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  1. A Christmas Carol
  2. Adam Bede
  3. Alice in Wonderland
  4. All's Well That Ends Well
  5. A Midsummer Night's Dream
  6. A Modest Proposal
  7. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
  8. An Ideal Husband
  9. Antony and Cleopatra
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  11. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  12. Arms and the Man
  13. A Room With A View
  14. A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy
  15. A Study in Scarlet
  16. As You Like It
  17. A Tale of a Tub
  18. A Tale of Two Cities
  19. A Woman of No Importance
  20. Barnaby Rudge
  21. Beowulf
  22. Bleak House
  23. Book of Common Prayer
  24. Candida
  25. Captains Courageous
  26. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
  27. Clarissa
  28. Coriolanus
  29. Daniel Deronda
  30. David Copperfield
  31. Dombey and Son
  32. Don Juan
  33. Emma
  34. Finnegans Wake
  35. Four Quartets
  36. Frankenstein
  37. Great Expectations
  38. Gulliver's Travels
  39. Hamlet
  40. Hard Times
  41. Howards End
  42. Ivanhoe
  43. Jane Eyre
  44. Julius Caesar
  45. Kim
  46. King James Version of the Bible
  47. King Lear
  48. King Solomon's Mines
  49. Lady Chatterley's Lover
  50. Lady Windermere's Fan
  51. Leviathan
  52. Little Dorrit
  53. Love's Labour's Lost
  54. Macbeth
  55. Major Barbara
  56. Mansfield Park
  57. Martin Chuzzlewit
  58. Measure for Measure
  59. Middlemarch
  60. Moll Flanders
  61. Mrs. Dalloway
  62. Mrs. Warren's Profession
  63. Much Ado About Nothing
  64. Murder in the Cathedral
  65. Nicholas Nickleby
  66. Northanger Abbey
  67. Nostromo
  68. Ode on a Grecian Urn
  69. Oliver Twist
  70. Othello
  71. Our Mutual Friend
  72. Pamela or Virtue Rewarded
  73. Paradise Lost
  74. Paradise Regained
  75. Peregrine Pickle
  76. Persuasion
  77. Peter Pan
  78. Pride and Prejudice
  79. Pygmalion
  80. Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  81. Robinson Crusoe
  82. Rob Roy
  83. Roderick Random
  84. Romeo and Juliet
  85. Saint Joan
  86. Salomé
  87. Sense and Sensibility
  88. She Stoops to Conquer
  89. Silas Marner
  90. Sons and Lovers
  91. The Alchemist
  92. The Beggar's Opera
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  95. The Castle of Otranto
  96. The Comedy of Errors
  97. The Dunciad
  98. The Elder Statesman
  99. The Faerie Queene
  100. The Happy Prince and Other Tales
  101. The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
  102. The Hound of the Baskervilles
  103. The Importance of Being Earnest
  104. The Jungle Book
  105. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
  106. The Man Who Would Be King
  107. The Master of Ballantrae
  108. The Merchant of Venice
  109. The Merry Wives of Windsor
  110. The Mill on the Floss
  111. The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  112. The Nigger of the Narcissus
  113. The Old Curiosity Shop
  114. The Pickwick Papers
  115. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  116. The Pilgrim's Progress
  117. The Rape of the Lock
  118. The Second Jungle Book
  119. The Secret Agent
  120. The Sign of Four
  121. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  122. The Tempest
  123. The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
  124. The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  125. The Vicar of Wakefield
  126. The Waste Land
  127. The Winter's Tale
  128. Timon of Athens
  129. Titus Andronicus
  130. To the Lighthouse
  131. Treasure Island
  132. Troilus and Cressida
  133. Twelfth Night, or What You Will
  134. Typhoon
  135. Ulysses
  136. Vanity Fair
  137. Volpone
  138. Wuthering Heights


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The Elder Statesman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Elder Statesman is a play in verse by T. S. Eliot first performed in 1958 and published in 1959.


T. S. Eliot once quipped: “A play should give you something to think about. When I see a play and understand it the first time, then I know it can't be much good.”

It was a self-adopted method for Eliot to start from the known and the familiar and work his way into the unfamiliar and the unknown. Eliot realized that the modern man, in the daily hustle-bustle of his existence, is unknowingly gasping for breath, looking for an escape from the quagmire of daily life, which is devoid of all meaning. Eliot’s drawing room drama The Elder Statesman, is the last of his drawing room plays in which he attempts to give a final expression to his vision of life. In many ways, therefore, The Elder Statesman marks the culmination of Eliot’s philosophy of life. Murder in the Cathedral deals with the theme of spirituality. The Cocktail Party deals with the theme of misplaced priorities and skewed spiritual visions. The Family Reunion shows us the process by which a man, pre-disposed to sainthood, is made aware of his destiny. In the last drawing room drama, Eliot shows us how no man is rich enough to buy his past, how no one can escape the memories of things gone by. One cannot flee from a guilt-ridden past and can only gain salvation from the same through admittance, contrition and expiation.

The Elder Statesman, as a play, is not particularly poetic or dramatic. But it’s written in powerful verse, which is apt for Eliot’s theme and expression. What Eliot wishes to tell us is something profoundly true and important: that we cannot flee the past or ‘retire‛ from responsibility. At best, we can off-load it by contrition. And that to find ‘the truth that shall set you free‛ you must strip yourself of all pretense, all ‘acting‛ and become again, a little child. Eliot also shows us that to enter into reality is only possible through others; so that totally shared love is the supreme road to reality, and that as such, love is capable of being self-sufficient, provided it is love which is founded on true confession, resignation and trust.


When the play opens, the setting is that of Lord Claverton’s drawing room. Lord Claverton is man of distinction, who is well-known and well-respected in society, where he exerts considerable influence. As the play opens, we see Claverton’s daughter Monica, bantering with her beau, Charles Hemington. From their conversation, it becomes evident that Lord Claverton is fiercely possessive of Monica- a fact that Charles grudges. Through the course of the play, we see that Claverton has been forced to retire for medical reasons. He is hounded by revelations from his past - a man (Gomez), who as a student he led into bad company, a singer (Mrs.Carghill), with whom he had an affair and who was bought off by his father. These people, unexpectedly make a comeback in Claverton’s life, and bring with them all the memories that Claverton has conveniently chosen to forget or overlook. Claverton and Monica’s first impression is that Gomez and Mrs.Carghill have returned to claim money from the wealthy Claverton. But it is made abundantly clear to the reader that Gomez and Mrs.Carghill are well enough off on their own account, and have not come back to blackmail Claverton for his money. They only want to spend their time with Claverton. Eliot’s underlying message is that these two people are the twin agents of conscience that have come back to constantly remind Claverton of his guilt, of how his public image does not match the real man underneath it. Back in his college days, Claverton had a hit and run incident, a fact which Gomez is privy to. As for Mrs.Carghill, she was the love of Claverton’s life but she was bought off by Claverton’s disapproving father. As a result, Claverton could not make good his promise of marrying Mrs.Carghill. Gomez, who has made a fortune since then and Mrs.Carghill, who is now a wealthy widow, have both come back to Claverton’s life as agents of Eliot’s message.

As the play progresses, we see that Gomez manages to lure away Claverton’s son Michael, according to whom his father never understood him. It is only Monica, who stands beside her father, offering all the support he needs. She is indeed the spiritual guide who brings Claverton to the light of self-knowledge. It is only by shamefully confessing to Monica that her father is able to gain salvation. Claverton confesses that he never told her about the past as he always wanted Monica and Michael to admire him. Monica assures him that her admiration for her father is irrespective of his past. As for Michael, he is given a farewell so that he may go with Gomez and chart his own destiny. They are both hopeful that Michael will either be successful in his pursuits, or will return home eventually, like the prodigal son.

After his confession to Monica and her re-assurance to her father, Claverton expresses his desire to go for a walk. And it doesn’t take the reader too long to realize that Claverton dies off-stage, leaving Monica to Charles- a couple, who will together lead and be led towards the goal of spirituality and illumination.

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