The T. S. Eliot Memorial Lecture

At its annual meeting the Society sponsors a keynote lecture given by an eminent scholar or writer on a topic related to Eliot's work, influence, or life. The lecture is always open to the public. The table below lists each year's Memorial Lecture and gives bibliographic information for those that were subsequently published.


  • 2018: David E. Chinitz, What Is Overannotation? Interrogating the New Eliot Editions

  • 2017: John Haffenden, “Literary Dowsing”: Valerie Eliot and the Editing of The Waste Land
    Published in T. S. Eliot Studies Annual 2 (2018), 133-49.

  • 2016: Lyndall Gordon, “Footfalls Echo in the Memory”: Eliot’s Expatriation

  • 2015: Jed Esty, Capes and Continents: Eliot’s Frontier and the Rhetoric of Decline

  • 2014: Sarah Cole, In the Cave, in the Valley, in the Cathedral, in the Body: Scales of History in Eliot and Modernism

  • 2013: Jahan Ramazani, T. S. Eliot, Poetry and Prayer
    Incorporated into “Poetry and Prayer” in Poetry and its Others: News, Prayer, Song, and the Dialogue of Genres (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2014), 126-83.

  • 2012: Daniel Albright, T. S. Eliot’s Non-Euclidean Geometry

  • 2011: Jean-Michel Rabaté, Playing Possum: Symbolic Death and Symboliste Impotence in Eliot’s French Heritage
    Published in T. S. Eliot, France, and the Mind of Europe, ed. Jayme Stayer (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2015), 2-23.

  • 2010: Michael Levenson,“and what if she should die some afternoon”: Eliot’s Stage of Violence

  • 2009: Ronald Bush,“Intensity by association”: Eliot’s Passionate Allusions
    Published in Modernism/modernity 20.4 (2013): 709-27.

  • 2008: Grace Schulman, The “Ariel” Poems: T. S. Eliot and E. McKnight Kauffer

  • 2007: George T. Wright, Some Reflections on Eliot’s Changing Poetic Styles
    Published as “'Every Poem an Epitaph': Eliot’s Changing Styles” in Poetic Craft and Authorial Design in Shakespeare, Keats, T.S. Eliot, and Henry James (Lewiston, NY : Mellen, 2011), 139-59.

  • 2006: William F. Blissett, T. S. Eliot and David Jones: Rats, Romans, and Trees

  • 2005: Robert Crawford, More Distant than Stars and Nearer than the Eye
    Published as “T. S. Eliot’s Daughter” in Proceedings of the British Academy 167: 2009 Lectures (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011), 479-97.

  • 2004: Craig Raine, T. S. Apteryx—The Anti-Romantic
    Published as “Eliot as Classicist: The Enquiry Into Feelings” in T. S. Eliot (New York: Oxford UP, 2006), 41-74.

  • 2003: Leon Surette, Eliot, Stevens and “Pale Ramon”
    Published as “Eliot, Stevens, and ‘Pale Ramon’ Fernandez” in The Modern Dilemma: Wallace Stevens, T. S. Eliot, and Humanism (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2008), 199-233.

  • 2002: Marjorie Perloff, “Cunning Passages, Contrived Corridors”: “Gerontion” and the Limits of Language
    Published as “‘Cunning Passages, Contrived Corridors’: Rereading Eliot’s ‘Gerontion’” in Differentials: Poetry, Poetics, Pedagogy (Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 2004), 20-38.

  • 2001: Geoffrey Hill, Word Value in F. H. Bradley and T. S. Eliot
    Published in Collected Critical Writings, ed. Kenneth Haynes (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008), 532-47.

  • 2000: Carl Phillips, Poetry, Consciousness, Gift: The Model of T. S. Eliot
    Published in Coin of the Realm: Essays in the Life and Art of Poetry (St. Paul, MN: Graywolf, 2004), 75-92.

  • 1999: Helen Vendler, Historical Contexts: Available Discourses
    Published as “Inventing Prufrock” in Coming of Age as a Poet (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2004), 81-114.

  • 1998: Charles Altieri, Eliot as Theorist of the Emotions
    Published as “Theorizing Emotions in Eliot’s Poetry and Poetics” in Gender, Desire, and Sexuality in T. S. Eliot, ed. Cassandra Laity and Nancy K. Gish (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004), 150-72.

  • 1997: James Longenbach, Recovering a Postmodern Eliot
    Published as “What Was Postmodern Poetry?” in Modern Poetry After Modernism (New York: Oxford UP, 1997): 3-21.

  • 1996: Marianne Thormählen, “Who devised the torment?” Love in T. S. Eliot’s Poetry and Plays
    Published as “T. S. Eliot—Poet of Love” in Britannien und Europa: Studien zur Literatur-, Geistes- und Kulturgeschichte, ed. Michael Szczekalla (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2010), 175-86.

  • 1995: Louis Menand, T. S. Eliot and Modernity
    Published in New England Quarterly 69.4 (1996): 554-79.

  • 1994: William Harmon, The Fire and the Rose: Eliot and the Popular

  • 1993: Christopher Ricks, Early Eliot

  • 1992: Denis Donoghue, The American T. S. Eliot

  • 1991: Cleo McNelly Kearns, Apocalypse and Wisdom: The Problem of Tone in The Waste Land and Four Quartets
    Published in Christianity and Literature 41.2 (1992): 121-39.

  • 1990: Shyamal Bagchee, Eliot and Coleridge

  • 1989: Leonard Unger, Actual Times and Actual Places in Eliot’s Poetry
    Published in The Placing of T. S. Eliot, ed. Jewel Spears Brooker (Columbia: U of Missouri P, 1991), 90-106.

  • 1988: A. D. Moody, T. S. Eliot: The American Strain
    Published in The Placing of T. S. Eliot, ed. Jewel Spears Brooker (Columbia: U of Missouri P, 1991), 77-89.

  • 1987: James Olney, Memory and Imagination in T. S. Eliot’s Reconstruction of the Past
    Published as “Mixing Memory and Imagination” in The Placing of T. S. Eliot, ed. Jewel Spears Brooker (Columbia: U of Missouri P, 1991), 60-76.

  • 1986: Grover Smith, T. S. Eliot and the Fascination of Hamlet
    Published in The Placing of T. S. Eliot, ed. Jewel Spears Brooker (Columbia: U of Missouri P, 1991), 43-59.

  • 1985: Ronald Schuchard, The Savage Comedian and the Sweeney Myth
    Published in The Placing of T. S. Eliot, ed. Jewel Spears Brooker (Columbia: U of Missouri P, 1991), 27-42. Rpt. in Eliot's Dark Angel: Intersections of Life and Art. New York: Oxford UP, 1999. 87-101.

  • 1984: Jewel Spears Brooker, Substitutes for Religion in the Early Poetry of T. S. Eliot
    Published in The Placing of T. S. Eliot, ed. Jewel Spears Brooker (Columbia: U of Missouri P, 1991), 11-26.

  • 1983: Earl K. Holt III

  • 1982: Charles Guenther

  • 1981: Robert C. Roach

  • 1980: Marcella Holloway