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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A respectful, dramatised view of a great poet's life, 10 Nov 2009
This review is from: Tom and Viv (Oberon Modern Plays) (Paperback)
I stumbled across this play as I was searching for books about T. S. Eliot. Having not heard of the play before, I immediately jumped at the chance to gain an insight (albeit a fictionalised one) into the life of a poet who was notoriusly private.

Eliot's marriage to Vivienne Haigh-Wood is often neglected, but she was an extremely important part of his life. Some researchers even go as far as to say that parts of The Wasteland were written by her. Even if this is not true, it is undeniable that she was one of the main influences on the poem, and it would not have been the same without her.

The play deals with their early marriage, and leads right up to Vivienne's death in the mental asylum in 1947. Of course, it was impossible for Hastings to scrape together the real facts of their marriage, but his knowledge comes from Maurice Haigh-Wood, Vivienne's brother, whom Hastings interviewed just before he died. Because of this, it takes a sympathetic stance in terms of Vivienne's character, who is shown to have wild moments as well as overwhelming despair. Due to Hasting's research, we can at least take parts of the play to be as close to the truth as most of us will ever get.

If you are a fan of Eliot, this should be an interesting read. I would advise against reading this play as a starting point, as it is "fiction", and there are many references to Eliot's poetry woven within the text which it would help to be familiar with prior to reading. Nonetheless, this is a respectful, beautifully-written account of the life of two lovers who eventually drove each other to pieces. I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the man behind the poetic myth.
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Tom and Viv (Oberon Modern Plays)
Tom and Viv (Oberon Modern Plays) by Michael Hastings (Paperback - 15 Sep 2006)
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