The Poems of T. S. Eliot (Faber: published as two volumes, The Poems of T. S. Eliot Volume I: Collected and Uncollected Poems and The Poems of T. S. Eliot Volume II: Practical Cats and Further Verses), has been newly edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue. Here, Jim McCue talks to Foyles about the edition and the poems. This interview (from 2015) has been reproduced here by kind permission of Jim McCue.
Foyles: Can you tell us about what this major literary project involved in terms of the research and editorial process?
Jim McCue: There are hundreds of manuscripts in England and America, in libraries and in private collections, but there was no list of them all, so we had to track down those that gave us new poetry, as well as comparing all the others with the poems in their published form. (Handling the drafts was a great thrill and privilege, of course.) TSE’s letters and prose are full of information, from which we selected what is most relevant to the poems, to go into our Commentary, along with a great many facts and sources discovered by scholars over several decades.
Foyles: How long did the project take to complete?