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Macavity's Not There: TS Eliot in the 21st Century
BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: 21st July 2009
As a major project begins to edit the works of TS Eliot, author and critic Michael Alexander explores the place of Eliot, and of poetry in general, in national culture.
Eliot may be regarded by some as the most significant poet in the English language over the past 100 years, but how much does he mean to modern readers? Only now are his complete writings undergoing full critical editing, and yet times have changed to a point where poets are regarded as barely relevant by many people, and where Eliot himself is probably best known for the poems which provided the inspiration for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats.
Michael Alexander enlists the help of Eliot scholar Christopher Ricks and the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams to assess Eliot's influence and the role of poetry in the modern world. Including TS Eliot reading from his own work.
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