The confidential clerk, a play

by T. S. Eliot

Paperback, 1954




New York, Harcourt, Brace [1954]


The Confidential Clerk was first produced at the Edinburgh Festival in the summer of 1953. 'The dialogue of The Confidential Clerk has a precision and a lightly felt rhythm unmatched in the writing of any contemporary dramatist.' Times Literary Supplement 'A triumph of dramatic skill: the handling of the two levels of the play is masterly and Eliot's verse registers its greatest achievement on the stage - passages of great lyrical beauty are incorporated into the dialogue.' Spectator

User reviews

LibraryThing member rsubber
The first performance of this play was on August 25, 1953 at the Edinburgh Festival.

Mistaken identity is the nuts in this post-war period piece. There is no actual rollicking involved, but there is some very English romping going on. The very business-like Sir Claude Mulhammer thinks that Colby
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Simpkins is his long-estranged son, and tries to sneak him into the house as his "confidential clerk" in hopes that the very eccentric Lady Mulhammer will decide to "adopt" him. Yes, and it gets wackier and it gets more sobering as multiple parent-child identities are revealed or hinted at….

I won't spoil the ending. This is light stuff, mais un divertissement….one sympathizes with most of the characters because they're, well, needy, and they try to help each other, and there's no schlock….

It's a very genteel tragedy.

Read more on my blog: Barley Literate by Rick
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