VIRAGO ACQUIRES GROUND-BREAKING BOOK BY LYNDALL GORDON BASED ON SEALED T.S. ELIOT LETTERS

Credit: Nina Hollington

Credit: Nina Hollington

UK and BC rights to Lyndall Gordon’s ELIOT AMONG THE WOMEN, which draws on over 1,000 letters T.S. Eliot wrote to Emily Hale, have been acquired by Virago chair Lennie Goodings, who described it as ‘a literary landmark book’. The deal was concluded by Isobel Dixon of Blake Friedmann. In the US Norton have acquired rights in a deal arranged by Georges Borchardt. Publication will be in 2022, the centenary of Eliot’s great long poem, THE WASTE LAND. 

Emily Hale and T.S. Eliot

Emily Hale and T.S. Eliot

Lennie Goodings said: ‘ELIOT AMONG THE WOMEN is the book Lyndall Gordon was born to write; it draws on all her intuitive understanding of this mysterious poet. We are thrilled.’ 

ELIOT AMONG THE WOMEN by the pre-eminent T.S. Eliot biographer, Lyndall Gordon, is set to be one of the most important books on this poet, whose life was shaped by four women who became part of his work. Eliot’s first wife Vivienne Haigh Wood, Mary Trevelyan, a companion, and Valerie Fletcher, his second wife, are well known, but there was another woman who came first – Emily Hale.

Over 1,000 letters from T.S. Eliot to Emily Hale

Over 1,000 letters from T.S. Eliot to Emily Hale

T.S. Eliot wrote to Emily Hale from 1930 to 1956 and the 1,131 letters at Princeton comprise the largest single series of the poet’s correspondence. These letters have been sealed to the public for over sixty years, housed in twelve boxes at Princeton University Library. In January 2020 they will have their steel security bands cut and his letters to her will be revealed to researchers for the first time. Lyndall Gordon will be there when they are opened, to fulfil her belief that Eliot’s secret attachment to this Boston-born teacher of drama is central to understanding his most private emotions during the decades when his creativity was at its height. 

As Virago’s press statement adds: 'ELIOT AMONG THE WOMEN, leading with the newly-revealed letters, and including all the women who were close to him, his mother too and also his well-matched first publisher, Virginia Woolf, will be another ground-breaking work from the biographer who has spent over forty years with her subject.' 

A much-celebrated biographer, Lyndall Gordon lives in Oxford. Among other accolades, she has won the Cheltenham Prize and the James Tait Black prize, been long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize, and shortlisted for the Comisso Prize in Italy for Fazi’s edition of her acclaimed Emily Dickinson biography LIVES LIKE LOADED GUNS.

Lyndall Gordon’s biographies – of Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, Henry James, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Dickinson and Mary Wollstonecraft – have all drawn widespread praise, and many are published in translation. She is also the author of two memoirs SHARED LIVES and DIVIDED LIVES. Her most recent book, OUTSIDERS, draws on the lives and striking works of Mary Shelley, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner, Emily Brontë and Virginia Woolf and will soon be published in the US by Johns Hopkins University Press. All her books have been published in the UK by Virago.

Praise for Lyndall Gordon

‘Literary bloodhound and superbly eloquent chronicler.’ – Booklist

‘Gordon, a...superb literary biographer who has previously turned her level yet lyrical gaze to Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Brontë, Mary Wollstonecraft and others.’ – Seattle Times

A biographer with soul, she reaches into the hearts of those she brings alive for us. She makes the meaning of their lives sing and sweat as she invites us into their experiences, their longings, their struggles and their disappointments.’ – Susie Orbach, The Observer

‘Lyndall Gordon must be one of the most accomplished literary biographers of this generation…outstanding and stimulating.’ – British Book News

Visit Lyndall Gordon’s website.