ELIOT, Thomas Stears (1888-1965). Eleven letters comprising one autograph letter signed, one autograph postcard signed, and nine typed letters signed ('T. S. Eliot', 'T.S.E.' or 'Tom'), 2 signed in pencil, to Clive Bell, 11 August 1924 - 23 October 1947, with TWO ENVELOPES WITH TYPED COMIC VERSES by Eliot, together 15 pages, 4to and 8vo, on Criterion, Faber, and personal stationary.
'THIS ODD OCCUPATION OF MAKING PATTERNS WITH WORDS'
A rich literary correspondence between Eliot and the noted art critic Clive Bell (1881-1964). A number of letters contain pleas and exhortations to Bell to contribute to Criterion ('You may be aware that my firm has taken up Pamphleteering ... '); a letter of 25 July 1930 expresses warm approval of the poems of Bell's son, Julian ('a sturdy sprout ... He seems to be almost the only one at Cambridge ... uncontaminated by either Joyce, Lewis, Pound, Leger or myself'). A fine letter of 3 January 1941 thanks Bell for encouragement, 'all the more welcome at a time when one needs encouragement, if one is to persist in this odd occupation of making patterns with words. It will require only a little more such flattery, however (so exquisitely concentrated) to persuade me to complete work on my scheme of a set of four [the Four Quartets, completed in 1942]. I may even take in hand the long neglected task of putting in order the epical ballad on the life of Chris Columbo (the famous Portuguese navigator) and his friends King Bolo and his Big Black Queen', concluding with hopes that no airplanes will fall on Bell's home and that he 'will not have to waste any brandy resuscitating German aviators.' Two envelopes have doggered addresses, including this on 6 January 1948:
'O stalwart Sussex postman, who is
Delivering the post from Lewes,
Cycle apace to Charlton Firle
While knitting at your plain and purl
Deliver there to good Clive Bell
(You know the man, you know him well
He plays the virginals and spinet)
This note -- there's almost nothing in it.' (13)