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wasteland wasted

May 14, 2010

[TLS] February 1915 found T. S. Eliot in Oxford and a quandary: “The great need is to know one’s own mind, and I don’t know that: whether I want to get married, and have a family, and live in America all my life, and compromise and conceal my opinions and forfeit my independence for the sake of my children’s future”. On June 26 of that year, he married Vivien Haigh-Wood in Hampstead; he never lived in America again and had no children. He went in four months from the “Do I dare?” of Prufrock, dawdling between plaintiveness and amusement on the edge of risk, straight over that edge into irreparability such as The Waste Land voices in lines pierced by thought of “The awful daring of a moment’s surrender / Which an age of prudence can never retract”.

He wrote to his brother a week after the event: “You will have heard by this time of the surprising change in my plans . . . . The only really surprising thing is that I should have had the force to attempt it”. (read)

more on why Eliot is still so popular these days

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