After nearly a year of negotiating, between the publisher, Horace Liveright, just turned 38, in New York; the author, T. S. Eliot, 34, in London; and the author’s representative, lawyer John Quinn, 52, in New York, Eliot’s epic poem, The Waste Land, is finally published in book form.
The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot
Eliot has added extensive academic-style annotations to increase the number of pages to a more traditional book size.
According to the agreement worked out by Quinn, the complete poem appeared in the American literary magazine The Dial in November, and Eliot was awarded the magazine’s annual prize of $2,000. The Dial agreed to buy 350 copies of the hardback book from Boni and Liveright, and the book’s cover and advertising tout the Dial prize.
On the suggestion of The Dial editor, Gilbert Seldes, 29, Liveright has numbered the 1,000 copies of the first edition to give them more value and lowered the retail price from $2 to $1.50.
In London, the author is pleased by the praise he is receiving in print and in letters from friends, for his poem as well as his own literary magazine which he has started, The Criterion.
The Criterion, October
After receiving the first issue, Quinn wrote to him,
It’s a beautiful thing, beautiful printing and on good paper. That first number will be memorable. I hope you can keep it up.”
In the midst of all this success, Eliot is still rankled by an anonymous letter he has received. Signed “Your Wellwisher,” it contained four three-halfpenny postage stamps.
Eliot knows that this is an insulting reference to his financial situation, and the effort by some of his friends to set up a trust, Bel Esprit, to give him extra income so he can leave his day job at Lloyds Bank.
“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”: The Literary 1920s. Volumes I through III, covering 1920 through 1922 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early next year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, and about The Literary 1920s in Paris and New York City at the Osher program at Carnegie-Mellon University.
If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.
Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.