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Young Eliot: From St. Louis to The Waste…
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Young Eliot: From St. Louis to The Waste Land (2015)

by Robert Crawford

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Crawford has delivered an astonishing literary biography. Crawford is clearly enamored with his subject yet manages to maintain a remarkable balance of both affection and cold analysis. The book is a fascinating mix of gossip and literary scholarship. The sheer effort to decode and dissect Eliot's early influences is nothing short of remarkable. I cannot imagine in the future recommending Eliot's poems without mentioning this work in the same breath.

Equally deft is the author's sensitive yet smart portrait of the extremely complicated figure of Vivienne Eliot, one-half of one of the most interesting marriages in literary history. Vivienne is a difficult figure to capture and Crawford succeeds by never trying to pin her down as villain, vixen or witch.

Crawford's Eliot was a man both strange and normal, ordinary and extraordinary, doomed and saved. He is hard to like, yet endearing. ( )
  byebyelibrary | Jan 16, 2016 |
The first biography permitted to quote extensively from Eliot’s language, Young Eliot finally brings the poet’s life-defining gift into the story.
 
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"A biography of T. S. Eliot from his birth in St. Louis in 1888 to his publication of The Waste Land in 1922"--

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