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May 6, 1933

Director Hallie Flanagan Davis and The Experimental Theatre presented Now I Know Love—A Mime Sequence: for 1933 A.D., which included the world première of T.S. Eliot’s first play, Sweeney Agonistes. The work’s other elements were three idyls of Theocritus, translated by Professor Philip H. Davis, Telephone by Dorothy Parker and Penthouse by Mary Morley Crapo ’34—“a parallel,” according to the author of a fourth Theocritean idyl, “The Serenade.” Associate Professor Quincy Porter composed the music,for string quartet and percussion, and the setting was by Lester Lang, Davis’s assistant. When Flanagan approached Eliot—who attended the performance—for permission to present the play, he set stringent conditions as to scenery and costumes, which Flanagan ignored. He was reportedly delighted with the production.

Eliot gave an extended reading and discussion of his poetry the following day in Avery Hall. Drawing laughter from the overflow crowd when he declared, “My poetry is simple and straightforward,” the poet deprecated explanations of poetry, saying that one needed only the suppression of presuppositions and prejudices and “an occasional verbal footnote.”

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