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

Selected Essays 1917–1932 (1932)


*V. Sackville-West.

"Books of the Week."

Listener 8 (28 September

1932), 461.

[ … ]

[T]o the fastidious reader I would now like to recommend the Selected Essays of T. S. Eliot. These essays are chosen by Mr. Eliot himself out of work done by him since the year 1917, and I recommend them not because I delude myself into the belief that Mr. Eliot will ever find appreciation among a very large number of people, but because I honestly believe him to stand among the most acute of contemporary critics, and certainly among the most notable of contemporary poets. I think, therefore, that I should be guilty of dishonesty towards myself and towards you if I failed to draw your attention to this book of essays, however stiff you may find it to read. I do not say that you will enjoy it; you certainly will not, unless you happen to have an austere and scholarly taste, akin to the taste of Mr. Eliot himself. You may find, indeed, that it leaves you feeling as though you had bitten into a sloe; and if you have ever bitten into a sloe you will know what I mean—as though your mouth were all dried up suddenly by a strangely astringent juice. Mr. Eliot's criticism has this astringent quality. It is severe and dry. It is restrained and unemotional; above all, it is not in the least picturesque. It makes no concessions to the popular taste.

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T. S. Eliot
  • Online ISBN: 9780511485466
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