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"The major critical breakthrough of Becoming T. S. Eliot comes through Stayer's masterful rhetorical analysis of Inventions of the March Hare. Stayer meticulously delineates how Eliot's botched rhetorical experiments between 1909 and 1911 negatively affected his desired clarity of meaning before he reached poetic maturation in 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.' This highly innovative and compelling study goes on the permanent must list for students of Eliot and the creative development of other modernist poets."

"This indispensable companion to Eliot's early poetry analyzes his transformation from a schoolboy seeking his elders' approval to a truth-telling iconoclast and the poet of modern suffering. Stayer's deeply researched and comprehensive study is essential for understanding how Eliot wrote Prufrock and Other Observations and why these poems succeed."

"Inspiringly thorough and well-researched, Becoming T. S. Eliot is argued with force, finesse, and great eloquence. A full-scale reexamination of the poems in the poet's March Hare notebook, the book reveals Eliot experimenting with how to fashion both an audience and a speaker for his unique poetic voice. Stayer's prose is jaunty, elegant, and incredibly readable. This is the guide to Eliot's early poems for which we've been waiting."

"Stayer's sharpened and complete chronology of Eliot's earliest writings, as well as his analysis of their audience, will be helpful to readers, as will the impressive way he sheds new light on a neglected poem, 'The Engine.'"