Selected Essays, 1917-1932 is a collection of prose and literary criticism by T. S. Eliot. Eliot's work fundamentally changed literary thinking and Selected Essays provides both an overview and an in-depth examination of his theory. It was published in 1932 by his employers, Faber & Faber, costing 12/6 (2009: £32).
In addition to his poetry, by 1932, Eliot was already accepted as one of English Literature's most important critics. In this position he was instrumental in the reviving interest in the long‐neglected Jacobean playwrights.A Dialogue on Dramatic Poetry was originally an addendum to Eliot's preface to Dryden's Essay of Dramatick Poesie (1928 reprint). Further essays include The Metaphysical Poets (1921) in which Eliot argued that a "dissociation of sensibility" set in... due to the influence of ... Milton and Dryden. Furthermore the modern poet ‘must be difficult’... ‘to force, to dislocate if necessary, language into his meaning’.Philip Massinger (1920) contains his aphorism "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal".
Eliot converted to the Church of England and some of the essays expressed the form and discipline he felt necessary for fulfillment in his own life.For Lancelot Andrewes (1926), examines Andrewes, a 17th-century Anglican bishop whose Eliot considers an important figure in history of the church, distinguished for the quality of his thoughts and prose. In The Humanism of Irving Babbitt (1927), Eliot posits that Babbitt's faith in civilization must have a discipline derived from dogmatic religious authority.
Selected Essays was placed fourth in the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's Fifty Best Books of the Century and sixth in Modern Library's Best 20th-Century Nonfiction.
- Lancelot Andrewes (1926)
- John Bramhall (1927)
- Thoughts after Lambeth (1931)
- ^BookRags: Selected Essays of T. S. Eliot, 1917-1932 Study Guide
- ^The Times, 16 September 1932; Some New Books
- ^Eliot, T[homas] S[tearns]" The Oxford Companion to American Theatre, 3rd edn., Gerald Bordman and Thomas S. Hischak, eds., Oxford University Press 2004.
- ^Richard Badenhausen T.S. Eliot and the art of collaborationCambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-521-84123-2
- ^ ab"T. S. Eliot" Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. by Elizabeth Knowles. Oxford University Press Inc. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.
- ^"Eliot, T. S." The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Edited by Dinah Birch. Oxford University Press Inc.
- ^Eliot, T[homas] S[tearns]" The Oxford Companion to American Literature. James D. Hart, ed., rev. Phillip W. Leininger. Oxford University Press 1995
- ^ ab"For Lancelot Andrewes" The Oxford Companion to American Literature. James D. Hart, ed., rev. Phillip W. Leininger. Oxford University Press 1995
- ^100 Best Nonfiction —Modern Library
William Carlos Williams (1883–1963) was a poet, short-story writer, novelist and essayist whose importance to the subsequent development of modern American poetry in the twentieth century grew out of his commitment to recording the “local” experience of Rutherford, New Jersey and its environs. From 1909 until the early 1930s, Williams’s poetry appeared in small journals and specialist editions, but the founding of New Directions by James Laughlin brought the author and young publisher together, and Williams subsequently published the majority of his remaining life’s work with Laughlin’s company. Williams’s career as a poet was supported by his full-time career as a practising physician in his hometown of Rutherford, and his poetry sought to capture the rhythms of the speech he heard around him. His fiction and short stories were also rooted in his local environment, as demonstrated by his Stecher trilogy of novels, beginning with White Mule, which first published by New Directions in 1937 only a year after the company was founded. In this and the subsequent volumes, In the Money (1940) and The Build-up (1952), Williams recounts the lives and speech of working-class immigrant families growing up in New York. Laughlin, who in 1937 described Williams as “the cornerstone of New Directions,” sought to bring out a collection of Williams’s poetry under one cover, an ambition which saw the Complete Collected Poems appear in 1938, before New Directions also published a collected edition of Williams’s later poetry in The Collected Later Poems (1950). Both works formed the inspiration for New Directions’ later scholarly editions of Williams’s collected poems in two volumes, The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume I, 1909–1939, edited by A. Walton Litz and Christopher MacGowan, and Volume II, 1939–1962, edited by Christopher MacGowan, which appeared in 1986 and 1988 respectively. As a modernist poet guided in his early work by the goading and friendship of his college friend and fellow New Directions stalwart, Ezra Pound, Williams’s innovative and experimental poetry and prose also found a home under Laughlin’s wing. In 1946 New Directions published the first volume of a prospective four volume long poem entitled Paterson, the subsequent books appearing in 1948, 1949, 1951, before a fifth book appeared in 1958. A revised edition of Williams’s Paterson, edited by Christopher MacGowan, was published in 1992, and these remarkable editions completed the scholarly overhaul of Williams’s poetry undertaken by New Directions throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. His classic of literary Americana and creative non-fiction, In the American Grain (1952) was recently reissued with a new introduction by Rick Moody, and a facsimile edition of the first publication of Spring and All (Paris,1923) was just published with a new introduction by C.D. Wright.
[New Directions would like to thank Professor Ian Copestake for contributing this biography.]