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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
TS Eliot letters to be auctioned
Eliot's letters include illustrations and poems

A series of letters written by the poet TS Eliot to his godson are to be sold at auction next month.

The collection of nearly 50 letters to Tom Faber will be sold by the Faber publishing family.

In some of the letters, written in the 1930s, Eliot introduces the creatures of Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats to the young Tom.

The collection is expected to fetch 25,000-30,000 when it is sold at Bonhams auction house on 20 September.

'Greatest poet'

Faber, who died in 2004, was TS Eliot's first godchild and the son of his friend and publisher Geoffrey Faber.

He enjoyed a distinguished career as a physicist and was also chairman of the Geoffrey Faber Holding Company and the only representative of the Faber family on the board of Faber and Faber.

Felix Pryor, editor of The Faber Book of Letters and Bonhams' manuscripts consultant, said the letters were "enormous fun".

"This is an utterly wonderful collection from possibly the greatest poet of the 20th century," he said.

"For anyone who loves TS Eliot's poetry, the connection with the Faber family and its publishing house makes this collection even more exciting."

Tom always said that he never thought of TS Eliot as a poet or a scholar. He always thought of him as 'Uncle Tom'
Tom Faber's widow, Elisabeth

Eliot's letters to his godson are peppered with illustrations as well as amusing poems.

The first 11 letters - dating from 1930 to 1936 - were written during the composition of Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, which Eliot dedicated to Faber.

Faber's widow, Dr Elisabeth Faber, said: "My husband often referred to the 'magical times' they'd spent together when Tom was growing up.

"Tom always said that he never thought of TS Eliot as a poet or a scholar. He said that it was the person that counted. He always thought of him as 'Uncle Tom'. "

The Faber Collection to be sold by Bonhams also includes a silver hunting case pocket watch and a presentation first edition of The Waste Land, which is inscribed by Eliot and expected to sell for 30,000-40,000.

Eighty-four other typed and autographed letters, signed 'Tom' or 'Tp' to Eliot's close friend Enid Faber - Tom Faber's mother - are estimated to make between 15,000-20,000.

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