“The ivory men make company between us:” previously omitted line now added back to “The Waste Land”


From An Interview with Jim McCue, Co-Editor of The Poems of T. S. Eliot Interesting Literature – September 12, 2016:

In the section called A Game of Chess, the published poem has the lines

And if it rains, a closed car at four.
And we shall play a game of chess,
Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door.

But between the second and third of these lines, the typescript had another: “The ivory men make company between us”.  It turns out that this was omitted at the insistence of Vivien Eliot, TSE’s first wife.  He never printed it, but on three occasions after publication, he added it to the text, so we have reintroduced it and numbered it line 137a, which recognizes its spectral presence – and doesn’t interfere with the traditional line numbering.

Read the previous version of “The Wasteland” at Bartleby

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