T. S. Eliot: Still and Still Moving, 1954-1965.
Co-editor, Ronald Schuchard.
The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition, vol. 8.
John Hopkins University Press, 2019.
T. S. Eliot's meditations on aging in Four Quartets cast a forward light on the life and work of his autumnal years. "Old men ought to be explorers," muses the poet in East Coker, not in time ("here and now"), not in space ("here and there"), but in depth, moving deeper into a realm "where the darkness shall be the light and the stillness the dancing," and in height, moving higher "into another intensity." Intellectually and spiritually, such exploration – "I said to my soul, be still" – requires cultivation of the core principle of biblical and Buddhist meditation. Eliot uses a variety of images in Four Quartets to point to this resonant and essentially mystical paradox. His simultaneous commitment to both sides of the paradox is evident in the prose published during his final decade. The depth of insight in his essays and speeches suggests that he had tasted the inner freedom that comes from disciplined stillness, and the awareness of time past and time future in his meditations reveals that he was still moving.
Still and Still Moving contains the prose that Eliot composed between 1954 and his death in 1965 and one major essay, "Johnson as Critic and Poet," written in 1944 but not published until 1957.Most of the pieces are occasional, in that the shorter pieces were written to commemorate the life and work of friends such as Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis or to comment on current events, and the longer ones responded to the receipt of honors or awards. The latter includes such major essays as "Goethe as the Sage," "The Frontiers of Criticism," and "George Herbert."
(From the introduction to vol. 8)