‘This is a brilliant book about the birth of modernism, one that taught me something on every page … You will feel – and be! – much smarter after you read it’ Edmund White ‘The world broke in two in 1922 or thereabouts,’ the American author Willa Cather once wrote. Yet for Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster and D. H. Lawrence, 1922 began with a frighteningly blank page. Eliot was in Switzerland recovering from a nervous breakdown. Forster was grappling with unrequited love. Woolf and Lawrence, meanwhile, were both in bed with the flu. Confronting illness, personal problems and the spectral ghost of World War I, all four felt literally at a loss for words. As dismal as things seemed, 1922 turned out to be a year of outstanding creative renaissance for them all. By the end of the year Woolf had started Mrs Dalloway, Forster had returned to work on A Passage to India, Lawrence had written his heavily autobiographical novel Kangaroo, and Eliot had finished – and published to great acclaim – ‘The Waste Land’. Full of surprising insights and original research, Bill Goldstein’s The World Broke in Two chronicles the intertwined lives and works of these four writers in a crucial year of change.