Selected Essays. 1917–1932.
First edition, first impression. Number 78 of 115 copies signed by the author on the limitation leaf. This volume collects thirty-three essays of literary criticism, including “Tradition and the Individual Talent” and “The Function of Criticism”, as well as pieces on the Greek classics; Shakespeare, Ben Johnson, and other Elizabethan dramatists; Dante; William Blake and other Metaphysical poets; and modern authors such as Dickens and Baudelaire. Eliot’s essays are of foremost importance in 20th-century literary studies, having “helped to change the critical sensibilities of Britain and America. Shifting the focus of criticism from the author to the work and altering the centre of gravity of previous English writing from the Romantics to the Elizabethan dramatists and the metaphysical poets, Eliot reshaped the study of literature in and out of the academy. For almost fifty years it was nearly impossible to write about literature without acknowledging his work” (ODNB).
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Octavo. Original blue vellum, titles to spine and top edge gilt, others untrimmed. Housed in a brow cloth slipcase. Spine and top edges of boards faded, a few tiny rubbed spots, light mark to verso of front free endpaper. An excellent copy.