ELIOT (T.S.) Series of nineteen typed letters signed ("T.S. Eliot"), to Professor Peter Mayer, discussing books by Mayer published by Faber as well as Mayer's proposals for further books; the series also touching on wider literary concerns, Faber & Faber, 1943-1960

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Lot 136
ELIOT (T.S.)
Series of nineteen typed letters signed ("T.S. Eliot"), to Professor Peter Mayer, discussing books by Mayer published by Faber as well as Mayer's proposals for further books; the series also touching on wider literary concerns, Faber & Faber, 1943-1960

Sold for £ 4,375 (US$ 5,547) inc. premium
ELIOT (T.S.)
Series of nineteen typed letters signed ("T.S. Eliot"), to Professor Peter Mayer, discussing books by Mayer published by Faber as well as Mayer's proposals for further books; the series also touching on wider literary concerns, especially – as reflecting Mayer's scholarly interests – within a wider European context, subjects touched upon including Eliot's own Cocktail Party and André Gide ("...I have never read Gide's Thésé, but curiously enough a phrase from a very early work of his, which I expect you know, called Prométhée Mal Enchaîné, stuck in my head in connection with The Cocktail Party. It is simply the text of the Prometheus lecture: Il faut avoir un aigle..."), Goethe ("...How very kind of you to send me a Christmas present, and such a rare and precious book nowadays as the West-östlicher Divan. It is a book which I did not possess and which ought to be in the library of every man of letters and I shall both treasure it and use it...") and Paul Valéry ("...I am also most interested to have the Valéry book which I have been reading during the last two days, as I have been kept at home with a slight chill. The conversations with Valery are a very strange reminder of a highly civilised but rather decadent world which had disappeared!..."); among books by Mayer that come under discussion are his study of Weber and the structure of German politics, a proposed translation of a Soviet book on film ("...I put my doubt to the Board last week and was thereupon directed to discuss the matter with you, as nobody else has read it...") and his Sociology of the Film; one letter sympathising with Mayer "over the short-sightedness of reviewers" and another thanking him for further volume of Goethe ("...The photographic copy of the last Act of Faust is a lovely thing which I am most pleased to have, but especially as a mark of your friendship and kindness..."); together with a letter signed on his behalf and several by secretaries; on headed Faber & Faber paper, some 40 pages, minor dust-staining, etc., 4to, Faber & Faber, 1943-1960

Footnotes

  • 'IL FAUT AVOIR UN AIGLE' – ELIOT ON GIDE, GOETHE, VALERY, WEBER AND HIS OWN WORK: a fine series reflecting an aspect of Eliot to which his recent biographer Robert Crawford has drawn attention: 'After the second world war, as after the first, Eliot went out of his way to voice his Europhilia, his belief in European unity and "the mind of Europe". All this contributed to his being regarded, rightly, as an Anglophile poet who could contend at one moment that "History is now and England", but who could see, too, the importance of a sense of pan-European civilisation. So, in the decades after 1945, the importance of this poet to whom Dante mattered as much as Shakespeare can be seen as emblematising European cultural politics' (Guardian, 10 January 2015).

    Faber & Faber published Mayer's Max Weber and German Politics (1944), Sociology of Film: Studies & Documents (1946), Political thought in France from Sieyes to Sorel (1943), and his translations of De Tocqueville's Journey to England and Ireland (1957) and Journey to America (1959). Included in the lot are a further eighty or so letters to Mayer from Faber's, correspondents including Peter du Sautoy, Geoffrey Faber, Morley Kennerley, and Berthold Wolpe (autograph letter about cover design); plus contracts, publication lists and other material. See illustration overleaf.
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