"Research reveals the rich and varied cultural and intellectual experiences available to an eager young Thomas Stearns Eliot during the year he spent in Paris: Wagnerian opera, the Ballets Russes, music of Stravinsky and Beethoven, Bergson's philosophy, exhibits of Cubist paintings, the intellectual ferment in the pages of La Nouvelle Revue Française. This is a remarkable work of intellectual biography and cultural history."--Benjamin G. Lockerd Jr., Grand Valley State University
"Hargrove has demonstrated beyond refutation the formative significance of the year Eliot spent in Paris, and she has done so with a wealth of documentation that will enable other scholars to build on her achievements."--Cyrena N. Pondrom, University of WisconsinMadison
After graduating from Harvard in 1910, T. S. Eliot spent a year in Paris, and his experiences there had a profound and lasting influence upon his life and his work. Even so, most scholars and biographers ignore it, mention it only in passing, or, in rare cases, dismiss it as a typical post-graduation year any wealthy student of the time could have had.
Nancy Hargrove sets the record straight on just how vitally important this period was for the young man. She meticulously re-creates the city and discusses in detail how pre-war Parisian culture influenced the works Eliot later produced. Hers is the first in-depth study of this crucial but largely overlooked year in the life of the artist, and reveals the complex repercussions it had on his literary career.
Nancy Duvall Hargrove, author of Landscape as Symbol in the Poetry of T. S. Eliot, is William L. Giles Distinguished Professor Emerita of English at Mississippi State University.