Volume One of the Letters of T. S. Eliot, edited by Valerie Eliot in 1988, covered the period from Eliot’s childhood in St Louis, Missouri, to the end of 1922, by which time he had settled in England, married and published The Waste Land. The 1988 edition included the most significant of his letters to have survived from this period, and a number of letters by Vivien, his first wife; but also letters from his family in America, as well as from English and French friends and contemporaries.
Since 1988, Valerie Eliot has continued to gather materials from collections, libraries and private sources in Britain and America, towards the preparation of subsequent volumes of the Lettersedition. Among new letters to have come to light, a good many date from the years 1898-1922, which has necessitated a revised edition of Volume One, taking account of approximately two hundred newly discovered items of correspondence.
The new letters fill crucial gaps in the record, notably enlarging our understanding of the genesis and publication of The Waste Land. Valuable, too, are letters from the earlier and less documented part of Eliot’s life, which have been supplemented by additional correspondence from family members in America. The new letters also yield information about Eliot’s reading, social engagements, friendships and daily movements in London during and after the First World War, and the revised edition includes a more extensive selection of letters than hitherto from Eliot’s steadily widening circle of friends and correspondents.