Emily Hale

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First Look at the Sealed Collection of Letters from T S Eliot to Emily Hale

Note: At Berkshire Bookworld, you'll find my interview with Sara Fitzgerald recorded 10 days after the opening of the collection. Click here to get the podcast. I first heard about the Emily Hale letters from Valerie Eliot herself, in 1986 or 1987. Valerie led me to believe that Hale had been a hanger-on whom T. S. Eliot had had to push away, who had exaggerated her relationship with him and placed the letters Eliot had written to her at Princeton against his wishes. I believed what she said, [...]

January 4th, 2020|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|Tags: , , , |

Telling Our Stories, Writing Our Lives: Valerie Eliot & Truth-telling

Originally published on the Berkshire Publishing blog in November 2016, and republished here in January 2020 because it is relevant to the opening of the Eliot letters to Emily Hale. My friend Emma once complimented me on an anecdote I’d told, saying, “I can dine out on that for years.” And there are a few stories about Emma and my days as housemates in London I still tell, especially the one about how we acted out the Lucan murder, on the stairs where it had taken place just a few [...]

January 4th, 2020|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|Tags: , , , , |

T. S. Eliot and his women

"How unpleasant to meet Mr. Eliot," wrote T. S. Eliot, but women did not find it unpleasant to meet him at all. In fact, they fell in love with him: secretaries and literary scholars alike, and the next couple of years will see a great deal of new information about T. S. Eliot's women. He was a dour, gray-faced, elderly poet in poor health who nonetheless broke at least two (and perhaps four) hearts when he married his secretary, Valerie Fletcher, in 1957. A quarter of a century earlier, he wrote [...]