Though much has been written about T. S. Eliot since it was first published, Eliot and His Age remains the best introduction to the poet’s life, ideas, and literary works. It is the essential starting place for anyone who would understand what Eliot was about. Russell Kirk’s view of his older friend is sympathetic but not adulatory. His insights into Eliot’s writings are informed by wide reading in the same authors who most influenced the poet, as well as by similar experiences and convictions.
Kirk elaborates here a significant theory of literary meaning in general, showing how great literary works awaken our intuitive reason, giving us profound visions of truth that transcend logical processes. And he traces Eliot’s political and cultural ideas to their true sources, showing the balance and subtlety of Eliot’s views. Eliot and His Age is a literary biography that will endure when much of the more recent writing on Eliot is gathering dust.
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Russell Kirk (1918–94) was an independent man of letters whose best-known book is The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot. Several of his other books, including The American Cause, The Roots of American Order, The Politics of Prudence, Redeeming the Time, and The Sword of Imagination, are available from ISI Books.
New introduction by Benjamin G. Lockerd Jr.
Lockerd is a professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Grand Valley State University. He is a former president of the T. S. Eliot Society and is currently on the society’s board of directors. His books include The Sacred Marriage: Psychic Integration in “The Faerie Queene” and Aethereal Rumours: T. S. Eliot’s Physics and Poetics.
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