Poet, Now Available in Prose

Sweeping T. S. Eliot project honored

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The second volume of a monumental digital work, The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition, coedited by English professor emeritus Ron Schuchard and involving the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship, has won the Modernist Studies Association's inaugural prize for a distinguished edition.

The prize is awarded to an edition, anthology, or essay collection, published in the previous year, which made the most significant contribution to modernist studies.

The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot is an eight-volume digital collection of Eliot’s published and unpublished works. The third volume was published in September, with the fourth released in December. When complete, the fully searchable, integrative edition will include all of Eliot’s collected essays, reviews, lectures, commentaries, and letters to editors, including more than seven hundred uncollected and 150 unpublished pieces from 1905 to 1965. The editions are published by Johns Hopkins University Press and available on Project Muse.

Schuchard, who is Goodrich C. White Professor of English Emeritus, shares the prize with coeditor Professor Anthony Cuda 04PhD at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

The Eliot project began more than forty years ago when Schuchard secured a rare and coveted invitation to meet with Eliot’s widow, Valerie Eliot. A devoted scholar of the literary giant, Schuchard eventually won her confidence and access to Eliot’s personal archive.

In 2012, Schuchard retired from Emory to devote himself to the project, which became a rigorous exercise in literary sleuthing. Though much has been written about Eliot, Schuchard estimates that “90 percent of what has been written about him has been written without the knowledge of 90 percent of what he wrote.”

“The depth and breadth of these new materials is just astonishing,” he says. “I believe that they will feed a tremendous resurgence of interest not only around the study of Eliot, but of modernism in the twentieth century.”

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