T.S. Eliot is one of the most revered English poets. He spent, however, much of the second half of his career writing plays composed entirely in verse, following in the tradition of Elizabethan and Jacobean playwrights he greatly admired, such as Shakespeare and John Webster. His reason for turning his hand to theatre was primarily to gain a wider audience: as he said a poet would like:
“to be something of a popular entertainer, and be able to think his own thoughts behind a tragic or a comic mask. He would like to convey the pleasures of poetry, not only to a larger audience, but to larger groups of people collectively; and the theatre is the best place in which to do it.”
Although two of his plays, Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party, enjoyed moderate critical and commercial success, they never achieved the same acclaim as his poetry; perhaps because they felt dated even in his own lifetime.
The books in the photographs are early editions published by Faber and Faber, where he also worked from 1925 till his death in 1965 and was responsible for publishing other notable poets including W. H Auden and Ted Hughes.
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