Thursday, September 22, 2011

T S Eliot and irony of cheese and a poet who is not afraid to talk about cheese

"What was peculiar to TSE in this sort," wrote I. A. Richards, "was the delicately perceptible trace, the ghastly flavor of irony which about his manner as though he were preparing a parody"--as when Eliot declined Richard's invitation to visit with him in Peking in 1929 on the grounds that he did "not care to visit any country which has no native cheese"

T.S. Eliot and the Cultural Divide, by David E. Chinitz, University of Chicago Press, 2005


CHEESE (a letter from T. S. Eliot)
Sir – Mr. David Garnett (reviewing Mr. Osbert Burdett’s book [i.e. A Little Book of Cheese, London: Gerald Howe, 1935, which was intended "to aid the reader in the choice of cheese"]) is in error in supposing that there is no tolerable American cheese. There is a delicious Port Salut type made by Trappist monks in Ontario. But Trappist monks, like their cheese, are the product of “a settled civilisation of long standing,” and I fear that there is little demand for either. Americans seem to prefer a negative cream cheese which they can eat with salad: and American salads are barbaric. I wish Mr. Garnett would take the initiative in founding such a society as he suggests; and I for one would be glad to buy a Double Cottenham, if he could put me in the way of it.
Oxford and Cambridge
T. S. Eliot
University Club
Pall Mall, S. W. 1