Constance 'Cocky' Moncrieff, T. S. Eliot, Emily Lina 'Mappie' Mirrlees and Hope Mirrlees at Shamley Wood, Shamley Green, Surrey, 1940s.
Photographer unknown; from the collection of the T. S. Eliot Estate.

Hope Mirrlees


Hope Mirrlees (1887–1978), British poet, novelist, translator and biographer, was to become a close friend of TSE; author of works including Paris: A Poem (1920), Lud-in-the-Mist (novel, 1926), and A Fly in Amber: Being an Extravagant Biography of the Romantic Antiquary Sir Robert Bruce Cotton (1962). See too Collected Poems of Hope Mirrlees, ed. Sandeep Parmar (2011).

Writing to Eleanor Hinkley, 14 Jan. 1959, TSE described Mirrlees as ‘a very old and dear friend of mine … She has a wonderful sense of humour in addition to everything else … She is wildly & most amusingly eccentric and unconventional. A brilliant & erudite linguist (Greek, French, Russian, Icelandic) she was Jane Harrison’s best pupil at Cambridge.’

See too Valerie Eliot, letter to the editor, TLS, 24 Feb. 1984: ‘Eliot’s letters to her [Hope Mirrlees] and Mrs [Mappie] Mirrlees went to America in her lifetime and all that remained were a number of inscribed books, and some manuscript pages of table-talk entitled “Tom Titbits” which are now in my possession. She had given me a copy of these reminiscences – occasionally jotted on the back of notes for her own work – before my marriage and extracts will appear in the Correspondence.’