The Johns Hopkins
University Press will receive a gift of $750,000 from
the Hodson Trust to fund a monumental publishing project,
The Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot. The project will
be developed under the editorial direction of Ronald
Schuchard, the renowned Eliot scholar and professor at
Emory University, and co-published with Faber and Faber,
the literary publisher in the United Kingdom that Eliot
helped found in the 1920s.
Schuchard anticipates that there will be significant
discoveries and impact resulting from the project, noting
that only about 10 percent of Eliot's prose writing has
ever been published and available.
"The T.S. Eliot we know five years from now will be
quite different from the one we know today," Schuchard
said. "In collecting Eliot's complete prose for the public
domain, this multivolume edition aims to restore his full
voice and to bring back into hearing the voices of those
with whom he struggled to resolve the problems and dilemmas
of his time. We begin this project in the belief that the
availability of his multiform prose writings will greatly
invigorate and inform humanistic studies and cultural
concerns in this new century."
The Press envisions a seven-volume work to be
compiled, edited and published over a nine-year period. In
addition, the Press will develop an electronic edition that
will enormously enhance access to the work and its
usability for scholars and students around the world.
Kathleen Keane, director of Johns Hopkins University
Press, said, "This extraordinary gift from the Hodson Trust
will allow us to create a landmark work of scholarship.
T.S. Eliot was one of the most prolific and wide-ranging
prose masters of our age, and the collections of essays
published during his lifetime have had immeasurable impact
on literature, culture and the humanities.
"At the beginning of the 21st century, however, the
majority of Eliot's prose — over 700 essays and
articles — remains uncollected or unpublished, nor
are there critical editions of those collections published
during his life," she said. "For the past 50 years, most
assessments of Eliot's work and thought have been produced
with little access to these materials, which remain
scattered in numerous libraries and institutional
collections around the world."
A man with a profound and complex attitude toward
life, Eliot engaged the modern world and entered into
dialogue with its intellectuals in numerous fields, writing
with a comprehensive range on poetry, fiction, drama,
literary criticism, humanism, religion, cultural and
economic theory, education, world politics and other topics
of intellectual importance.
With the publication of The Complete Prose of T.S.
Eliot, the Press continues a long tradition of
publishing significant documentary editions, including
The Works of Edmund Spenser: A Variorum Edition, The
Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, The Papers of Thomas
Edison, The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley and
The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted.
Inspired by the success of
Project MUSE, the
online collection of scholarly journals it developed and
now manages, the Press in recent years has been
increasingly committed to creating electronic editions of
these large documentary works in order to broaden access
and usability for scholars, students and readers around the
world. A portion of the Hodson Trust funding allows the
Press to develop the electronic edition of The Complete
Prose of T.S. Eliot.