Mon, 13 June 2022

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm BST

TS Eliot – After The Waste Land

Robert Crawford In Conversation With Esme Bright

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In the centenary year of Eliot world-renowned masterpiece, join biographer Robert Crawford to explore the inner life of this revolutionary modernist and visionary poet.

No-one is better placed to reveal the inner life of this complex and troubled figure than the poet and critic Robert Crawford. The last biographer to have interviewed anyone who knew Eliot when The Waste Land was published, he is also the first to have access to an archive of letters (unsealed for the first time in 2020) detailing Eliot’s decades-long affair with Emily Hale.

From his time as an exhausted bank employee after the publication of The Waste Land, through the emotional turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s, and his years as a firewatcher in bombed wartime London, Crawford will reveal the public and personal experiences that helped generate some of Eliot’s masterpieces.

He will explore the poet’s religious conversion, his editorship at Faber and Faber, his separation from Vivien Haigh-Wood and happy second marriage to Valerie Fletcher, and his great work Four Quartets.

Most important of all, Crawford will present Eliot not as a literary monument but as a human being: as a husband, lover and widower, as a banker, editor, playwright and publisher, but most of all as an epoch-shaping poet struggling to make art among personal disasters.

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Robert Crawford

Poet, Biographer, and Critic

Robert Crawford is a poet, biographer, critic and literary historian who has published eight full collections of poetry and many prose books, including Young Eliot. Emeritus Wardlaw Professor of Poetry at the University of St Andrews, he is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a Foreign Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.