Posted on 01/03/2020 at 10:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

T.S. Eliot’s unsealed letters to Emily Hale have not disappointed the literary world.

Hale was known as Eliot’s muse, so it’s no surprise that his letters to her reveal intense passion — and as a married man, he expresses great frustration over the circumstances.

“If you knew what pages and pages of tenderness I am not writing now I think you would trust me,” Eliot wrote in one letter. “I have no really intimate friends, though vast acquaintances.” 

Hale donated more than 1,000 letters that she’d received to Princeton University’s library, with the caveat that they remain private for fifty years after Eliot’s or Hale’s death — whichever came later.

Hale outlived Eliot, dying in 1969, and according to biographers, Eliot instructed his survivors to burn all of Hale’s letters to him.

Eliot scholar Tony Cuda told the Guardian that the letters, which officially became public yesterday, are “missing piece of his career and certainly the most significant revelation about a major poet of the 20th century that we’ve had.”

Read more excerpts and see photos of the letters and couple in the Guardian.

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Categories: Today in Books

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When I first learned about the future release of the Eliot-Hale letters, I became determined to try and tell her story in fictional form. My book, "The Poet's Girl" has just been published by Thought Catalog Books. (Meanwhile, I am in Princeton, reading the letters alongside Eliot scholars.)
Sara Fitzgerald | 01/04/2020 at 12:42 PM
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