Manju Jain's innovative study of T. S. Eliot's Harvard years traces the genesis of his major literary, religious and intellectual preoccupations in his early work as a student of philosophy, and explores its influence on his poetic and critical practice. His concerns were located within the mainstream of Harvard philosophical debates, especially in relation to the controversy of science versus religion. These questions (and Eliot's work as he grappled with them) point forward to important debates in contemporary philosophy and hermeneutics. Drawing extensively on unpublished sources, Manju Jain offers answers to the questions of why Eliot failed to find satisfaction in an academic career devoted to philosophy, and why he abandoned the speculations of metaphysics for the dogmas of theology.
"Manju Jain does a remarkable job showing how serious Eliot really was about philosophy, and how much talent he had in this area. Jain provides a strikingly comprehensive bibliography, as well as an appendix listing the courses Eliot took while at Harvard. This is an excellent starting point for study of his writings, and from Jain's portrayal there seems to be a great deal of interesting material waiting to be discovered. Besides cultivating an interest in looking at Eliot's work as a philosopher, her book also shows the depth of the turn of the century philosophical milieu at Harvard...Manju Jain has opened the door to an exciting new range of possibilities." Matthew Stephens, Canadian Philosophical Reviews