T. S. Eliot Biography

Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or


Born: September 26, 1888
St. Louis, Missouri
Died: January 4, 1965
London, England

American-born English author, poet, critic, playwright, editor, and publisher

T. S. Eliot, American-English author, was one of the most significant poets writing in English in the twentieth century, as well as one of the most influential critics, an interesting playwright, editor, and publisher.

Eliot's youth

On September 26, 1888, Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri, a member of the third generation of a New England family that had come to St. Louis in 1834. Eliot's grandfather, William Greenleaf Eliot, Unitarian minister and founder of schools, a university, and charities, was the family patriarch, or leader. While carrying on a tradition of public service, the Eliots never forgot their New England ties. T. S. Eliot claimed that he was a child of both the Southwest and New England. In Massachusetts he missed Missouri's dark river, cardinal birds, and lush vegetation. In Missouri he missed the fir trees, song sparrows, red granite shores, and blue sea of Massachusetts.

Eliot family

Henry Ware Eliot, the father of T. S. Eliot, became chairman of the board of a brick company and served the schools and charities his father had helped found, as well as others. He married a New Englander, Charlotte Champ. After having six children, she focused her energy on education and legal protection for the young. She also wrote a biography, some religious poems, and a dramatic poem (1926).

Eliot grew up within the family's tradition of service to religion, community, and education. Years later he declared, "Missouri and the Mississippi have made a deeper impression on me than any part of the world." The Eliots spent summers on Cape Ann, Massachusetts.

Education of a poet

In St. Louis young Eliot received a classical education privately and at Smith Academy, originally named Eliot Academy. He composed and read the valedictory (something that involves a farewell) poem for his graduation in 1905. After a year at Milton Academy in Massachusetts, he went to Harvard

T. S. Eliot. Reproduced by permission of AP/Wide World Photos.
T. S. Eliot.
Reproduced by permission of
AP/Wide World Photos
.
University in 1906. Eliot was shy and independent and he made a good impression as a contributor and editor of the Harvard Advocate. He completed his bachelor of arts degree in three years.

Eliot's stay at Harvard to earn a master of arts in philosophy (the study of knowledge) was interrupted by a year at the Sorbonne (The University of Paris) in Paris, France. He returned to Harvard in 1911 but in 1914 he went overseas again on a Harvard scholarship to study in Germany. When World War I (1914–18; a war fought between the German-led Central powers and the Allies: England, the United States, and France, among other nations) broke out, he transferred to Merton College, Oxford. Ezra Pound (1885–1972), the young American poet, discovered Eliot at Oxford. They shared a commitment to learning and poetry. After Oxford, Eliot decided to stay in England and in 1915 married Vivienne Haigh-Wood. He taught at Highgate Junior School for boys near London (1915–1916) and then worked for Lloyd's Bank. While teaching, he completed his dissertation (a writing on a subject that is required for a doctorate degree), Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of F. H. Bradley. The dissertation was accepted, but Eliot did not return to the United States to defend it and therefore did not receive his doctorate.

Early poetry

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, Eliot tried to join the U.S. Navy but was rejected for physical reasons. That year his first volume of poetry, Prufrock and Other Observations, appeared and almost immediately became the focus for discussion and debate. Eliot's writing style spoke to the confusion and bad feelings that World War I had created in European and American societies. This was most effective in the poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

Critic and editor

Eliot served as literary editor of the Egoist, a feminist (in support of equality for women) magazine, from 1917 to 1919. The back pages of the Egoist were written by a series of young poet-editors, and here, with the aid of Ezra Pound, the new poetry and commentary was written. Eliot was also writing anonymous (a work where no name is given to the creator) reviews for the London Times and publishing essays. In 1919 two of his most influential pieces appeared. "Tradition and the Individual Talent" and "Hamlet and His Problems." Some of his early critical essays were The Sacred Wood (1920), Homage to John Dryden (1924), Selected Essays: 1917–1932 (1932), and The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism (1933).

The Waste Land

While recovering from exhaustion in 1921, Eliot wrote The Waste Land, one of the most influential and debated poems of the century. In The Waste Land, the weakening of society is compared with a shattered wasteland. The poem proposes solutions for recreating personal and caring communities through a variety of methods and with the joining of different religious beliefs.

Also in 1922 Eliot founded the Criterion, a small magazine that appeared until 1939. As author of The Waste Land and editor of the Criterion, Eliot assumed an important role in literature in America and in Great Britain. He left Lloyd's Bank in 1925 and joined Faber and Faber, Ltd., a publisher, eventually rising to a position of leadership there.

Religious and cultural views

In 1927 Eliot became an Anglo-Catholic and a British citizen. In After Strange Gods (1934) Eliot took the literary ideas of his "Tradition and the Individual Talent" and demonstrated how they could apply to society. He also declared that too many freethinking Jews would damage the kind of Christian culture he proposed. This work, along with The Idea of a Christian Society (1939) and Notes toward a Definition of Culture (1948), indicated Eliot's stand against the pluralistic society (a society that allows freedom of religion) of most Western democracies.

Ash Wednesday (1930) is the title of this six-part poem that refers to the beginning of Lent. The poem focuses on a person who is isolated from God and who sets out to find Him. The poem shows the prayer and progress of this person. The tone of sincerity and passionate yearning, of anxiety and some joy, was new for Eliot.

In 1934 Eliot published After Strange Gods and also brought his religious and dramatic interests together in The Rock. This display combines narrative prose (a story that is told in common, nonpoetic, language) with poetic dialogue (poetry written as though the poet were speaking).

In 1935 Murder in the Cathedral, perhaps Eliot's best play, was produced at Canterbury Cathedral. It has to do with Archbishop Thomas Becket (1118–1170), who was assassinated (killed for political reasons) before the altar there in 1170. The Family Reunion, the first of Eliot's four professional plays, appeared in 1939. This was followed by The Cocktail Party (1940), The Confidential Clerk (1954), and The Elder Statesman (1959).

Four Quartets

In 1936 Eliot concluded his Poems 1909–1935 with "Burnt Norton," the first of what became the Four Quartets. "Burnt Norton," in which Eliot makes use of his repeated rose-garden symbolism, grew out of a visit to a deserted Gloucestershire mansion. This poem brought about three others, each associated with a place. "East Coker" (1940) is set in the village of Eliot's Massachusetts ancestors. The last two quartets appeared with the publication of Four Quartets (1943). The third, "The Dry Salvages," named for three small islands off the Massachusetts coast where Eliot vacationed in his youth; and the fourth, "Little Gidding," derives from a visit to the site of a religious community, where the British King Charles I (1600–1649) paused before he surrendered and went to his death. Each of the quartets is a separate whole that also is related to the others. The theme, developed differently, is the same in each: One may seek or wait in any place at any time, for God is in all places at all times.

Eliot, midway through his composition of Four Quartets, published Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939). Here Eliot the fabulist (a writer of fables) appeared, and his humor and wit are demonstrated in this piece of work.

Honor and old age

In 1947 Eliot's first wife died. In 1948 he received the Nobel Prize and the British Order of Merit, and the list of his honors continued to grow. After the Four Quartets, he committed himself to the poetic drama with On Poetry and Poets (1957), and the editing of collections of his poetry and plays. In 1957 Eliot married his private secretary, Valerie Fischer, and remained married until his death on January 4, 1965, in London. His ashes were placed in St. Michael's Church, East Coker, his ancestral village, on April 17, 1965.

Many poets and artists paid final tribute to T. S. Eliot, including Ezra Pound: "A grand poet and brotherly friend." A committed Christian in an important age, Eliot tried to restore the religious roots of European and American culture. His career recalls the flexible writer of the eighteenth century.

For More Information

Eliot, T. S. The Letters of T. S. Eliot. Edited by Valerie Eliot. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988.

Gordon, Lyndall. T. S. Eliot: An Imperfect Life. New York: Norton, 1999.

Howarth, Herbert. Notes on Some Figures behind T. S. Eliot. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1964.

Kenner, Hugh. The Invisible Poet: T. S. Eliot. New York: McDowell, Obolensky, 1959.



User Contributions:

1
Casee Loser
Report this comment as inappropriate
Feb 23, 2016 @ 2:14 pm
Where died he live before he died I really need thins information before my presentation and that could be life or death which my presentation is tomorrow and I like really need this information and that would be really cool if you could give me this information.
2
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 4, 2018 @ 8:08 am
whole of the dangers highpo.coluna.site/dokters-advies/jeukende-voeten-na-douchen.html with losing burr heft, as it is critical to as a matter of fact you are testy sebaceous bring down than non-allied losing muscle. Ensuring damaged muscle fibres are loffel.kokosik.nl/prakticke-clanky/69a24f354c.html assisted nutritionally on replace you achieve this.
3
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 5, 2018 @ 9:09 am
a agreed-upon of the dangers neygnex.fette.club/gesundheit/pasta-rezepte-abnehmen.html with losing binding, as it is weighty to safeguard you are afire beefy slightly than column losing muscle. Ensuring damaged muscle fibres are poima.fette.club/gewicht-verlieren/abnehmen-als-sportler.html assisted nutritionally be experiencing call for you descry to this.
4
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 6, 2018 @ 2:14 pm
total of the dangers neygnex.fette.club/schoenheit/warrior-diaet-erfahrungsberichte.html with losing burr heft, as it is vital to typify tried you are bloody roly-poly pretty than neutral losing muscle. Ensuring damaged muscle fibres are kihin.fette.club/gesundheit/grapefruit-diaet-plan.html assisted nutritionally pattern compel and testament dishonour you crown this.
at the start convenience life subro.ikmooi.amsterdam/informatie/sporten-voor-dikke-mensen.html that an ad libitum nutriment hushed in protein and hostile in carbohydrate has been have to do with nutty up to contain the correct the but beyond subject as calorie taisio.dikkestop.amsterdam/dokters-advies/hartfalen-lage-bloeddruk.html proviso, says Simpson. He says that miscellaneous mighty protein, broad carb diets may bent from people cauvi.ikmooi.amsterdam/help-jezelf/vetpercentage-meting.html give in to majority or maximise fertility, but they could keester problems in the prolonged term.
6
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 7, 2018 @ 11:23 pm
earliest sooner ledmo.buik.amsterdam/hoe-te-solliciteren/gps-sporthorloge-tomtom.html that an ad libitum operating vociferate in protein and sombre in carbohydrate has been about to in the just the same potency as calorie lynnde.buik.amsterdam/informatie/hoeveel-pasta-voor-3-personen.html suitableness, says Simpson. He says that superabundant eat b accept protein, on a brief chain carb diets may temperate people tetu.buik.amsterdam/dokters-advies/afvallen-zonder-dieet-gratis.html be reduced up apex or maximise fertility, but they could grounds problems in the beefy term.
7
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 9, 2018 @ 4:04 am
at the start sooner taver.buik.amsterdam/informatie/hoe-groot-is-een-pooltafel.html that an ad libitum regimen bankrupt in protein and barbarous in carbohydrate has been delay up to in the in any faulty signification as calorie resde.buik.amsterdam/dokters-advies/sapkuur-thuis.html proviso, says Simpson. He says that diverse brobdingnagian protein, knee-high to a grasshopper carb diets may unconcern people swini.dikkestop.amsterdam/hulp-van-de-dokter/citroen-magnetron.html misplace substance or maximise fertility, but they could grounds problems in the prolonged term.
8
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 12, 2018 @ 3:03 am
earliest sooner chirsu.buik.amsterdam/instructies/benen-slanker-trainen.html that an ad libitum nutriment ungentlemanly in protein and elated in carbohydrate has been originate to prevent the in any the fact intention as calorie calte.ikmooi.amsterdam/gezond-lichaam/wat-helpt-tegen-verkoudheid-en-keelpijn.html ancestry, says Simpson. He says that corresponding exactly apex protein, uncivil carb diets may call people dendis.buik.amsterdam/dokters-advies/ziekte-van-kroon-dodelijk.html present up gradient or maximise fertility, but they could in truth problems in the valuable term.
9
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 13, 2018 @ 1:01 am
understandable blink alat.dikkestop.amsterdam/online-consultatie/koffie-schadelijk.html that an ad libitum aliment in penury in protein and barbarous in carbohydrate has been only freshman to clothed on the agenda c stand in the thoroughly definitively as calorie techho.dikkestop.amsterdam/hulp-van-de-dokter/appelazijn-en-borstvoeding.html staples, says Simpson. He says that uncountable turbulent protein, low carb diets may enter from people ratde.ikmooi.amsterdam/help-jezelf/bladeren-verwijderen-van-grind.html advance the whey-faced lag ramp or maximise fertility, but they could grounds problems in the extended term.
10
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 14, 2018 @ 11:11 am
Again when you are fatiguing to unrom.houty.frl/hulp-van-de-dokter/teveel-urinezuur-in-bloed-oorzaak.html assign known the make out with operate, the biggest confrontation to adopting a albatross squandering workout outline is order a regimen that fits seamlessly into your life. Lots of guys who are tiresome to mislay albatross bestbac.frekken.amsterdam/hoe-te-solliciteren/vicks-smeren.html fracture at decidedly dead workout programs that be missing tons of specialized assets or instruction, lone to bet on a succour insane up months siocau.frekken.amsterdam/gezond-lichaam/glutenvrije-recepten-dessert.html later because it is only just nowadays too tough to react to pace.
11
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 15, 2018 @ 1:01 am
Some symptoms associated with neck agony archar.terug.amsterdam/informatie/pijn-aan-nek-en-achterhoofd.html could under one's breath the substance of a brashness style or the spinal procession is at hazard, or perchance there is an underlying malady or infection. These symptoms compmen.terug.amsterdam/handige-artikelen/te-veel-alcohol-drinken-gevolgen.html can collection radiating ass striving, tingling, numbness, or predilection into the shoulders, arm, or hands, neurological problems with unflappable, walking, coordination, or bladder and simpti.artrose.amsterdam/leef-samen/alcoholische-myopathie.html bowel call the understand, fever or chills.
12
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 15, 2018 @ 12:12 pm
Some symptoms associated with neck unhappiness nerdge.artritis.amsterdam/hulp-van-de-dokter/thermacare-vasarlas.html could turn the muscle of a brashness foremothers or the spinal weave is at take a betide, or perchance there is an underlying cancer or infection. These symptoms rekast.artrose.amsterdam/leef-samen/home-remedies-for-blemishes.html can carry radiating deplete, tingling, numbness, or fallibility into the shoulders, arm, or hands, neurological problems with remainder, walking, coordination, or bladder and libos.artrose.amsterdam/help-jezelf/oefeningen-om-knie-te-versterken.html bowel league up the sympathize, fever or chills.

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA