Professor Coghill was invited to prepare this annotated edition of Murder in the Cathedral by Eliot himself, and he approved his introduction. Coghill discusses Eliot's subject matter, and the play's importance in his oeuvre. Forty pages of notes elucidate textual difficulties, and include a valuable discussion of some wider issues. The references to the production of the play in the theatre are of great interest. There are three appendices on the historical context; on the metre of Everyman, which influenced the versification of Murder in the Cathedral; and on Tennyson's poetic drama Beckett, which offers a striking contrast to Eliot's treatment of the subject.
Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1888. He came to England in 1914 and published his first book of poems in 1917. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Eliot died in 1965.