Philip Hensher

Is T.S. Eliot’s great aura fading?

With new revelations about his anti-Semitism, his reputation looks seriously threatened

T.S. Eliot at his office at Faber and Faber c. 1959. [PHOTOGRAPH BY IDA KAR/ALAMY]

For much of his life T.S. Eliot was surrounded by an aura of greatness: people accepted it, and behaved accordingly. That kind of consensus is not helpful for a writer or his works, as Eliot himself clearly saw, observing that nobody had ever written anything significant after winning the Nobel Prize for Literature – true at the time and mostly true since.

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