Of the many different kinds of anti-Semite, T.S. Eliot was the rarest: one who placed his anti-Semitism at the service of his art. Contemporary readers of his work are likely to ask themselves certain questions. Is literary merit compatible with expressions of racial contempt? How are those scorned by such work to respond?
Anthony Julius’s acclaimed book addresses these important questions in a series of remarkable adversarial readings, which both relate Eliot’s anti-Semitism to his greater literary undertaking, and consider it in the context of arguments about the censorship of ‘offensive’ literature.
This new edition of a seminal study includes an introductory chapter telling the story of the critical furore the book provoked on its first publication, and a concluding response, in-depth, to the reassessment of Eliot’s work among poets, scholars and readers that has since ensued.