Rhythm and Reaction

This is just a note to recommend the exhibition Rhythm and Reaction, at Two Temple Place in London. It tells the story of the introduction of jazz music into Britain before and after the Great War. From the banjo-playing of the minstrel shows and productions like In Dahomey (1903), via the groundbreaking Original Dixieland Jazz […]

Eliot and Wodehouse?

The new annotated edition of the poems of T.S.Eliot, edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue is a delight and a revelation, and easily the most engrossing book that I have read in the past year. Its voluminous notes illuminate the familiar canonical poems, and it includes a wealth of hitherto unpublished or scattered material, […]

Eliot, Lawrence and ‘Lady Chatterley’

From the forthcoming BBC version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover Last week’s Times Literary Supplement included a recently rediscovered 1927 essay by T. S. Eliot on modern British novelists. Eliot’s judgement on D. H. Lawrence is devastating:

Margate, 1922

In The Waste Land (1922). T.S. Eliot, having spent time in Margate while recovering from a nervous breakdown, wrote: “On Margate Sands. I can connect Nothing with nothing. The broken finger-nails of dirty hands. My people humble people who expect Nothing.” In 1922 (the annus mirabilis of modernism) Margate was also referenced in another key […]

Ernie Lotinga in ‘Josser in the Army’

In June 1927, T. S. Eliot wrote to Virginia Woolf: Have just been to see Ernie Lotinga in his new Play at the Islington Empire. Magnificent. He is the greatest living British histrionic artist, in the purest tradition of British Obscenity. Until recently I thought that almost all Lotinga’s film work had been lost, apart […]

T. S. Eliot and Haig’s funeral

On 7 February, 1928, T. S. Eliot wrote a letter to his mother, describing Douglas Haig’s funeral procession, on its way to Westminster Abbey: The funeral started at the Scotch church, which was flying the Scotch flag at half-mast [….] Well then there were the Scotch pipers of the Guards, and they started the ‘Lament […]