In this magisterial volume, first published in 1932, Eliot gathered his choice of the miscellaneous reviews and literary essays he had written since 1917, when he became assistant editor of The Egoist. In his preface to the third edition in 1951 he wrote: 'For myself this book is a kind of historical record of my interests and opinions.' The text includes some of his most important criticism, especially parts of The Sacred Wood, Homage to John Dryden, the essays on Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatist, For Lancelot Andrewes and Essays Ancient and Modern.
Eliot's criticism is every bit as influential and important as his poetry, bringing to light hidden riches from the literary past which had hitherto been obscured by the Victorian age's taste for the monumental and the correct. This is a reissue of Eliot's own choice of his literary essays, first published in 1951, 'a kind of historical record of my interests and opinions'. The volume opens with his seminal essay, 'Tradition and the Individual Talent', which brilliantly reveals the inadequacy of the romantic ideal of the divinely inspired poet, arguing instead for the importance of the tradition within which the poet is working. Also included are his famous essays 'The Metaphysical Poets', which revived the reputation of these hitherto neglected 17th-century poets, and 'Four Elizabethan Dramatists', which led to plays such as The Duchess of Malfi being once again performed and enjoyed. Eliot's ideas continue to dazzle and enlighten readers to this day. (Kirkus UK)