Exploring The Waste Land
A biography page linked from The Waste Land, Part I, line 37

Hyacinth garden
Line 37

After presenting information about the Verdenal dedications to Eliot's Prufrock and Other Observations James E. Miller Jr. writes in T. S. Eliot's Personal Waste Land: Exorcism of the Demons (1977):

The only other public reference by Eliot to Jean Verdenal appeared some seventeen years after the Prufrock dedication, in the April 1934 issue of The Criterion, in the editor's column, "A Commentary." In browsing through a book (Henry Massis, Evocations, 1934) about Paris during the time that Eliot was a student at the Sorbonne there (1910-11), Eliot becomes steeped in romantic memories, and turns both autobiographical and confessional, as, in an aside, he says

I am willing to admit that my own retrospect is touched by a sentimental sunset, the memory of a friend coming across the Luxembourg Gardens in the late afternoon, waving a branch of lilac, a friend who was later (so far as I could find out) to be mixed with the mud of Gallipoli.

This brief comment stands out with a remarkable brilliancy in the brief "Commentary." as it is the only genuinely personal note struck in what is essentially a reminiscence of the intellectual and literary milieu of Paris during Eliot's year there a quarter of a century before. Although Jean Verdenal's name is not mentioned, there seems little doubt in view of the Prufrock dedication that he is the friend referred to.

[ From pp. 18-19 in the chapter entitled "Faint Clews and Indirections" [sic]. Miller cites: "A Commentary," The Criterion 13 (April 1934) p. 452 ]

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T 58 - hyacinth
T 59 - Hyacinthus
T 68 - lilac

Exploring The Waste Land
File name: bq037.html
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002
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