Books: Milton Is O.K.

In the hushed splendor of a Manhattan museum (the Frick) that was once a coal baron's Fifth Avenue palace, some of the most serious U.S. poets and critics gathered. They had come to hear, and honor, the acknowledged first poet of their day. T. S. Eliot, making one of his rare U.S. appearances, delivered a new lecture on his old enemy, John Milton.

Long self-professed an Anglo-Catholic, a royalist, and a classicist, Eliot has been an uncommonly revolutionary conservative, both as poet and critic. Now he made clear that, in some respects, he regards the revolution as over. He was even convinced...

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