The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition

The very excellent Ronald Schuchard discusses the genesis of this important and large project. Of course Valerie Eliot was vital to the realization of this task as he explains in the video. Some months ago I posted this amusing squib from VE and was reminded of one of my favorite Eliot quotes:

All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance

Though this unfashionable insight is hardly original (“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal”) it is an unusual formulation, reflecting the distinctive quality of TSE’s mind. TSE understood, as do a few others such as Percy, that it is the zeitgeist of the modern age that we exist in a linear trajectory of progress, progress here taken to be coextensive with improvement – morally, socially, technologically, economically and scientifically. Epistemic humility is not something valued as an epistemological virtue, a methodological approach valuable in itself — and this oversight unfortunately informs much of our socio-cultural polarization.

For more about Valerie here are some obituaries: The Guardian — The Telegraph — The New York Times — Independent