ELIOT, THE “MOST BANK-CLERKY OF ALL BANK CLERKS”. In my blog post on Eliot, I wrote that: “Eliot moved to England and spent his life trying to look like a stuffy English banker. The mother of a friend of mine loved to quote Virginia Woolf marveling at seeing Eliot in a four-piece suit (we had no idea what the fourth piece could have been. Perhaps two different vests?).”
I now came across this article by Paul Collins on the Mental Floss site which says that the “four-piece suit quote was a joke by Virginia Woolf”. I suddenly felt sympathy for this Midwesterner trying to dress like an Englishman.
In his article, Paul Collins writes about an attempt by Ezra Pound to raise money so that Eliot could stop being a banker and devote himself to poetry.
Pound’s plan failed. Collins says: “It turned out that Eliot didn’t want to quit his job! He liked being employed by the bank and actually took pleasure in his work.” Collins comments: “Pound should have seen this coming. Aldous Huxley once declared Eliot “the most bank-clerky of all bank clerks.”