PositiveThe Times Literary Supplement (UK)Funny, sad, puzzling ... Mary and Mr Eliot is welcome in that it finally brings some of Mary Trevelyan’s memoir into the light. But it is also an opaque piece of editing, a set of extracts that doesn’t escape the (apparently) diaristic structure of the original, but, by omitting a great deal and too frequently cutting in editorial italics into Mary’s voice, makes it difficult to form a sense of the document’s overall length, structure or quality. Sometimes more glossing of factual information... would have been useful. And sometimes the text seems to need correction ... None of this detracts, however, from the book’s readability or the emotional devastation of its ending.
PositiveThe Times Literary Supplement\"Many readers will be tempted to skip over the first 700 pages of this volume, to go straight for the final months. But that would be a big mistake ... Surprisingly, some of this domestic detail is new. Rather than editing out the \'not nice\' Sylvia for Letters Home, Aurelia seems more often to have objected to the \'nice\' one, as if she too were a little unconvinced by her existence ... The most illuminating part of the second volume may, in fact, be the story it tells about England versus America and, especially, about the two-and-a-half years that the Hugheses spent on the east coast ... Footnotes of the form \'See Ruth Beuscher to SP, 17 September 1962\' are frustrating, given the immense difficulty of \'seeing\' these letters in the Smith College special collections. Could they not have been summarized or even published here?\