How can they keep it up? Such is one’s immediate reaction to this volume, which takes eight hundred pages to cover one year of Eliot’s life and correspondence, leaving, at that rate, a further thirty-six volumes to come. Surely neither the publishers nor the reading public will last the course. Meanwhile, what we all urgently need, and were promised by Johns Hopkins in 2006 and by Faber in 2009—a properly annotated print edition of Eliot’s complete prose, only an estimated 10 percent of which has ever been collected—seems to have stalled, if not worse. The notes to these letters remind us how much of Eliot’s work lies buried in the files of magazines. With the death, in November 2012, of Valerie Eliot—to whose dedication this volume now becomes a memorial—things are unlikely to move more quickly.

Among more familiar writings, these years saw the appearance of...


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