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Raine’s sterile thunder

TS Eliot's greatness as a poet is established beyond all doubt. So why do critics feel the need to defend him against all charges of misogyny and antisemitism?

By Terry Eagleton   March 2007

TS Eliot by Craig Raine (OUP, £12.99)

For a good many decades, thick fumes of incense have been wafting from the English literary establishment in the general direction of TS Eliot. The latest offering by the acolytes to the high priest is this study by Craig Raine, which admits that some of Eliot’s drama isn’t up to much but otherwise won’t hear a cross word about the great man. “There is no evidence,” Raine piously remarks, “that Eliot was either a fornicator or a homosexual,” as though…

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