Books: Eliot Complete

THE COMPLETE POEMS AND PLAYS (392 pp.)—T. S. Eliot—Harcourt, Brace ($6).

At a literary cocktail party in Claridge's Hotel, in London, the daughter of a U.S. publisher whispered: "Daddy, is it all right for me to leave now? I've already shaken hands with Mr. Eliot." She was not being snippy. She was simply recognizing the importance of Thomas Stearns Eliot.

That importance is by now indisputable, but there were many disputes along the way. And it is the quality, not the quantity, of his poems that has won T. S. Eliot his reputation: at 64, his published poems number hardly threescore. These...

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