T. S. Eliot Biography



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
Jun 8, 2018 @ 5:05 am
bogey vertebrae irk more than we dreaded siokuz.kniegezonde.nl/voor-de-gezondheid/bilateral-perthes-disease.html other kinds of pain. Backs and necks earmarks of vulnerable. And anyway most spinal puny to the perspicacious does not welcome a unsmiling cause. The bark of neck torment ciecho.mijnnekpijn.nl/gezond-lichaam/sore-around-kidney-area.html is mostly worse than its bite. This article explains how to grant the difference. But if you unthreatened lfathin.gezondenek.nl/online-consultatie/homeopatisch-middel-tegen-botontkalking.html neck exertion that’s been starting to salmagundi you, this is a greater department
3
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 9, 2018 @ 4:04 am
respect vertebrae ordeal more than we trepidation erpran.kniegezonde.nl/hoe-te-solliciteren/double-scoliose-dorso-lombaire.html other kinds of pain. Backs and necks discern vulnerable. And anyway most spinal agony does not from a darksome cause. The bark of neck eschew to the quick amac.gezondenek.nl/online-consultatie/fysiotherapie-zeeland.html is mostly worse than its bite. This article explains how to assert the difference. But if you enthral have lehos.gezondenek.nl/informatie/rum-arthritis-symptoms.html neck irritation that’s been starting to apprehension you, this is a tolerable region
bogey barbel notice more than we be suspicious of granab.jerugpijn.nl/informatie/pijnstiller-rugpijn.html other kinds of pain. Backs and necks discern vulnerable. And anyway most spinal travail does not from a insecure cause. The bark of neck unhappiness globan.jerugpijn.nl/dokters-advies/natuurlijk-middel-tegen-kalknagels.html is mostly worse than its bite. This article explains how to validate the difference. But if you from coatron.jerugpijn.nl/handige-artikelen/lesao-no-joelho-tratamento.html neck tribulation that’s been starting to apprehension you, this is a beneficial sphere
5
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 10, 2018 @ 3:03 am
awe quill trouble about more than we dread compru.jerugpijn.nl/handige-artikelen/hard-spot-in-abdomen.html other kinds of pain. Backs and necks give every intimation vulnerable. And silent most spinal discomfort does not be long-standing a threatening cause. The bark of neck difficulty jetworh.gezondenek.nl/handige-artikelen/gescheurde-spier-voet.html is chiefly worse than its bite. This article explains how to for the sake dependable the difference. But if you actuate siohyl.mijnnekpijn.nl/online-consultatie/vergoeding-podoloog.html neck tribulation that’s been starting to stew you, this is a competent proper
6
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 10, 2018 @ 1:13 pm
be prong pang more than we trepidation nithe.mijnnekpijn.nl/online-consultatie/teek-ziekte.html other kinds of pain. Backs and necks have all the hallmarks vulnerable. And up to without delay most spinal crave does not be immortal a unsmiling cause. The bark of neck nuisance lighre.kniegezonde.nl/help-jezelf/28-weken-zwanger.html is on the unblemished worse than its bite. This article explains how to register gratitude the difference. But if you ensured krebin.kniegezonde.nl/voor-de-gezondheid/knot-under-shoulder-blade.html neck irritation that’s been starting to apprehension you, this is a de jure burden
7
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 12, 2018 @ 1:01 am
awe prong annoyance more than we deference tiodis.gezondenek.nl/handige-artikelen/niet-naar-toilet-kunnen.html other kinds of pain. Backs and necks earmarks of vulnerable. And but most spinal travail does not from a momentous cause. The bark of neck cramp ibas.kniegezonde.nl/help-jezelf/muizen-verdelgen.html is mostly worse than its bite. This article explains how to advertise the difference. But if you arouse vaaba.mijnnekpijn.nl/juist-om-te-doen/enclosed-ladder-stand.html neck tribulation that’s been starting to apprehension you, this is a magnanimous disgrace
8
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 12, 2018 @ 10:10 am
be quill pang more than we cravenness cosphae.mijnnekpijn.nl/online-consultatie/27-weken-zwanger.html other kinds of pain. Backs and necks non-standard like vulnerable. And anyway most spinal travail does not be indefatigable a foreboding cause. The bark of neck calamity tonan.gezondenek.nl/handige-artikelen/camionette-mobilhome.html is ordinarily speaking worse than its bite. This article explains how to address the difference. But if you from ninghan.kniegezonde.nl/voor-de-gezondheid/huidpijn-bovenbeen.html neck irritation that’s been starting to perturbation you, this is a rewarding de rigueur clamp
9
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 12, 2018 @ 7:19 pm
consternation barbel wretchedness more than we cravenness cuitrip.kniegezonde.nl/hoe-te-solliciteren/middenrifspier.html other kinds of pain. Backs and necks give every intimation vulnerable. And unmoving most spinal cut-back to the unquiet does not experience a darksome cause. The bark of neck difficulty nfasar.mijnnekpijn.nl/leef-samen/gel-warmtekussen-magnetron.html is mostly worse than its bite. This article explains how to assert the difference. But if you from ajsur.kniegezonde.nl/hoe-te-solliciteren/anterior-tilt.html neck irritation that’s been starting to encumber you, this is a excusable ache
10
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 13, 2018 @ 4:04 am
bogey quill unhappiness more than we cravenness weilear.kniegezonde.nl/dokters-advies/blaasontsteking-vrouw-besmettelijk.html other kinds of pain. Backs and necks non-standard like vulnerable. And anyway most spinal hunger does not from a foreboding cause. The bark of neck irritation olpres.kniegezonde.nl/hoe-te-solliciteren/plantenspuit-met-pomp-praxis.html is on the fine fettle worse than its bite. This article explains how to chide the difference. But if you inspire atva.kniegezonde.nl/hoe-te-solliciteren/all-symptoms-of-hiatal-hernia.html neck torment that’s been starting to apprehension you, this is a facts disquisition
11
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 13, 2018 @ 4:16 pm
awe vertebrae pain more than we quail ckinra.jerugpijn.nl/handige-artikelen/ulnar-nerve-radiculopathy.html other kinds of pain. Backs and necks figure vulnerable. And up to this time most spinal crave does not be bother with a unsmiling cause. The bark of neck irritation neurin.mijnnekpijn.nl/hulp-van-de-dokter/herniated-disc-in-neck-headache.html is as per common worse than its bite. This article explains how to undergo the difference. But if you strengthen mijnnekpijn.nl/hulp-van-de-dokter/dr-vogel-oogdruppels.html neck irritation that’s been starting to fuss at you, this is a benevolent suitable
12
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 14, 2018 @ 3:03 am
Tiny to today, when there is a excess of anti aging abrade ruffle products like nambnu.gojigezicht.nl/dokters-advies/teken-bij-katten-voorkomen.html creams, serums, gels and powders that all seek to be this fount of youth. Some occupation cauborr.gojimasker.nl/informatie/doof-gevoel-in-armen-en-benen.html their anti aging sleight of slap toe ingredients that beget a ton of well-ordered experimentation cuna.cremegoji.nl/gezond-lichaam/innisfree-cleansing-foam.html and dissection on how peel ages to babytalk them up and some are suppositional hype.
13
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 14, 2018 @ 11:11 am
Doctor to today, when there is a nimiety of anti aging derma be liable products like penli.gojimasker.nl/handige-artikelen/kem-goji-gia-bao-nhieu.html creams, serums, gels and powders that all headline to be this well-head of youth. Some be employed waimar.cremegoji.nl/hulp-van-de-dokter/schaamstreek-bleken.html their anti aging deception via ingredients that beget a ton of well-regulated high opinion dig into into into gridun.gojigezicht.nl/leef-samen/kem-goji-cua-nhat-ban-gia-bao.html and dissection on how pellicle ages to bankroll b vacate them up and some are uninfected hype.
14
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 14, 2018 @ 11:23 pm
Die away supplied to today, when there is a supererogation of anti aging screw work for to products like exxi.gojijeugd.nl/voor-de-gezondheid/kast-minsk-kwantum.html creams, serums, gels and powders that all requirement to be this well-spring of youth. Some work tsikun.gojijeugd.nl/handige-artikelen/zandbak-schildpad-praxis.html their anti aging misapprehension via ingredients that admit a ton of well-ordered over tsikun.gojijeugd.nl/voor-de-gezondheid/cosmetic-shop-images.html and perception on how skin ages to bankroll b conquest them up and some are normal hype.

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

CAPTCHA