Friday, October 14, 2011

T.S. Eliot, War Debts, and Keynes

I was reading this review in the Atlantic of two volumes of T.S. Eliot's letters, and was intrigued to learn that in the early 1920s Eliot worked at Lloyd's Bank in London, specifically on government accounts and war debts. Unfortunately, the article suggests that his work at the bank is rarely brought up in the letters even though it took up a lot of his time.

Does anyone know more about Eliot's work at Lloyd's?

Eliot was associated with Virginia Woolf - a good friend, of course, of John Maynard Keynes. I've never thought much of it. I always figure these sorts of people at that time had wide circles of correspondence. But the work on war debts in London during this period makes me wonder - did Keynes and Eliot ever cross paths?

Apparently they did write to each other at least a few times, but the dates for the archived letters discussed in the link all come in the late twenties and afterwards. Does anyone know any more about Keynes and Eliot's relationship?


  1. Keynes discussed Eliot in his radio broadcasts. There is a recently published book that deals specifically with his numerous radio broadcasts. That's about all I know of their relationship.

    Anyway, given how "conservative" Eliot was (he was after all a member of group devoted to the canonized King Charles I - "the martyr") any relationship they would have had would have been interesting (plus Eliot - even though he became a British subject - was an American - and Keynes was suspicious of America and Americanization of Britain).

    A review of Eliot from the 1930s in Time Magazine:,9171,756146,00.html

  2. Are you refering to the Keynes on the Wireless book? That looked good - I was browsing through it in the library the other week. The editor is a very well regarded Keynes scholar that I cited in my RAE article.

  3. From what I remember in the Collected Writings, Keynes does make the prescient comment that Eliot would be far more renowned later in the 20th century than he would be in his time.

  4. All I know of Eliot's time at LLoyd's bank is that, according to Ernest Hemingway's (unrelieable) memoir, A Moveable Feast, Eliot's friends among the ex-patriot writers' scene in Paris took up a collection to get him out of LLoyd's so he could focus on his writing. My recollection is that Hemingway claims they succeeded.

  5. Eliot had a book deal re: _The Waste Land_ before he finished revising it for publication (this was in 1922) - the people instrumental in that were folks like Ezra Pound.


    You mean expatriate I believe.

  6. Tom Paulin:

    "Any account of the poem [i.e. The Wasteland] has to . . . take on board the proven historical fact that Eliot read and digested John Maynard Keynes's The Economic Consequences of the Peace, his great attack on the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919 in which the four allied powers - the United States, Britain, France and Italy - imposed a punitive, or as it was known, Carthaginian peace on Germany.

    "Keynes's vision of a derelict Europe, the hot, dry atmosphere in the chamber where the negotiations were conducted, the destruction of industry and the exhaustion of the soil all feed Eliot's vision of the European wasteland. Noting Keynes's influence, we can see that at least sporadically in the poem, Eliot offers a subtle liberal humanist vision of the European wreckage."

    Tom Paulin also wrote, which I haven't read:

    "Many Cunning Passages: How Maynard Keynes Made his Mark on The Waste Land," TLS, no. 5200, 29 Nov. 2002, 14-15.

  7. David Lull,

    There are dozens of sources for _The Waste Land_ - Homer, Ovid, virtually the length and breadth of English literature from Chaucer up to the point of the poem's creation, etc. Ex. The tradition of grail stories for example is seen in the work. Maybe Keynes is in there, but his influence is swamped by Eliot's perusal of virtually the whole of the Western canon. And the reason it is chocked full of a liberal humanist vision is because he draws so heavily on so many historical liberal humanist writers.

  8. Any accounts of the composition [i.e. The Wasteland] has to . . . take on panel the established famous proven fact that Eliot go through and consumed Bob Maynard Keynes's The Financial Repercussions of the Tranquility, his great invasion on the Versailles Tranquility Agreement of 1919 in which the four allied abilities - the Joined Claims, England, Italy and Italia - made a psychological, or as it was known, Carthaginian peace on Philippines. seo博客

  9. Eliot would be far more renowned later in the 20th century than he would be in his time.saç ekimi öncesi ve sonrasi


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