The Rock

Pageant type

Jump to Summary


Place: Sadler’s Wells Theatre (Finsbury) (Finsbury, Middlesex, England)

Year: 1934

Indoors/outdoors: Indoors

Number of performances: 14


28 May–9 June 1934

Approximately 14 performances

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Producer, Pageant Master: Browne, Martin
  • Historical Scenes: R. Webb Odell
  • Musical Director: Martin Shaw
  • Choreographer: Rev. Vincent Howson

Names of executive committee or equivalent

Executive Committee

  • Chairman: R. Webb Odell

Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)

Eliot, T.S.

Names of composers

  • Shaw, Martin

Numbers of performers


Financial information

The Rock raised £1500.1

Object of any funds raised

Profits of the pageant went towards the ‘Forty-Five Churches Fund’ to build churches in London.

Linked occasion


Audience information

  • Grandstand: No
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: 21000


The pageant was fully attended throughout its run of around 14 performances and Sadler’s Wells has a capacity of 1500.

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline

Part I

Enter the Rock, led by a boy.

Ethelbert, ‘Bert’ the foreman speaking to Alfred—both are cockneys. They discuss ‘Major Douglas’ and the Social Credit movement, and capitalism and the meaning of profits. ‘Fred is doin’ somethink which is more ‘n just bricks and mortar.’2 Workmen step aside, Saxons enter and discuss ‘the God who rules, they say, in Rome. That their god should have been born among men, of a humble woman, and lived his life among folk like you and me, not kings and earls, and yet was truly god’.3 Enter Mellitus (first Bishop of London) and Monks. Enter Sabert (King of London) who Mellitus preaches to and converts. Sabert promises to build a church to the west of London at St. Pauls.

Builder’s song:
‘Ill done and undone,
London so fair.
We will build London
Bright in dark air,
With new bricks and mortar
Beside the Thames bord
Queen of Island and Water,
A House of Our Lord.

Chorus on the founding of the church, sin, virtue, etc.

Workmen [Alfred, Edwin, and Ethelbert] are continuing on the foundations. Enter Rahere, a monk in the time of King Henry, a church builder, who talks to the builders. He ‘loved ease and luxury, and to make men pleased with me…And so in time I came to frequent the Royal Court, and became indeed the King’s Jester.’4 Rahere talks about building St. Bartholomew’s Church at Smithfield. Rahere and his men build work on building.

Chorus on the ‘meaning of this city’, the need for God over profits. Agitator enters to stir up the crowd with revolution: ‘Did you ever ‘ear o’ Darwin? Well, e’ was a scientific bloke what lived more ‘n a hundred years ago’. The Agitator tells the workmen ‘you are betrayin’ your class and the workers of the world, by prostitutin’ yourself by lendin’ your labour towards buildin’ a church.’ Ethelbert talks to the Agitator about Keynes and Social Credit: ‘Deny if you can as there’s enough clay and lime and tools and men to build all the ‘ouses that’s needed in this country, and all the churches too?’5

Chorus sings about Jerusalem. Curtain rises to see Israelites rebuilding Jerusalem ‘In the days of Nehemiah the Prophet’. Nehemiah encourages them to keep building, and refuses to be distracted by various messengers. Shemaiah tells him that people are coming to kill him, but Nehemiah refuses to leave.

Chorus laments. Re-enter the agitator and crowd inveighing against God.

The Danes invade. Nuns, fearful, carry their treasures to hiding places. Some are stopped by Danes who seize their precious relics and kill one of them. The others weep and pray over her body. Monks come to them bearing a crucifix. The Danes, returning in force hesitate as the monks stand still and unresisting across their path; eventually they attack and kill some of them, but dare not touch the Crucifix.’6

Enter military Redshirts who speak of love and productivity on the Steppes [they are Communists]. Enter Blackshirts who declare:

We come as a boon and a blessing to all,
Though we’d rather appear in the Albert Hall.
Our methods are new in this land of the free,
We make the deaf hear and we make the blind see.
We’re law-keeping fellows who make our own laws –

Chorus laments.

Enter Plutocrat, who sees church as upholder of the state: ‘the bulwark of society / The great maintainer of stability’8, but condemns the church as a drain on the poor and rich alike, appealing to both the Redshirts and Blackshirts. The plutocrat suggests various reforms to the church, making it powerless, but keeping it in place. Flunkeys with golden calf fight and dismember it. The Rock laments.

Part II

Chorus on the creation of the world: ‘In the beginning God created the world. Waste and void. Waste and void. And darkness was upon the fact of the deep.’9 Unemployed declare: ‘In this land / No man has hired us’. The chorus laments the ‘waste and void’.

Enter Blomfield, the Bishop of London. He suggests that the prospect of the church isn’t as bleak as most of the chorus thinks it is: ‘When I came to London, I found a situation of much smaller compass, it is true, but fully as unhopeful as that of to-day.’10 He talks of the necessity of missionary work, and for schools: ‘It was not easy in my time. It will not be easy now. Yet I saw built two hundred churches; and you ask for less than a quarter of that number.’11 Blomfield and Chorus talk about the Crusades. A young man Ralph ‘of the time of Richard Coeur de Lion’, leaving his sweetheart, Ursula. He talks of need for holy war and Richard. They pledge themselves to one another. Harry, Son of a wealthy merchant takes the cross, father acknowledges the goodness of his action.

Bishop with attendants and Knights Templar, recites ‘Vexilla Regis Prodeunt’ and ‘Pater Noster’. Bishop blesses them and recites several pages of Latin. They depart and builders enter, bantering with one another. Enter Mrs. Ethelbert with marketing bag, hilariously. Ethelbert and Mrs Ethelbert sing.

The Major, Millicent, and Mrs Poultridge enter. Mrs Poultridge criticizes the ‘modernistic churches’ which ‘seem to me to show a shocking lack of devoutness.’12 Poultridge talks about her preferred church ‘Gothic’, with its stained glass, whilst Millicent talks about the need for simplicity: ‘What Cranmer and those other Oxford men went to the stake for.’13 There is the sound of a Lutheran hymn, and a preacher appears on a hill from Reformation times who urges the purging of idols and images from the church.

Enter a crowd of 1640, bearing various ‘images’, etc., taken from the churches and intended for destruction. A Tudor Crowd enter with jewels and booty from Shrines. The King’s Officer [of the time of King Edward VI] claims them for his own. The crowd deface altar books as preacher and chorus lament that reformation so often brings out violence, iconoclasm and greed. Builders have finished the Apse which is being painted and carved, with craftsmen working on the crucifix and the front of the altar, candlesticks, and book rests. Builders watch them for a while then go off to the pub.

Chorus Rejoices:

We have witnessed the building of the House,

The weak foundations made strong, brick laid upon brick;

While encompassed with enemies armed with the spears of mistake ideals;

Encompassed with enemies armed with the swords of the will to power

Encompassed with enemies armed with the deadly gas of indifference.

We have seen the House adorned, made ready for prayer and worshop.

And now is the dedication, now shall the House

Be sanctified to the Lord.

The Temple is forever building, forever to be destroyed, forever to be restored,

So that you remember, seeing the past,

The dim waste plains of the future, where the Temple is still to be built,

So that you may remember

The lives that await their time to be born14

Chorus speaks about the dedication of St Peter, Westminster Abbey by Edward the Confessor. St Peter, the Rock, and a Thames fisherman who is terrified of him. Peter instructs the fisherman to cast his nets and give the fish he catches to the Abbey. The Fisherman offers a salmon to the Abbey at the consecration.

Ballet of ‘The legend of Dick Whittington and his cat’, followed by a procession to dedicate the church of St Michael, Paternoster Royal, on its rebuilding by Whittington as mayor.

The Chorus shifts time past the Great Fire and Plague to the reign of Queen Anne, and the dedication of St Paul’s. Wren, Pepys, and Evelyn sit around a dining table. Evelyn marvels about the building and its scale. Wren talks about the dream of a celestial city: ‘The designs which haunt my imagination, when I think of what might be done—in this city which Providence has thought fit to visit with fire, and thus prepare for the builder—of what might be done, I say: to build here by Thames’ side the most beautiful city of all Europe, excelling Vicenza or Rome itself’. Wren laments that ‘Squalor and filth, and houses expressive of the desolate lives of their inhabitants—these will survive me; and believe me, gentlemen, architectural monsters will raise their horrid heads long after we are gone.’15

Procession of thanksgiving to St Paul’s with Queen Anne. The Chorus ascends to the newly-finished altar, whilst celebrating the church:

‘It is now a visible church, once more light set on a hill

In a world confused and dark and disturbed by portents of fear.’16

The Chorus acknowledges the ongoing battle between Good and Evil.

The Rock, ‘now St. Peter’ addresses them and closes proceedings with a Benediction:

Ill done and undone,
London so fair
We will build London
Bright in dark air,
With new bricks and mortar
Beside the Thames bord
Queen of Island and Water
A House of Our Lord.

A Church for us all and work for us all and God’s world for us all even unto this last.’17

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Mellitus (d. 624) archbishop of Canterbury
  • Sæberht (d. 616/17) king of the East Saxons
  • Rahere [Rayer] (d. 1143x5) founder of St Bartholomew's Hospital and priory
  • Blomfield, Charles James (1786–1857) bishop of London
  • Whittington, Richard [Dick] (c.1350–1423) merchant and mayor of London
  • Pepys, Samuel (1633–1703) naval official and diarist
  • Wren, Sir Christopher (1632–1723) architect, mathematician, and astronomer
  • Evelyn, John (1620–1706) diarist and writer
  • Anne (1665–1714) queen of Great Britain and Ireland

Musical production

A choir of forty musicians directed by Martin Shaw.

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Times Literary Supplement
New English Weekly
Sunday Times
Sunderland Daily Echo
Manchester Guardian
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer

Book of words

Eliot, T.S., The Rock: A Pageant Play Written for Performance at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Book of Words. London, 1934.

Price 1s

Other primary published materials


References in secondary literature

  • [Due to the amount of scholarship on Eliot, this is confined to works which specifically discuss The Rock, rather than mention it in passing]
  • Atkins, Hazel, ‘Raising the Rock: the Importance of T.S. Eliot’s Pageant Play’, Christianity and Literature, 62 (2013), 261-82.
  • Badenhausen, Richard, ‘Drama’. In T.S. Eliot in Context, ed. Jason Harding. Cambridge, 2011, 125-33.
  • Browne, E. Martin, ‘From the Rock to The Confidential Clerk’, in T.S. Eliot: A Symposium for His Seventieth Birthday. New York, 1958, 57-69.
  • Browne, E. Martin, The Making of T.S. Eliot’s Plays. London, 1969.
  • Chintz, David E., T.S. Eliot and the Cultural Divide. Chicago and London, 2003. At 134.
  • Esty, Jed, ‘Amnesia in the Fields: Late Modernism, Late Imperialism, and the English Pageant-Play’, ELH, 69 (2002), 245-76.
  • Esty, Jed, A shrinking island: modernism and national culture in England. Princeston, N.J., 2004.
  • Grant, Michael, ed., T.S. Eliot: the Critical Heritage. London, 1997. [Contains contemporary critical reviews].
  • Malmud, Randy, Where the Words are Valid: T. S. Eliot's Communities of Drama. Westport, CT., 1994.
  • Smith, Carol H., T.S. Eliot’s Dramatic Theory and Practice: From “Sweeney Agonistes” to “The Elder Statesman”. Princeton, NJ, 1963, 76-94

Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Bodleian Library, Oxford. Correspondence and drafts of The Rock. Ms. Don c. 23/1 and Ms. Don d. 43-4.

Sources used in preparation of pageant

  • Burrage, C. The True Story of Robert Browne.


Jed Esty has argued that the involvement of number of modernist writers, including T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster and Virginia Woolf, in writing (or writing about) historical pageants in the 1930s was a symptom of the diminishing horizons of modernism, shifting from a major to a minor cultural movement. Where once these great writers dealt in wide horizons, dealing with the mutability of language, time and even personality, now they constricted their work to a focus on the English past.18 In this, Esty has followed a long line of critics, going back to Eliot himself, who saw The Rock as a decidedly minor part of his work, connecting the abstract symbolism of his earlier work to his excursions into verse drama and the philosophically-grounded assuredness of his late masterworks, the Four Quartets. Esty argues that the The Rock ‘met with modest popular success and general critical dismay’, and suggests that Eliot himself disliked many of the prose narratives which connected the choruses (which he did like, to the extent of including them in various volumes of his Collected Poems).19

The Pageant was commissioned in late 1933 as part of the ‘Forty-Five Churches Fund’, established in 1930, which sought to provide sufficient churches for London’s rapidly growing population. The fund was directed by R. Webb-Odell, who commissioned Eliot and suggested an outline for the pageant, and by October 1933, £55000 had been raised.20

However, the overwhelming critical focus on The Rock as a literary work by the great poet T.S. Eliot ignores much of the context under which the pageant was written. Whilst E.M. Forster’s Abinger Pageant (1934) and England’s Pleasant Land (1938) were written by the author with an almost entirely free hand, Eliot was commissioned to write the pageant, in much the same way that other writers had written individual scenes for pageants under the direction of the producer and pageant master within specific constraints. Arthur Quiller Couch had written episodes for the Winchester Pageant (1908), Rudyard Kipling had written for the Festival of Empire Pageant (1924), and John Buchan and A.L. Rowse had written individual scenes in the Oxfordshire Historical Pageant (1931)— just to list several examples. The predominant focus on Eliot as a great artist underplays the sense that he was merely a collaborator in the work, in the manner, say, that a librettist is in an opera. As Eliot wrote in a letter to Webb Odell, who devised the scenes of the Pageant: ‘I saw a poster to-day which describes me as “the author”. This is not correct, and gives me what is not due. I should be glad if posters could in future read: “Produced by Martin Browne. Words by T.S. Eliot. Music by Martin Shaw.’21 Eliot wrote in the foreword to the book of words that: ‘I cannot consider myself the author of the “play”, but only of the words which are printed here. The scenario, incorporating some historical scenes suggested by the Rev. R. Webb-Odell, was written by Mr. E. Martin Browne, under whose direction I wrote the choruses and dialogues, and submissive to whose expert criticism I rewrote much of them’.22 Whilst most have judged this to either be at best false modesty or at worst disowning something Eliot realised was far from his best work, it may also be read as an acknowledgement that a pageant was never solely the creation of one person but of many.

The idea is given further corroboration by a letter from the Reverend Vincent Howson, the Vicar of Limehouse East, to the pageant producer Martin Browne. Howson, who did much to recruit and train the amateur performers, had previously been a member of the pageant master Frank Benson’s Shakespearian Company. In the letter, which was forwarded to Eliot, Howson proceeded to critique his dialogue and the presentation of the cockneys:

Mr. Elliott [sic], though a well-known poet, was not an expert dramatist. The only question is how far are you and Mr Elliot going to permit me to go in altering the text. I am afraid it needs a lot of re-writing. The dialect is not cockney and the speeches are not true to life. I see Mr Elliot’s idea which is most excellent and in every way he has carried it out, but in the language, and in the way in which the speeches are constructed.23

Yet Howson thought parts of the dialogue still salvageable and if allowed ‘a considerable amount of freedom in reconstructing the actual dialogue and re-writing the dialect without losing Mr Elliot’s ideas or meaning we can make a really good scene of this.’24 The main problems were that the dialogue was untrue to life—‘it is not true cockney or what is known as cockney’—and that a number of the characters were too didactic in their forms of expression, in parts of the play which focused on economic systems: ‘The cockney is not subtle in logic or reason. He does not talk about the theory of this or that method of social reform, because what education he has had is not the Oxford lecture room where alternative theories are shown.’25 This is quite remarkable: a former actor and East End vicar telling probably the foremost poet of the age that his dialogue was wholly unrealistic. Yet, this was hardly the first time that Eliot had attempted different voices: key sections for The Waste Land involves a dialogue between various East Londoners in the aftermath of the First World War (the first part of the poem was originally titled ‘He do the police in different voices’, a line from Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend), and many of his other poems, from ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ to ‘Sweeney Agonistes’ sought to integrate different accents into poetic form.26 Evidently, Eliot took Howson’s comments to heart (he was famously insecure about his work), and the text was changed significantly. In the Foreword he insisted that ‘The Rev. Vincent Howson has so completely rewritten, amplified and condensed the dialogue between himself (‘Bert’) and his mates, that he deserves the title of joint author.’27

One of Eliot’s greatest innovations to the pageant form was his juxtaposition of historical periods and chronologies, a hallmark of modernist literature. Thus, whilst the Pageant tells the history of the church in London from the seventh century through the Danes, the Crusades, the Reformation, the Civil War, the Great Fire of London and finally Wren’s restoration, none of the scenes are entirely historical, with many of the characters appearing in modern dress and discussing contemporary ideas and ideologies, including Communism, Fascism, and the Social Credit Movement (to which Eliot himself subscribed).28 This allowed for the pageant to provide an overarching historical overview against the backdrop of Eliot’s main themes—the importance and persistence of the Rock, or the Christian Church (regardless of denomination) throughout periodical crises throughout history. Its survival provided values which sustained civilisation. Esty has warned, against a number of earlier critics, that this development in Eliot’s thought ‘is not simply the petrification of youthful agony into middle-aged dogmatism, but his growing sense that organic community might finally be re-established in the wake of the manifest failures of modern European politics.’29 Carol H. Smith has rightly declared that the source of this to be the work of the British Catholic historian Christopher Dawson, who stressed the shared Christian values which underpinned the history of Western Europe over the last two millennia.30 Indeed, Eliot changed the draft outline of the pageant, devised by R. Webb Odell and Martin Browne, which had initially been in conventional pageant form, telling the development of the church chronologically across ten scenes.31 The juxtaposition of old and new elements, as well as the timeless declarations of the chorus (drawn directly from Greek drama) is a key strength of the work. So too, the Cockney builders, Ethelbert (or ‘Bert’) and Alfred, or ‘Fred’ and their wives provided comic interludes which drew heavily on a music hall tradition, helped in no small part by the farcical ballet of Dick Whittington and his cat.32 As Esty has argued, ‘To read the book of words today is to encounter a fascinating mixture of high and low cultural registers from the 1930s; it combines stock pageantry devices with popular ballet, pantomime, music-hall ditties, radical oratory, Latin liturgy, and Brechtian chants.’33

The Manchester Guardian praised these aspects of The Rock: ‘It was a good move to abandon the ordinary chronicle-form, which, in pageants elsewhere, proceeds with such inevitable momentum from the Age of Woad to the Age of Aeroplanes’, adding that ‘The layers of realistic comedy, which are set among the spiritual invocations, offer a contradiction of style but not of mood or purpose, and such duality of writing enhances instead of hindering the general effect’.34 The newspaper was also critical of a number of aspects, suggesting that ‘Mr Eliot would have stated better the Church’s case for aid to expand if he had more frankly admitted the Church’s own pride and cruelty in the past and had not been so hoity-toity with everybody else.’ It concluded that:

Although there are some fine things said, the textual side of ‘The Rock’ will hardly attract the wavering mind to the clerical cause. Mr Eliot has a taste for that peevish medievalism which must curse wherever it sees a motor-car and is highly sarcastic about the gold course and the tennis court. It is surely conceivable that rackets and fresh air do less harm in the world than the racks and cells of the Middle Ages.35

This was, on the whole, representative of the wider criticism of the pageant which, without exception, focused wholly on Eliot’s part in the work. The critic D.W. Harding, writing in F.R. Leavis’s quarterly critical review Scrutiny suggested that ‘Eliot’s subtle tone of humble and yet militant contempt could hardly be improved upon.’ He argued that ‘It puts the plight of the uncultured vividly but it does not show what the Church would do for them.’ Harding saw much to admire in the play, especially in the choruses, but criticized its representation of the past: Scrutiny, which was ostensibly secular in outlook, favoured a lapsarian rather than cyclical view of history, whereby a stable culture had collapsed in various stages between the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution.36 The Tablet declared that the performance was ‘not very successful… there is little freshness and beauty of thought to mollify the exacerbating diction’,37 with the Sunday Times adding that The Rock was ‘more interesting for its promise than for its performance.’38 Michael Sayers in the New English Weekly agreed, thinking that ‘though the book contained many passages of poetic worth, interest and beauty, yet on the whole the verse was of such strained lucidity, that it would provide an extremely thin, flat or lympathic dialogue when spoken aloud in the process of dramatic action.’39 More positive was the BBC magazine The Listener, which applauded its wide conception and variety of verse, declaring itself pleased ‘that a great contemporary poet should have been given the opportunity of writing directly for a popular audience’:

Those to whom Mr. Eliot’s name is synonymous with “modernist” and “difficult” poetry may be surprised that audiences of bishops, aldermen, church workers, school children and “general public”, most of whom are probably unfamiliar with his other works, should be able to join in anything written by him as they do in the last chorus of all.40

Blackfriars magazine made a similar point, stating that ‘Mr Eliot has come out of the Waste Land. His sojourn in the desert was not, as his less intelligent disciples seem to have thought, an intellectual antic: it was a necessary asceticism, and an asceticism for poetry.’ Though the performance was an ‘explicitly Christian play’ and ‘vulgar propaganda’ whose aim was ‘to collect cash for Church extension’, the reviewer applauded both the conception and achievement: ‘Mr Eliot has always claimed that the poet should be in organic relation with the community: in this play he has achieved that relation’.41

D.W. Harding and the reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement were right to see The Rock as transitional within Eliot’s work. Despite the mixed criticism and attempts to distance himself from the Pageant, Eliot was encouraged by its success, which attracted packed audiences throughout its run, making £1500 for the Forty Five Churches Fund.42 The Bishop of Chichester, George Bell, who had been instrumental in introducing Eliot to Browne, was so impressed by The Rock that he subsequently commissioned Eliot to write a play for the Canterbury Festival of Music and Drama. In fact, Bell had been instrumental in staging the Chichester Pageant of Sussex Saints (1935), whose Pageant Master was the wife of the Musical Director of The Rock, Martin Shaw (who also wrote music for Chichester’s Pageant). In 1935 Martin Browne produced Eliot’s play, Murder in the Cathedral for the Festival—widely acclaimed as Eliot’s best play which did much to relaunch verse drama in mid twentieth-century British theatre.43 The play, which told the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket, also owes much to the pageant form. The Rock was staged in Blackburn with a different cast, to raise funds for Blackburn Cathedral, in 1937.44

The Rock has garnered the rather unwarranted reputation as a dud in Eliot’s oeuvre. Yet, in its accessibility and blending of high and low cultural forms and ideas—from Major Douglas’ Social Credit to Music Hall revues—the pageant succeeded in drawing both critics from literary periodicals and those who seldom went to plays at all. Compared to the often clunky and badly-written pageant scripts of the time, Eliot’s The Rock appears one of the better and most distinctive examples of the form. Whilst Esty has presented it as part of a reactionary turning inwards—a failure of nerve—of British modernist literature, The Rock also showed signs of a reassertion of an organic view of culture underpinned by a Christian faith. This was an idea which Eliot would continued to develop over the next fifteen years through his Idea of A Christian Society (1939) and Notes Towards a Definition of Culture (1948). The Rock is one of the first instances of Eliot’s view, which underpinned his late work, that history was itself cyclical rather than linear, underpinned by constancies and continuities in poetry, culture and religion. The pageant form allowed Eliot to develop these ideas, which became the motif to the Four Quartets:

Here between the hither and the farther shore
While time is withdrawn, consider the future
And the past with an equal mind.45


  1. ^ Hazel Atkins, ‘Raising the Rock: the Importance of T.S. Eliot’s Pageant Play’, Christianity and Literature, 62 (2013), 279.
  2. ^ T.S. Eliot, The Rock: A Pageant Play Written for Performance at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Book of Words. (London, 1934), 12-13.
  3. ^ Ibid, 16.
  4. ^ Ibid, 24-5.
  5. ^ Ibid, 34.
  6. ^ Ibid, 41.
  7. ^ Ibid, 44.
  8. ^ Ibid, 45.
  9. ^ Ibid, 49.
  10. ^ Ibid, 53.
  11. ^ Ibid, 55.
  12. ^ Ibid, 69.
  13. ^ Ibid, 59-60.
  14. ^ Ibid, 78-9.
  15. ^ Ibid, 82.
  16. ^ Ibid, 84.
  17. ^ Ibid, 86.
  18. ^ Jed Esty, ‘Amnesia in the Fields: Late Modernism, Late Imperialism, and the English Pageant-Play’, ELH, volume 69, no. 1 (Spring 2002), 245-76; Jed Esty, A shrinking island: modernism and national culture in England (Princeston, N.J., 2004), esp. 70-78
  19. ^ Esty, ‘Amnesia in the Fields’, 251.
  20. ^ Hazel Atkins, ‘Raising the Rock: the Importance of T.S. Eliot’s Pageant Play’, Christianity and Literature, March 2013, volume 62, no. 3, 279.
  21. ^ Letter from T.S. Eliot to R. Webb Odell, 8 February 1934, Bodleian Library, Oxford, Ms. Don. d. 44, T.S. Eliot’s The Rock, correspondence and drafts.
  22. ^ T.S. Eliot, ‘Foreword’, The Rock: A Pageant Play Written for Performance at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Book of Words, (London, 1934), 5.
  23. ^ Letter from Reverend Vincent Howson to Martin Browne, 29 March 1934, in Ms. Don. d. 44.
  24. ^ Ibid.
  25. ^ Ibid.
  26. ^ Beth Tovey, ‘A Heap of Broken Images: the Different voices of T.S. Eliot’, OxfordWords Blog, accessed 25 July 2016,
  27. ^ Eliot, ‘Foreword’, The Rock, 5.
  28. ^ Brian Burkitt and Frances Hutchinson, Political Economy of Social Credit and Guild Socialism (London, 1997).
  29. ^ Esty, ‘Amnesia in the Fields’, 252.
  30. ^ Carol H. Smith, T.S. Eliot’s Dramatic Theory and Practice: From “Sweeney Agonistes” to “The Elder Statesman” (Princeton, NJ., 1963), 82.
  31. ^ Typescript of early ‘A Provisional Scheme’, in Ms. Don. d. 44.
  32. ^ Smith, T.S. Eliot’s Dramatic Theory, 76; Atkins, ‘Raising the Rock’, 279; Randy Malmud, Where the Words are Valid: T. S. Eliot's Communities of Drama. (Westport, CT., 1994), 35-6.
  33. ^ Esty, ‘Amnesia in the Fields’, 250.
  34. ^ Manchester Guardian, 13 June 1934, 7.
  35. ^ Ibid.
  36. ^ D.W. Harding, Scrutiny, volume iii, September 1934, 180-3; Christopher Hilliard, English as a Vocation: The Scrutiny Movement (Oxford, 2012), 46-71.
  37. ^ Tablet, 4 August 1934, 138
  38. ^ Sunday Times, 30 September 1934, 12.
  39. ^ Michael Sayers, New English Weekly, 21 June 1934, 230-1. Sayers also praised Howson’s burlesques.
  40. ^ The Listener, 6 June 1934, 945
  41. ^ Blackfriars, 15 (September 1934), 642-3.
  42. ^ Hazel Atkins, ‘Raising the Rock: the Importance of T.S. Eliot’s Pageant Play’, Christianity and Literature, 62 (2013), 279.
  43. ^ Richard Badenhausen, ‘Drama’, in Jason Harding, ed., T.S. Eliot in Context (Cambridge, 2011), 128-9.
  44. ^ Lancashire Evening Post, 16 January 1937, 6.
  45. ^ T.S. Eliot, ‘East Coker’ in T.S. Eliot: Collected Poems, 1909-1962 (London, 1983), 210-1.

How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘The Rock’, The Redress of the Past,