Schuchard's critical study draws upon previously unpublished and uncollected materials in showing how T.S. Eliot's personal voice works through the sordid, the bawdy, the blasphemous, and the horrific to create a unique moral world and the only theory of moral criticism in English literature. The book also erodes conventional attitudes toward Eliot's intellectual and spiritual development, showing how early and consistently his classical and religious sensibility manifests itself in his poetry and criticism. The book examines his reading, his teaching, his bawdy poems, and his life-long attraction to music halls and other modes of popular culture to show the complex relation between intellectual biography and art.
"[The book] will be essential reading for professional scholars and critics writing about Eliot for some time to come....A treasure trove of information about Eliot's life and art....Empirical discoveries are rare indeed in literary criticism...Schuchard's discovery and publication of these documents revealed how much the young Eliot's famous critical pronouncements and poetic allusions owed to his routine class preparations....The definitive statement on
Eliot's brief teaching career and its crucial relation to his development as a writer....Reconstructs Eliot's pop-cultural frame of reference in the 1910s and '20s. His love of the latest joke, the latest dance craze, and the latest outrage on middle-class sensibilities perpetrated by one visiting
Continental avant-gardist or another enabled Eliot to tune his poetry to the zeitgeist, even as his private yearnings toward a medieval Christian faith tormented him."--Review
"A work of literary criticism that actually lives up to the puffs on the dust jacket: `Beautifully written and exhaustively researched...it is essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in Eliot."--Virginia Quarterly Review
"What a book! Ronald Schuchard...has the audacity to write with uncompromising clarity, skill and grace....Congratulate him, for in Eliot's Angel: Intersections of Life and Art Schuchard has produced the best critical work on T.S. Eliot I have read in over a decade, and certainly one of the top half dozen in the behemoth canon of critical sorties into Eliot terrain....It is a milestone in Eliot criticism."--Christianity and Literature
"The most unique aspect of this excellent work is Schuchard's inclusion of previously unpublished materials reflecting T.S. Eliot's teaching activity--particularly the valuable, detailed syllabi for several courses he taught towards the end of World War I...."--Choice