The cocktail party, a comedy

by T. S. Eliot

Paperback, 1950




New York : S. French, [c1950]


This drawing-room comedy is a modern verse play about the search for meaning, in which a psychiatrist is the catalyst for the action. "Eliot really does portray real-seeming characters. He cuts down his poetic effects to the minimum, and then finally rewards us with most beautiful poetry" (Stephen Spender).

User reviews

LibraryThing member StephenBarkley
The Cocktail Party: A Comedy is painfully tragic from a Christian perspective. A wife leaves her husband because he's having an affair. Years later, the second woman becomes a Christian and is killed on the mission field. The husband and wife meanwhile have worked at repairing their marriage and find solace in meaningless cocktail parties. True passion is punished while superficial escapism is rewarded. But I suppose that's the irony Eliot was aiming at.

As you would expect, Eliot's prose reads like poetry. The cadence and interplay of dialogue is sharp and lyrical.

This is a fine read from a 20th century master.
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LibraryThing member aethercowboy
Edward and Lavinia Chamberlayne are hosting a cocktail party. Little does everybody know that their marriage has been on the rocks for about five years, and that tonight, of all nights, Lavinia is planning on leaving Edward.

This play deals will the major social issues of separation, divorce, and adultery, showing a couple suffering from all three, and their proposed resolution. It also deals with the completion one can find either in having a true purpose in life, or by finding wholeness in another person.

This Tony award-winning play is definitely worth a read by any fan of drama, but probably best avoided by readers of lighter material.
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LibraryThing member June6Bug
Great to read, even better to see performed.
LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
The play is clever enough, and takes the Noel Coward approach to the myth of Alcestis, the most faithful wife. Being modern we have a psychiatrist rather than an oracle.




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