Exploring The Waste Land
A biography page linked from The Waste Land, Part V, line 408

Eliot's desire for privacy
"suppress everything suppressable"
Line 408

Eliot wrote in The Waste Land:

405)  By this, and this only, we have existed
406)  Which is not to be found in our obituaries
407)  Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider
408)  Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
409)  In our empty rooms

Regarding Eliot's desire for privacy after his death Carole Seymour-Jones, wrote in Painted Shadow, p. 513:

Vivienne* felt sure that Tom had made a will, leaving 'everything without exception' to her--apart from his ring and his stick to Henry**--and that she and Geoffrey Faber were joint trustees of his literary estate and would inherit Eliot's copyrights.73 In this she was deeply mistaken: by 18 February 1938 Eliot was pressing John Hayward to act as his literary executor, pleading that he knew no one except John whom he could altogether trust in that capacity, and stressing his 'mania for posthumous privacy'. Your job, Eliot wrote to Hayward, would be 'to suppress everything suppressable, however F & F*** might be tempted'.74

Seymour-Jones notes:

Exploring The Waste Land notes:

Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot, Eliot's first wife. They were seperated at this time. Sometimes she used the spelling Vivien.
Henry Ware Eliot Jr., Eliot's older brother. Henry was also a Harvard graduate.
***F & F
Faber and Faber, Ltd., Eliot's publisher. Eliot was also employed as a director in the firm.
The Bodleian Library, Oxford University http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/

Exploring The Waste Land
File name: bq408.html
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002
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