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.