‘I bowed to the comely maids…’ Note reveals surprising side of TS Eliot

The poet collected his Nobel in Sweden in 1948 – and an unseen letter from the trip shows the man behind the stuffy image

An intimate glimpse of how it really feels to receive the world’s greatest literary honour, the Nobel prize, has come to light in a previously unpublished letter from TS Eliot, who won the award in 1948. And just as they are today, the demands of fans could be onerous.

“The Swedes seem to have an insatiable appetite for three things; photographs, autographs and speeches,” Eliot complains. “One had only to hesitate for a moment at a street corner and some man, woman or child would rush up with a notebook and a fountain pen.”

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