays do an excellent job of delineating and explaining the creative process in all the areas that come into play when we write, and they are many), this is an insightful behind-the-scenes look at how Eliot became the writer he was. I was most intrigued by Eliot's intellectual genius. He devoured learning in every subject and, most incredibly, retained it and used it to write. In spite of being involved in many things at one time, including having a fairly important position at Lloyd's of London (he was in charge of handling the debts incurred by each of the European countries involved in World War I after the Treaty of Versailles), he had a unique ability to compartmentalize each thing and develop it in its compartment. It wasn't without a cost, however, and many things in Eliot's life - some of them very bad choices that he made - led to poor health and mental fatigue and depression that he battled frequently. In the end, though, the good and the bad - that of his own making and that which surrounded him personally and globally - fed into some of the most intriguing poetry ever written.

  11. 4 out of 5

    David Withun

    -

  12. 4 out of 5

    Charleslangip

    This is a superb biography of my favourite poet about whom I knew only the most basic facts, before I dove into this very well-researched account of his life and inspirations. In my opinion, The Waste Land is a seminal poem through which the past mutated into the present. TS Eliot is to painting what the Impressionists or the Cubists were to painting. He radically transformed it, molded it into a new shape. The book's subtitle "From St. Louis to the Wasteland" is a big hint that the focus on the This is a superb biography of my favourite poet about whom I knew only the most basic facts, before I dove into this very well-researched account of his life and inspirations. In my opinion, The Waste Land is a seminal poem through which the past mutated into the present. TS Eliot is to painting what the Impressionists or the Cubists were to painting. He radically transformed it, molded it into a new shape. The book's subtitle "From St. Louis to the Wasteland" is a big hint that the focus on the book is going to be on the emergence of TS Eliot's 1922 masterpiece , and that it will go no further. It is essentially a roadmap of the journey the artist took to reach this magnum opus. Every detail of his life is scrutinized through the prism of the poem, in order to explain the many references that flood through it. Every verse is explained by an episode in Eliot's life, by a book that he read, by a person he met. How the maelstrom of worlds - from jazz, Greek mythology, Archdukes, East London pubs, sanskrit chants, and so many more - comes together in this poem becomes clear when following the poet on his life journey. His friendships, and loves, his work and his leisure, all come under close examination to assess their contribution to the state of mind and the inspiration behind his most majestic work. I strongly recommend that readers acquaint themselves very well with the poem before undergoing this journey, otherwise it may ring a bit hollow. Follow me on Instagram where I do weekly book reviews @charleslangip

  13. 5 out of 5

    Caspar Bryant

    An exceptional half-biography. All that one could hope for is here - I particularly enjoy the details of ten-year-old Tom's 'Fireside' newspaper in St. Louis, and Crawford's exceptional work upon so much of what the dear old young man was reading. Crawford hasn't set himself an easy task - it's not easy to write an entertaining biography of a man who spent >90% of his time at a desk. Young Eliot is a very heartfelt, emotional (as well as intellectual) glimpse at these fragile lives. To simulate t An exceptional half-biography. All that one could hope for is here - I particularly enjoy the details of ten-year-old Tom's 'Fireside' newspaper in St. Louis, and Crawford's exceptional work upon so much of what the dear old young man was reading. Crawford hasn't set himself an easy task - it's not easy to write an entertaining biography of a man who spent >90% of his time at a desk. Young Eliot is a very heartfelt, emotional (as well as intellectual) glimpse at these fragile lives. To simulate the last half (Tom and Viv in London), one must grow accustomed to the refrain 'Tom/Vivian fell ill again'. Repeat this every other page. It's genuinely staggering how often one could fall ill at the time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Monty Milne

    Excellent. I was struck by the naivete of the young Eliot: he seems to have had no idea that the odious Bertrand Russell was cheating on him with his wife. There is so much about Eliot’s poetry that I love that I can forgive him his occasional absurdities and even overlook his ungracious anti Semitism. No one expresses melancholia and inchoate yearning so beautifully. Sometimes, I feel I am Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead, the deep sea current picking my bones in whispers. I should have Excellent. I was struck by the naivete of the young Eliot: he seems to have had no idea that the odious Bertrand Russell was cheating on him with his wife. There is so much about Eliot’s poetry that I love that I can forgive him his occasional absurdities and even overlook his ungracious anti Semitism. No one expresses melancholia and inchoate yearning so beautifully. Sometimes, I feel I am Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead, the deep sea current picking my bones in whispers. I should have been a pair of ragged claws Scuttling across the floors of silent seas

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Hiserman

    Crawford's entrancing style and immense research eloquently brings T.S. Eliot's tortured personal life to the forefront in this biography of the young poet through 1922. Heavy on the intimate details of Eliot's emotional and sexual struggles, but ordered towards a more experience-based and less intellectual account of the development of Eliot's genius. A must-read for all interested in Eliot and his poetry. Crawford's entrancing style and immense research eloquently brings T.S. Eliot's tortured personal life to the forefront in this biography of the young poet through 1922. Heavy on the intimate details of Eliot's emotional and sexual struggles, but ordered towards a more experience-based and less intellectual account of the development of Eliot's genius. A must-read for all interested in Eliot and his poetry.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Thady

    Very interesting insight into the early life of T. S. Eliot - tough read at times due to the level of detail - i hadn't realised Eliot was so young when he wrote Prufrock and The Waste Land - great read for fans of the poet and the times he lived in Very interesting insight into the early life of T. S. Eliot - tough read at times due to the level of detail - i hadn't realised Eliot was so young when he wrote Prufrock and The Waste Land - great read for fans of the poet and the times he lived in

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    I'm interested in everything T.S. Eliot and enjoyed reading more about his interesting life. It covers his fascinating relationship with Bertrand Russel and others. Get's into quite a bit of theory and philosophy that can be tiring at times. I'm interested in everything T.S. Eliot and enjoyed reading more about his interesting life. It covers his fascinating relationship with Bertrand Russel and others. Get's into quite a bit of theory and philosophy that can be tiring at times.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Celia

    I liked this book very much even though I did not know much about his or poetry. Robert Crawford was able to draw a dynamic picture of T.S. Eliot even though Eliot destroyed alot of material from his early years.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Luke Mitchell

    such a wicked biography, extremely well put together

  20. 5 out of 5

    JoJo

    It was OK, but I didn't inspire me to read more about the man or his works which is what I would hope a biography would do. It was OK, but I didn't inspire me to read more about the man or his works which is what I would hope a biography would do.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carl Rollyson

    T.S. Eliot was never young” are the first words of Robert Crawford’s diligent biography, which charts the progress of the renowned poet from his beginnings to the creation of “The Wasteland,” a work that has done much to define the modern age. In “Young Eliot,” Crawford offers a revisionist biography, debunking his own introductory sentence and the general impression of a dour and aged sage decrying the corruption and sterility of a secular epoch, populated by Prufrocks who lack courage and prin T.S. Eliot was never young” are the first words of Robert Crawford’s diligent biography, which charts the progress of the renowned poet from his beginnings to the creation of “The Wasteland,” a work that has done much to define the modern age. In “Young Eliot,” Crawford offers a revisionist biography, debunking his own introductory sentence and the general impression of a dour and aged sage decrying the corruption and sterility of a secular epoch, populated by Prufrocks who lack courage and principle. No hollow man himself, Eliot, even in old age, enjoyed playing pranks with children when he was not rolling up the carpet to dance with his second wife, Valerie. Crawford’s biography has been a long time coming — not only because it is a culmination of his own lifelong study of Eliot, but also because Valerie enforced her husband’s edict that no biography be written. Even so, both Peter Ackroyd and Lyndall Gordon previously produced highly praised unauthorized biographies, both of which Crawford honors. But Crawford is the first biographer to enjoy full access to the Eliot archive, as well as permission to quote from the poet’s work. As a result, he has produced the first volume of a biography that not so much supersedes Ackroyd and Gordon as it amplifies and enriches their contributions to an understanding of the man and the work. Crawford suggests that the earlier biographers were not in a position to do justice to early Eliot because of the paucity of source material. This assertion is true to a certain extent — although in one word, “listless,” the deft Ackroyd sums up what Crawford takes a chapter to say: that the learned poet/critic was actually not driven to excel as a student at Harvard. Similarly, Gordon describes how Eliot “loafed” through the early years of his Harvard studies. Sometimes less is more. All the same, Crawford does a splendid job of evoking Eliot’s St. Louis upbringing, revealing how much of the poet’s character was shaped in his early years: “For all their more recent Unitarianism, the Eliots had inherited a witch-hanging, judgemental Calvinist streak. In later life even when he tried hard not to, Tom could appear a ‘Puritan ascetic.’ ” “Tom,” by the way, is how Eliot appears in Crawford’s book, because that is what everyone in his world called him. Even Eliot adepts will find much to savor in the new material at Robert Crawford’s disposal, an impressive array of sources that he handles with care, if not always with concision.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    This is great if you accept going in that you're pursuing a rather scholarly endeavor. T.S. Eliot was a famously private person who absolutely did not want a biography written about him. Well, t.s., T.S., because when you write some of the most profound poetry ever written, people are going to want to know about your life. That said, there are massive gaps. Eliot destroyed much of his personal records, which makes patching together a proper narrative difficult. Robert Crawford has done his best, This is great if you accept going in that you're pursuing a rather scholarly endeavor. T.S. Eliot was a famously private person who absolutely did not want a biography written about him. Well, t.s., T.S., because when you write some of the most profound poetry ever written, people are going to want to know about your life. That said, there are massive gaps. Eliot destroyed much of his personal records, which makes patching together a proper narrative difficult. Robert Crawford has done his best, but he's a scholar. You get the story of his Eliot's life, but the focus is on the creation of his art rather than a bunch of salacious hot gossip from the most reserved of the Bloomsbury group. Which is to say that things can get a little dull. Oh, he likes boats. Cool. And then seventeen pages about what books he read at Harvard. Also, reading about his sad, horrible marriage gets a little tiresome after a while. Pain begets art, I guess. This is all to say, much of what's here really does help understand the life and mind of the genius who wrote "The Waste Land." If you're into it, go for it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Toby

    Excellent. A first class literary biography which is indispensable for anyone seeking to understand the evolution and imagery of The Waste Land. With a projected second volume, and (one suspects) a combined page total not far shy of 1000 pages this biography is probably for Eliot fanatics rather than casual interest but it's hard to see it being surpassed. Crawford bemoans readers who rush from the Waste Land to the sources and not the biography and he puts a strong case for the personal circums Excellent. A first class literary biography which is indispensable for anyone seeking to understand the evolution and imagery of The Waste Land. With a projected second volume, and (one suspects) a combined page total not far shy of 1000 pages this biography is probably for Eliot fanatics rather than casual interest but it's hard to see it being surpassed. Crawford bemoans readers who rush from the Waste Land to the sources and not the biography and he puts a strong case for the personal circumstances of Eliot's background, mental and sexual health as well as his marriage as the drivers for the poem. That being said, as well as encouraging me to re-read Prufrock and the Waste Land, this book has also encouraged me to return to Dante, Lancelot Andrewes and Marvell among others. Just one tiny error spotted: Myles Coverdale was the first translator of the printed English Bible - not the English Bible itself. Wycliffe's followers had achieved that a century before.

  24. 4 out of 5

    World Literature Today

    "By tracing the arc of Eliot’s life from his St. Louis boyhood to the publication of The Waste Land, Crawford has opened the vaults of Eliot’s memory bank, releasing his myriad influences...Although Crawford has tracked down Eliot’s sources, he presents his findings in a conversational way, as if the reader were in his seminar, and Crawford is sharing his research with colleagues..." - Bernard Dick This book was reviewed in the May/August 2016 issue of World Literature Today magazine. Read the fu "By tracing the arc of Eliot’s life from his St. Louis boyhood to the publication of The Waste Land, Crawford has opened the vaults of Eliot’s memory bank, releasing his myriad influences...Although Crawford has tracked down Eliot’s sources, he presents his findings in a conversational way, as if the reader were in his seminar, and Crawford is sharing his research with colleagues..." - Bernard Dick This book was reviewed in the May/August 2016 issue of World Literature Today magazine. Read the full review by visiting our website: http://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/2...

  25. 5 out of 5

    The American Conservative

    '...this was someone who shocked and entertained his Harvard classmates in the early 1900s by writing dirty ditties about sex, poop, and European monarchs, all set to the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” and later in life would maintain a wry affection for what he liked to describe as “Amurrican culchur,” even as he moved about elite literary and intellectual circles in London and Paris, mixing it up with Ezra Pound and James Joyce and Virginia Woolf and the like.' http://www.theamericanconservativ '...this was someone who shocked and entertained his Harvard classmates in the early 1900s by writing dirty ditties about sex, poop, and European monarchs, all set to the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” and later in life would maintain a wry affection for what he liked to describe as “Amurrican culchur,” even as he moved about elite literary and intellectual circles in London and Paris, mixing it up with Ezra Pound and James Joyce and Virginia Woolf and the like.' http://www.theamericanconservative.co...

  26. 5 out of 5

    False

    T.S. Eliot's life, from birth to The Waste Land. I got bogged down in all of his wife's many illnesses (highly neurotic.) I didn't realize he came from such wealth. You always hear "worked in a bank," but that doesn't even begin to explain. There is material not to be released on him until 2020. I hate when that happens. You wonder if you'll be around to know about it. T.S. Eliot's life, from birth to The Waste Land. I got bogged down in all of his wife's many illnesses (highly neurotic.) I didn't realize he came from such wealth. You always hear "worked in a bank," but that doesn't even begin to explain. There is material not to be released on him until 2020. I hate when that happens. You wonder if you'll be around to know about it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dean

    My favorite quote of Eliot was, "For me philosophy is chiefly literary criticism and conversation about life". Always try to continue to relearn and reread great authors and what they had to say about life through their art and about art through their life. Now time to reread, "The Waste Land" and the "The Love Song Prufrock". My favorite quote of Eliot was, "For me philosophy is chiefly literary criticism and conversation about life". Always try to continue to relearn and reread great authors and what they had to say about life through their art and about art through their life. Now time to reread, "The Waste Land" and the "The Love Song Prufrock".

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Engle

    This magnificent literary analysis and poetic biography charts the beginnings of T.S. Eliot among the Eliots of St. Louis, through his studies in philosophy at Harvard, to his metamorphosis in London as both poet and critic, despite the scarcity of background materials ... articulate and knowledgable ... the fulfillment of the author's promise of a second volume is eagerly awaited ... This magnificent literary analysis and poetic biography charts the beginnings of T.S. Eliot among the Eliots of St. Louis, through his studies in philosophy at Harvard, to his metamorphosis in London as both poet and critic, despite the scarcity of background materials ... articulate and knowledgable ... the fulfillment of the author's promise of a second volume is eagerly awaited ...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    This book is thorough, well-researched and nicely written; I imagine it will be the authoritative biography of Eliot for a generation. I do wish there had been more at the end about the "event" that was the publication of The Waste Land; I look forward to the next volume. This book is thorough, well-researched and nicely written; I imagine it will be the authoritative biography of Eliot for a generation. I do wish there had been more at the end about the "event" that was the publication of The Waste Land; I look forward to the next volume.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    This is a detailed biography of Eliot's early life up to the publication of The Wasteland. This is a detailed biography of Eliot's early life up to the publication of The Wasteland.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.