Show Business: Love & Mr. Eliot

On opening night at the Edinburgh Festival last week, the author (who will be 70 this month) sat in the audience holding hands with his 31-year-old wife, his former secretary whom he married a year and a half ago. That scene offered a clue to the proceedings onstage. More than any of his previous plays, or most of his poems, T. S. Eliot's The Elder Statesman extols love. Compared to The Cocktail Party and The Confidential Clerk—intellectual avocados spiky with Greek myths and Christian mysticism—Eliot's latest seems as simple as the peach that Prufrock was once afraid to eat.

The play's theme:...

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