It was largely thanks to John Middleton Murry that T. S. Eliot was invited to give the prestigious Clark Lectures at Cambridge in 1926, and largely thanks to A. L. Rowse’s indiscreet loan of Poems 1909–1925 to a high-minded colleague that Eliot failed to be elected to a fellowship at All Souls, Oxford, where he could have fulfilled his intention to turn the lectures into a proper book. He never did so, and although they have been referred to and deferred to in the books of others for over sixty years, they only now appear in print, edited and annotated with exemplary meticulousness by Ronald Schuchard. They are followed by the Turnbull Lectures Eliot gave at Johns Hopkins in 1933, which were a scaled-down version of the Clark Lectures with one or two additional passages. Even by 1926 Eliot’s most influential early essays—including “The Metaphysical Poets” and “Andrew Marvell,” in which his ideas had been...


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