ADVANTAGES

For a struggling young American, Eliot had acquired extraordinary access to the Britishintellectual set. With Russell's help he was invited to country-house weekends wherevisitors ranged from political figures like Herbert Henry Asquith to a constellation ofBloomsbury writers, artists, and philosophers. At the same time Pound facilitated hisentry into the international avant-garde, where Eliot mixed with a group including theaging Irish poet William Butler Yeats, the English painter and novelist Wyndham Lewis, andthe Italian Futurist writer Tamaso Marinetti. More accomplished than Pound in the mannersof the drawing room, Eliot gained a reputation in the world of belles-lettres as anobserver who could shrewdly judge both accepted and experimental art from a platform ofapparently enormous learning. It did not hurt that he calculated his interventionscarefully, publishing only what was of first quality and creating around himself an auraof mystery. In 1920 he collected a second slim volume of verse, ,and avolume of criticism, Both displayed a winning combination oferudition and jazzy bravura, and both built upon the understated discipline of a decade ofphilosophical seriousness. Eliot was meanwhile proofreading the serialpublication of Joyce's and, with Pound's urging, starting to think ofhimself as part of an experimental movement in modern art and literature.

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