T.S. Eliot Editorial Project

Lead Research Organisation: University of London
Department Name: Inst of English Studies

Abstract

The purpose of the T. S. Eliot Editorial Project is to co-ordinate, for the first time, the editing of the poetry, plays, critical writings, and correspondence of perhaps the pre-eminent and most influential writer of the twentieth century.

Since Eliot's death in 1965 his oeuvre has had only a partial, unsatisfactory afterlife. While the unpublished Clark and Turnbull lectures, _The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry_, were published in 1993, establishing appropriate textual principles and annotational standards for such materials, a large amount of his published prose has gone out of print. Moreover, a remarkably extensive number of prose pieces, ranging from essays and lectures to introductions and reviews, and contributions to debates on questions as varied as literature, religion, politics, education, publishing and cultural commentary, have never been collected for the world-wide readership that aspires to enjoy access to a complete and annotated edition of his works.

While portions of Eliot's poetry -- notably _Inventions of the March Hare_ (1996) -- have been issued in full-dress scholarship, the majority of the poems have not yet been edited to a standard that will meet the expectations of scholar, student and general reader. The same holds true for the plays.

With the commitment and support of the T. S. Eliot Estate and Faber and Faber, this Project will ensure that no fewer than six volumes -- _Complete Poems_ (2 vols), _Complete Plays_ (1 vol), _Complete Prose_ (2 of an envisaged 7 vols), together with a third volume of the _Collected Letters_ (covering the period 1926-1928), edited or co-edited by UK-based scholars -- will be delivered for publication by the year 2012. Because the Project brings together the work of dedicated team of scholars, editors and critics, under the academic management of the Institute of English Studies (Director, Professor Warwick Gould) at the University of London, all of the volumes can be delivered in quick order, and at about the same time.

Concerted and co-ordinated effort is the key to the success of this enterprise. The editors will work in partnership, agreeing upon conventions including abbreviations and modes of cross-reference, and sharing findings as needed. The volumes will correspond too in terms of presentation, apparatus and supplementary materials including collations, draft variants and appendices. The project participants will be making use of unprecedented and shared access to the archival resources (both the library and a wealth of papers) of the collections of Mrs Valerie Eliot and of Faber & Faber, and will also share exclusive access to Professor Schuchard's digital database of the prose writings.

The outcome of this combined enterprise will be to establish authoritative and fully co-ordinated editions of the poetry, plays, prose and letters of the highest textual accuracy. At long last, it will enable readers to see Eliot whole: the tally of his works will include over 200 printed but unrecorded prose pieces and 90 unpublished prose items. Scholarly notes will identify sources, allusions and parallels. Also, by providing access to the totality of published and unpublished works, it will facilitate a fresh and thorough critical assessment of Eliot as poet, critic, playwright, publisher, correspondent and cultural commentator. In addition, this collective edition will situate Eliot's works in their genetic, generic and artistic relation to one another. Eliot himself noted, in a late interview: '_Burnt Norton_ began with bits that had to be cut out of _Murder in the Cathedral_.' He also took pains to make the larger critical point that 'writing plays ... made a difference to the writing of the _Four Quartets_.' This Project will accordingly afford a context for comprehending the relationship between the poems and plays and all associated works, and it will facilitate the fullest appreciation and critical comprehension of Eliot's work.
 
Description The edition published in 2015 in both the UK and the USA as The Poems of T. S. Eliot, ed. Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue (the latter having been funded full-time for three years by this AHRC award) is universally regarded as the most authoritative edition of Eliot's poetry ever to be published: a world leader in critical and editorial scholarship; a model of textual research. It was nominated in numerous national newspapers as 'Book of the Year' 2012, and has been awarded the prestigious Pegasus Award by the Poetry Foundation of the USA.

The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition (published online by the Johns Hopkins University Press in formal association with Faber & Faber Ltd) has been equally celebrated by critics and scholars for the range and depth of its scholarship; for establishing a definitive text of the totality of Eliot's prose writings, including volumes, individual essays and reviews, introductions and prefaces, and extending to the discovery of many hundreds of mislaid or previously unknown essays and related prose writings. Twentieth-Century Literature (March 2016) wrote: 'With these editions, the importance of the project is self-evident ... the power to change understanding or assessments of Eliot.' The noted critic Timothy Materer wrote in Modernism/modernity that this edition of the prose 'will enlarge our understanding of Eliot's poetry and criticism ... When completed, the eight volumes will be a major resource for the digital age of scholarship.' The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the edition 'will set in motion a golden era of Eliot scholarship.'

The final volume (of eight in all) of the Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition will be appearing online by mid-2019. This total output includes volume 7, co-edited by Javadi (award-holder), which was published online in January 2019.

The edition of The Plays of T. S. Eliot, ed. Haffenden, is scheduled for publication by Faber and Faber in late 2020. This postponement has been agreed with the Estate of T. S. Eliot and the publishers Faber & Faber in order to take full research account of Eliot's extensive correspondence (ca. 1300 letters) with his intimate friend Emily Hale -- Eliot is reliably believed to have discussed his plays and productions with Hale (who was herself an actor and producer of plays) -- which can be made available for research by Princeton University only on 2 January 2020. This single-volume edition of the plays could not properly be released until full stock has been taken of those restricted letters. The plays are edited by Professor John Haffenden, Principal Investigator of the T. S. Eliot Research Project, and therefore this segment of the project was not specifically funded by the AHRC.

The edition of The Letters of T. S. Eliot, under the general editorship of the Principal Investigator John Haffenden, has been carried forward well beyond the specific scope of the award. Volume 8, covering the period 1936-1938, was published in January 2019. The series has been widely applauded for gathering up the totality of Eliot's correspondence with authoritative annotation, and for hugely enlarging public and academic understanding of Eliot's life and work. The senior academic Stefan Collini has written in the 'London Review of Books' (30 Aug. 2012): '[Eliot's] letters have benefited from enormously thorough yet judicious editing. The installation of John Haffenden as general editor of this sometimes vexed edition has brought a new level of authority and precision to the annotation and other editorial matter.' Letters necessarily omitted from the published volumes (published by Faber and Faber in the UK, and by Yale University Press in the USA, are now published on the official website of the T. S. Eliot Estate: tseliot.com. The record is therefore being made complete.

Additional notices illuminate the kinds and value of the key findings in this developing edition of the poet's letters:
John Carey, Sunday Times, June 2012: 'superbly capacious and informative notes ... turn this volume, in effect, into a wonderfully illuminating chapter of biography rather than a collection of letters. The editing is a marvel from start to finish, and Eliot, even at his most critical, would surely have applauded it.'

Philip Hensher, The Spectator, 30 June 2012:
'The editing of the Eliot letters is exemplary in its detail, authority and quality of annotation. It is the closest thing to a perfect edition of a great writer's correspondence that can be imagined. There are few collected literary correspondences of this quality now emerging in English The editing, annotation and production is of an extraordinarily high standard.'

Gabriel Josipovici, Times Literary Supplement, 2 November 2012: 'This is a wonderful volume. The notes are copious but always to the point, and include not only extracts from later letters we might have to wait a long time to see published in full, but also invaluable accounts of how Eliot's contemporaries saw him at the time.'

Juliet Nicolson, Sunday Times 'Books of the Year', 24 Nov. 2012:
'The Letters of T. S. Eliot Volume 3: 1926-1927 moved me deeply. This last selection under the impressive joint editorship of John Haffenden with Eliot's second wife Valerie includes the unfolding tragedy of Eliot's first marriage.'

David Sexton, 'Books of the Year', Evening Standard, 29 November 2012:
'The Letters of T. S. Eliot Volume 3 1926-1927, impeccably edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden, have provided new insights into the great poet in the years when he was editing the Criterion, writing Sweeney Agonistes and the Ariel poems and converting to Anglicanism, as well as still attempting life with his wife, Vivien.'

Paul Batchelor, Saturday Guardian, 14 July 2012: 'meticulous footnotes'.

The Rt Revd Lord Harries, Church Times, 31 Aug. 2012:
'excellent footnotes and biographical details of correspondents'

Mark Ford, The New York Review of Books, 25 Oct. 2012:
'The inclusion of numerous letters by Eliot's family and friends, and the extensive footnotes that excerpt liberally from missives received, as well as explicating all references and offering useful mini-biographies of every potential Criterion contributor Eliot ever contacted, mean these volumes provide an exhaustively detailed picture of the circumstances in which Eliot's correspondence, and his criticism and his poems, were written. The decision also allows for a range of different perspectives on the Eliots' problems.'

Volume 4:
Juliet Nicolson, Daily Telegraph, 19 Jan. 2013: 'In the fourth volume of these enlightening and occasionally electrifying letters, the two conflicting stories that dominate T. S. Eliot's life are gradually revealed with poignant and often painful clarity hundreds of superbly enhancing footnotes pack this volume
'There is a particular bleakness attached to this latest lengthy addition to the Eliot biography. This is the last volume that will benefit from the editorship of Valerie Eliot Her intimate knowledge of her enigmatic husband makes her presence here ubiquitous, especially in the selection of footnotes, the exemplary biographical register and the detailed summary of chronological events all of which ensure the reader is looked after with meticulous care the impressive scholarship of her co-editor John Haffenden'

Lesley McDowell, The Independent on Sunday, 13 Jan. 2013:
'this full disclosure of a writing life is quite invaluable.'

Adam Mars-Jones, The Observer, 10 Jan. 2013:
'The letters are fully and helpfully annotated'

Volume 8:
Tim Adams, The Observer, 3 February 2019: 'The publication of the correspondence of T S Eliot is one of the more formidable literary undertakings of our time... The task of editing and glossing and footnoting has been (since the death of Eliot's widow, Valerie, in 2012) the work of the indefatigable John Haffenden. The pace of production, 7,600 pages in 10 years, is impressive. The only comparable effort, the processing of the complete correspondence of Bertrand Russell ... has long submerged a battalion of editors at McMaster University in Canada, with no end in sight.'

David Sexton, Evening Standard, 17 January 2019:
'This immense edition of the correspondence of the greatest poet of his time is now entering its second decade. Covering just three years, this volume amounts to 1,100 pages, bringing the total so far published to a little over 7,600 pages... The indefatigable, exemplary editor, John Haffenden, has posted the letters he chose not to include in each volume on a website, tseliot.com, and for these years alone there are hundreds of them... Taken together, these letters are little less than a lesson in conduct, a kind of tireless poise, a demonstration of grace under pressure.'
Exploitation Route A huge new wave of Eliot scholarship and criticism is already developing worldwide on the back of these exceptional critical editions. So is the reading by scholars and students, and by non-specialist readers, leading to a better, much more informed understanding of the life and works of T. S. Eliot.

The publication of the complete Poems of T. S. Eliot, ed. Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue (award-holder), and the accessibility of the seven volumes (out of a planned total of 8) of the Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition has generated the new _T. S. Eliot Studies Annual_, which solicits essays based on the prose, poetry and letters volumes; and professional societies are calling for conference papers based on previously uncollected and unpublished prose: the MLA, MSA, ALA, and the T. S. Eliot Societies of the US and UK. Scholars worldwide are using these editions not only for research but for their teaching (the poetry has been purchased by libraries and individuals all over the world, and all of the prose pieces can be downloaded by students). The edition of the complete prose writings of T. S. Eliot, together with the poems and letters, is bringing about a tremendous resurgence of scholarly activity: since 2014, the annual bibliographies for 2015 and 2016 show a dramatic increase in the number of dissertations, articles, and books on or including Eliot, plus the publication of several casebooks with new scholarly essays published by OUP, Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Blackwell's. Students of the T. S. Eliot Summer School, now in its eleventh year, are afforded free access to the online edition of the prose for a month and receive instruction in digital research. Johns Hopkins University Press also provides one-month free access to attendees of the annual conferences of the T. S. Eliot Society of the US and the UK; such accessibility and training results in students asking their institutions to subscribe if they have not already done so. We have had numerous reviews of the first six volumes of the prose, all very positive. It is clear that the Eliot Editorial Project has had and is having an enormous impact on Eliot studies and teaching since its multi-genre volumes began appearing in good time between 2009 and 2019.
Sectors Education,Other

URL http://tseliot.com
 
Description Scholarship; English literature education; cultural and critical studies. The total number of individual subscriptions to the digital resource The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot is not to be known (information reserved to publisher), but I understand that there have been more than 300 international institutional subscriptions (higher than anticipated). Harding's essay 'T. S. Eliot's Shakespeare' (Essays in Criticism 62 [2012], 160-77) was top ranked as the 'most-read' article on the OUP Essays in Criticism home page from June 2012 to February 2013. The essay was praised by the esteemed scholar James Shapiro (author of '1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear') as 'far and away the best thing out there on Eliot and Shakespeare, and I suspect will be for a very long while.' Sales figures for volumes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the Letters of T S Eliot (published in the UK by Faber and Faber Ltd, and in the USA by Yale University Press) are not officially available, but certainly run into the several thousands. The Poems of T. S. Eliot: The Annotated Edition, edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue (supported by the AHRC), was published in two volumes by Faber and Faber, London, in November 2015, and by the Johns Hopkins University Press in the USA at the same date. The UK edition has already gone through three impressions; and it is my understanding that to date (March 2019), sales in the UK for volume 1 run to over 12,000 copies, for volume 2 to nearly 8,000 copies. The paperback volume sales (2018) have run to: over 900 for volume 1; nearly 700 for volume 2. Ebook sales: vol 1: more than 350; vol 2: nearly 200. The two volumes of Poems of T S Eliot have both also been published in Canada (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); the USA (Johns Hopkins University Press); Spain (Visor Libros); and Ukraine (Navchaina Knyha). Reviews of this magnificent publication of Eliot's poems (as of February 2016) include the following: 'Anyone who cares about literature will be grateful for [this] feat of editing.' Leo Robson, New Statesman 'A treasure chest, not only delivering poetry never seen or collected before but with wonderfully responsive and suggestive annotation and commentary - it'll take years to assimilate, years of pleasure.' Evening Standard 'I suspect [it] will be my book of the decade.' Spectator '[An] extraordinary feat of Eliot scholarship is the two-volume annotated edition of Eliot's poems put together by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue . . . Every possible allusion is tracked and quoted, and the Possum's labyrinthine echo-chamber of a mind is laid out for our contemplation in its full, baffling entirety.' Mark Ford, TLS 'A great edition does not set its texts in stone, but transplants them, so to speak, to a new soil Ricks and McCue give us Eliot in all his guises and masks, in which his identity as a poet coheres. The texts are scrupulously sifted, and the editors' decisions, even where contestable, rest on reasoned grounds. The densely packed notes sparkle; Eliot's allusiveness, in particular is traced to sublime effect.' Daniel Karlin, TLS 'The ultimate scholarly edition of Eliot's poetry . . . It is a colossal achievement' Claire Lowdon, TLS 'Truly the texts here (cleaned up, restored, unearthed) are a feast, and so is the scholarship that surrounds them.' Andrew Motion, Guardian 'These volumes are not merely a monument to T S Eliot, they are a blazing demonstration of what literary criticism, at its best, can do for literature.' Financial Times 'The editors, Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue, have built a vast and fascinating world out of their annotation.' Daily Telegraph 'Volume one contains 346 pages of poems to 965 of commentary. In the second volume, notes follow text on a poem-by-poem basis, but their combined 290 pages is still outweighed by a 367-page "textual history". It is a monumental achievement, and one that frames important and timely questions about the state of Eliot's reputation.' David Wheatley, Guardian 'This meticulously produced edition succeeds magnificently in being what Eliot - a literary critic with the most exacting standards - would have wanted: all his verse, comic and serious, printed in one place, and illuminated for readers by one of the great labours of modern scholarship.' Jeremy Noel-Todd, Sunday Times J. McCue gave an invited lecture, 'T. S. Eliot: Realism and Reality', at the National Portrait Gallery, London, on 16 March 2017.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Education
Impact Types Cultural

 
Title The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: digital resource 
Description This fully searchable, integrative database edition of the complete lifetime prose of the poet and critic T. S. Eliot is being made available to subscribers in a total of eight volumes (two of which have appeared this year, 2014, with the remainder being released in pairs in successive years ending in 2017). It is a comprehensively critical edition, gathering up a wealth of collected, uncollected and unpublished prose writings, and dramatically expanding access to material that has been restricted or inaccessible in private and institutional collections for almost fifty years. It includes essays, reviews, lectures, commentaries, letters to editors; unsigned, unidentified essays published in the New Statesman and elsewhere; unpublished pieces including addresses from various archives; and transcripts of broadcasts, speeches, endorsements and memorial tributes. Each item is textually edited and annotated, and cross-referenced. The volumes, published in chronological sequence, are being published on Project MUSE, with an archival print edition to be published once all eight volumes have been released. Visit: muse.jhu.edu/about/reference/eliot/ 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Scholars, students and general readers stand to benefit to a remarkable degree from the wealth of this resource, since it gathers up for the first time, in one place, all of the prose writings of one of the most prolific, eminent and influential writers of the twentieth century. Since it will ultimately include not only all of the published essays and monographs, but also more than 700 uncollected and 150 unpublished pieces from 1905 to 1965, this database resource will unquestionably give rise to a major reassessment of Eliot's primary place in the literary-critical, creative, sociological, spiritual and artistic milieu of the twentieth-century. This will enable us comprehensively to re-evaluate Eliot's standing as one of the three or four most important and influential British writers of the modern period; and it will open up new dimensions of the literary history itself. 
URL http://muse.jhu.edu/about/reference/eliot/
 
Description The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition 
Organisation Faber & Faber
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This edition, under the general editorship of Professor Ronald Schuchard (Emory University), which is appearing online in a series of eight volumes (seven volumes published to date, and the final volume is about to go to press in 2019), forms a key element of the AHRC Award: under the terms of the award, Harding and Javadi were funded for three years on a full-time basis, 2009-12 -- both scholars have now completed their work, and the two respective volumes funded by the AHRC have been published.
Collaborator Contribution The partnership proposed that Faber & Faber Ltd would publish in printed form this edition of the annotated prose in the UK, and Johns Hopkins University Press in the USA. However, as reported to the AHRC in 2012, Faber and Faber decided in 2012 not to proceed to bring out this edition in the UK (though they have continued to make the resources of the Faber Archive and the T. S. Eliot Archive available to Professor Schuchard and his team). The upshot is that this edition is appearing only in the digital (subscription) form published by Project Muse of the Johns Hopkins University Press, and Faber & Faber remains formally the co-publisher.
Impact The partnership with Faber & Faber Ltd has proved purposive and brilliantly fruitful in bringing out in the UK the award-winning Poems of T. S. Eliot, ed. Ricks and McCue (2 volumes, published in November 2015) and the Letters of T. S. Eliot (8 volumes to date, with volume 7 having appeared in November 2018 and volume 8 in January 2019). The Plays of T. S. Eliot, ed. Haffenden, is to be published by Faber & Faber in 2019. The Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition, ed. Schuchard with co-editors including Harding and Javadi, is not being brought out in the UK by Faber & Faber.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Launch event for publication of The Poems of T. S. Eliot 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Editorial Project researcher Jim McCue participated with Professor Christopher Ricks in a presentation of the editorial methodology and editorial findings of the Poems of T S Eliot. The event sparked enormous interest and many questions from the floor. Many copies of the published volume were sold and signed at the door.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2015
 
Description T. S. Eliot International Summer School, & term seminars 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Presentations, talks and discussion, both after lectures and after seminar presentations, stimulated intense interest in the funded research project and its outcomes. In particular, the presentations (in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) on the digital resource of the Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot, led by Professor Ronald Schuchard and his funded colleagues, plus American university collaborators and representatives from Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, sparked immense interest and lively debates and suggestions for improvement of the online facilities. This kind of feedback has I believe proved invaluable to both academic editors and the publisher-editorial technicians, and to a proportionate increase in usefulness and usability of the digital resource. Haffenden delivered the plenary Memorial Lecture at the T S Eliot International Conference at St Louis, Missouri, in September 2017.

The most useful outcome of all the lectures and seminars that have run hand-in-hand with the editorial work over five years and more has been a huge access of awareness of the known and potential users (specialist scholars and the general public) of the products we have been working on. We have made students and general readers aware of the outcomes we are working towards, and those end-users have contributed to the full to our understanding of our audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2008,2009,2010,2011
URL http://www.ies.sas.ac.uk/study-training/research-training-summer-schools/ts-eliot-international-summ...