Prufrock and Other Observations (First Edition) by T. S. Eliot



2015-06-26 10:45:02

Prufrock and Other Observations is a collection of poetry by T. S. Eliot (1888-1965). The collection was first published in 1917 by The Egoist, London. Background

Eliot composed The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock between 1910 and 1911. It was published in the June 1915 issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse. The magazine’s foreign editor Ezra Pound convinced its founder that Eliot was a striking new voice, self-trained and self-modernised. It was Eliot’s first poem to be published outside of school or university. This was followed by the publication of the other ‘Boston poem’, Portrait of a Lady, in 1915 in Others: A Magazine in New Verse. In 1917, when Eliot’s name was firmly established, he collected several poems together including these two and published them as Prufrock and Other Observations – his first poetry collection.

Plot, Characters, Themes

The poems featured include: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Portrait of a Lady, Preludes, Rhapsody on a Windy Night, Morning at the Window, The Boston Evening Transcript, Aunt Helen, Cousin Nancy, Mr. Apollinax, Hysteria, Conversation Galante, and La Figlia che Piange.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a stream of consciousness dramatic monologue, focused on the musings of a narrative voice which is at turns weary, regretful, embarrassed, longing, emasculated, sexually frustrated, decaying and deeply aware of mortality.


T. S. Eliot’s writing is definitive of the Modernist era of literature, and he is considered among the greatest 20th century English language poets.

See main article: T S Eliot rare books and memorabilia

Notable auction sales and collecting tips

These poems alone cannot be considered first editions as several had been published prior to this. However, this collection, Eliot’s first, is a testament to Eliot’s rising success and acclaim as a Modernist poet. Copies are worth much more in their original bindings. There were a mere 500 printed, so they are very desirable, much more so if signed or inscribed by Eliot.

First editions of Prufrock and Other Observations (1917, The Egoist, London) were sold by PBA Galleries, inscribed, for $7,000 in September 2006, and by Bloomsbury Auctions for $17,000 in June 2008. Christie’s sold first editions for $8,125 in June 2011, £18,000 in June 2005, and signed for $31,070 in October 2002.

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