Parodying Eliot. Letter to The Spectator, published 25 June 2022


Parodying Eliot

Letter to The Spectator

published Saturday 25 June 2022

Anthony Stadlen

Sir: Philip Hensher (4 June) wonders what T. S. Eliot thought of Henry Reeddazzling take on Four Quartets’, Chard Whitlow’.  The Episcopalian Minister Dr William Turner Levy, in his 1968 book Affectionately, T. S. Eliot. The Story of a Friendship: 1947-1965, reports that in 1958 he showed Eliot and his wife Valerie, who were visiting him in his New York home, a new acquisition, two pages in Dylan Thomass handwriting, from a notebook which he had used during his poetry readings’. The pages contained Chard Whitlow’. Tom gave it a close scrutiny, [...] removed his fountain pen from his inside breast pocket and wrote on the bottom of the second of the two pages. ... [He] said: You know, William, this is the only piece of paper in existence that has both Dylan's writing on it and mine. I read what he had written: Not bad. But I think I could write a better parody myself! T. S. Eliot, 27.iv.58. 


Dylan Thomass sublime rendering of Chard Whitlow may be heard online.

Anthony Stadlen

London N22

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