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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: March 2010

The Confidential Clerk (1954)


*Henry Hewes.

"T. S. Eliot—Confidential


Saturday Review 36

(29 August 1953), 26–28.

T. S. Eliot, whose unquestioned merit as a poet, playwright, and essayist has been officially recognized by Her Majesty with an O.M. (Order of Merit), is this week unveiling his fourth full-length play in eighteen years. Titled The Confidential Clerk, it opens at the Edinburgh Festival, moves on to Newcastle, and finally arrives in London in mid-September. A fortnight before embarking for Caledonia the distinguished writer granted me an hour-and-a-half interview—an extremely thoughtful dispensation, for in addition to the normal stress that every playwright must face in the crucial rehearsal period Mr. Eliot was continuing to punch the clock three days a week at the publishing offices of Faber and Faber, Ltd.

“Now let's see,” he began, shoving his hands deep in his pockets and bowing his head a bit, “I mustn't say too much about this play, as I want the audience to make up its own mind. If I say I intended such-and-such, then people will feel they have to find just that in it. But, really, if a play is any good it ought to have a great deal in it that its author doesn't completely understand.”

Although The Confidential Clerk's director, Martin Browne, has publicly announced that the play is “a modern comedy lighter in tone than any of his previous plays,” the playwright even refuses to define it as either comedy or tragedy.

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T. S. Eliot
  • Online ISBN: 9780511485466
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