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Friday, 30 September 2011

T.S. Eliot, Anti-Semite

It must be time to drop the idea that there is a genuine "debate", or an "ambiguity" about whether T.S. Eliot was a hater of Jews - a tedious tricksy attempt to deflect any responsibility for such unpleasant, wrong thinking, in and out of the poems.  Great American poet he is.  But he was as Anti-Semitic as they come.  This has been amply demonstrated by the letters of his now published (see review in the New York Times from which I quote):


'Eliot’s anti-Semitism is luridly on display. He refers to a “Jew merchant” and allows himself pronouncements like “I am sick of doing business with Jew publishers.” It’s damning that such remarks are made only to those who safely share his prejudice. Yet Eliot relied on his friends Leonard Woolf and Sydney Schiff, and as appalling as his anti-Semitism was, it never matched that of his wife (“horrible Jews in plush coats by the million”) and his mother (“I have an instinctive antipathy to Jews, just as I have to certain animals”).'
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