T. S. Eliot


We are somewhat surprised but very much gratified to learn that Thomas Stearns Eliot has been appointed to fill the Charles Eliot Norton Professorship of Poetry at Harvard during the academic year of 1932-33. Cynics may remark that Mr. Eliot possesses a rare combination of qualities in that he is at once an Eliot, a Harvard graduate, and by choice, a British subject. They may add that this combination is exactly the one which would appeal to certain prejudices rooted in the academic mind. But the fact remains that he is a man of extraordinary talents and that he is, despite his present conservatism, not quite the type which usually receives official recognition. Once a satirist and a rebel, he has become a defender of a highly intellectual kind of authoritarianism in politics and religion as well as in literature, but he has achieved a solid fame without ever saying or writing anything which seems likely to be popular. He is the most conspicuous survivor among the group of young men who set out some ten or fifteen years ago to remake the literary tradition, and he has gradually become the most generally accepted leader of what he would certainly refuse to call "the young intellectuals". The appointment should be gratifying to him and will certainly contribute largely to the intellectual life of America. The Nation.