By THEA LENARDUZZI
In 1927, Faber & Gwyer, as the publishing house was then known, asked their new employee T. S. Eliot to produce a series of pamphlets, printing new poems by some of the leading lights (including Walter de la Mare, G. K. Chesterton and, albeit on the wane, Thomas Hardy) alongside work by distinguished artists (the Nash brothers, for example, and E. McKnight Kauffer, whose illustration for one of Eliot's own contributions appears above). At that time, Eliot was just resurfacing, not only from ten years in banking, but from his conversion to Anglo-Catholicism. It was only shortly after the first run of pamphlets appeared that Eliot, in a preface to his collection For Lancelot Andrewes: Essays on style and order, famously declared himself a “classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and anglo-catholic in religion”. (Eliot is not the only literary type to acknowledge a debt to Andrewes; for Kurt Vonnegut, the translator of the King James Bible was “the greatest writer in the English language so far”.)
Eliot’s choice of “Ariel” as a title for the series seems particularly pertinent in this light . . . .