By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
The third volume of T.S. Eliot's letters shows the poet and critic in a period of transition. Readers of the unauthorized biographies by Lyndall Gordon and Peter Ackroyd tend to think of Eliot as either the effete Francophile of "Prufrock and Other Observations" or the austere self-professed "classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and anglo-catholic in religion" who wrote "Ash-Wednesday."
Emily Dickinson dies halfway through Lyndall Gordon's mesmerizing "Lives Like Loaded Guns," but this is only right. The story that preoccupies Ms. Gordon, one of illicit love and intellectual property rights, gathers steam after the poet's death in 1886 and evolves over the next century.
Ms. Gordon writes, "In 1858, the year the poet began to save selected poems in home-made booklets, she celebrates a sister-poem and sent it to her, most likely on Sue's twenty-eighth birthday. It was amongst the first of the 276 poems that would follow across the grass between the two houses."
"She was drawn early to Jane Eyre, and Maggie Tulliver, George Eliot's provincial girl 'whose eyes were full of unsatisfied intelligence and unsatisfied, beseeching affection,' " Ms. Gordon writes.