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This review is taken from PN Review 106, Volume 22 Number 2, November - December 1995.

ESSENTIALS The Collected Writings of T.E. Hulme, edited by Karen Csengeri (Oxford) £55

T.S. Eliot, reviewing Hulme's posthumously-published Speculations in The Criterion praised him as 'a solitary figure […] the forerunner of a new attitude of mind, which should be the twentieth-century mind, if the twentieth century is to have a mind of its own'. He also described him as the author of some of the most beautiful short poems in the English language. Others, both contemporaries of Hulme's and academics, have been less kind. Pound for instance, after publishing five of his poems at the end of Ripostes under the title 'The Complete Poetical Works of T.E. Hulme' (Hulme actually wrote more than five poems, and we shall come back to this), tried to elide him from the history of Imagism, preferring to credit Ford Madox Ford in his stead. Wyndham Lewis described him as a kind of under-equipped dilettante polemicist, while the critic Herbert Schneidau summarises the marginality to which Hulme was relegated by scholars in the assertion that 'it is now generally recognised that Hulme was not an original thinker, nor even a literary critic' (this in 1969), This does not mean that Hulme has been neglected, simply that his position as an èminence grise has remained steady without his ever emerging from Modernism's grey area. Though the lip-service paid to Hulme's position and scattered impact has become more careful and less dismissive, matters have been hampered by the absence of a substantial collection of his work to turn to for secure and definitive reference. Karen Csengeri's fine edition ...

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