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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University December 11, 2006 | Vol. 36 No. 14
Hodson Gift to JHU Press Will Fund 'The Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot'

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of the 21st century, however, the majority of Eliot's prose — over 700 essays and articles — remains uncollected or unpublished, nor are there critical editions of those collections published during his life," she said.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.


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