Four decades after it was originally published, Russell Kirk’s masterful work remains the best introduction to T. S. Eliot’s life, ideas, and literary works. Eliot and His Age is the essential starting place for anyone who would understand what the great poet was about. Kirk’s view of his older friend is sympathetic but not adulatory. His insights into Eliot’s writings are informed by wide reading in the same authors who most influenced the poet, as well as by similar experiences and convictions.
Kirk elaborates here a significant theory of literary meaning in general, showing how great literary works awaken our intuitive reason, giving us profound visions of truth that transcend logical processes. And he traces Eliot’s political and cultural ideas to their true sources, showing the balance and subtlety of Eliot’s views. Eliot and His Age is a literary biography that will endure when much of the more recent writing on Eliot is gathering dust.