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Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri, of an old New England family. He founded and, during the seventeen years of its publication , edited the exclusive and influential literary journal Criterion.

In , Eliot became a British citizen and about the same time entered the Anglican Church. Eliot has been one of the most daring innovators of twentieth-century poetry. Never compromising either with the public or indeed with language itself, he has followed his belief that poetry should aim at a representation of the complexities of modern civilization in language and that such representation necessarily leads to difficult poetry.

Despite this difficulty his influence on modern poetic diction has been immense. Eliot's poetry from Prufrock to the Four Quartets reflects the development of a Christian writer: the early work, especially The Waste Land , is essentially negative, the expression of that horror from which the search for a higher world arises. In Ash Wednesday and the Four Quartets this higher world becomes more visible; nonetheless Eliot has always taken care not to become a "religious poet".

In his essays, especially the later ones, Eliot advocates a traditionalism in religion, society, and literature that seems at odds with his pioneer activity as a poet. But although the Eliot of Notes towards the Definition of Culture is an older man than the poet of The Waste Land, it should not be forgotten that for Eliot tradition is a living organism comprising past and present in constant mutual interaction. Eliot so defined, and even exaggerated, his own conservatism.

The ideas of this stimulating writer were perhaps traditional, but the way in which he expressed them was extremely modern. Eliot was one of the first to reject conventional verse forms and language.

His experiments with free expression contributed to his reputation as one of the most influential writers of his time. Louis, Mo.

His family had produced distinguished Americans since colonial days. He entered Harvard University in , completed his course in three years, and earned a master's degree the next year. After a year at the Sorbonne in Paris, he returned to Harvard. Further study led him to Merton College, Oxford, and he decided to stay in England. He worked first as a teacher and then in a bank.

Precise and moderate in his habits, he devoted his evenings to study and writing. It was the basis for 'Cats', a spectacular musical comedy of the s. Alfred Prufrock'. This was followed by other short poems such as 'Portrait of a Lady'. In Eliot became a British subject and was confirmed in the Church of England. His essays 'For Lancelot Andrewes', and his poetry 'Four Quartets', increasingly reflected this association with a traditional culture.

His first drama was 'The Rock' , a pageant play. This was followed by 'Murder in the Cathedral' , a play dealing with the assassination of Archbishop Thomas a Becket, who was later canonized see Becket. The dialogue in his plays is written in a free, rhythmical verse pattern. Eliot won the Nobel prize for literature in and other major literary awards. The author was married twice.

He died on Jan. Copyright c , Compton's NewMedia, Inc. American-English poet, playwright, and literary critic, a leader of the modernist movement in literature. Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in On one level it descibes cultural and spiritual crisis, reflected in its use of fragmentation and discontinuity. Louis, Missouri, the seventh and youngest child of a distinguished family of New England origin.

Louis, and on his mother's side, Isaac Stearns, one of the original settlers of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Eliot's father was a prosperous industrialist and his mother wrote among others a biography of William Greenleaf Eliot. Eliot was educated at Smith Academy in St. Louis, Milton Academy in Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard, where he contributed poetry to Harvard Advocate. He spent a year in France, attending lectures at the Sorbonne. After Eliot returned to Harvard, he completed a dissertation on the English idealist philosopher F.

Bradley, and studied Sanskrit and Buddhism. The title character is tormented by the difficulty of articulating his complex feelings. Prufrock is a perfect gentleman and tragic in his conventionality. He has heard "the mermaids singing" but is paralyzed by self-consciousness - "I do not think that they will sing to me. Prufrock has not the qualities of a person, he is a fragmented voice with a name.

He seems always to be saying: "That is not what I meant at all. A physical condition prevented his entering in the US Navy. In an early essay, 'Tradition and the Individual Talent' , Eliot propounded the doctrine that poetry should be impersonal and free itself from Romantic practices. In Eliot founded the Criterion, a quarterly review that he edited until he halted its publication at the beginning of World War II. In he joined the publishing house of Faber and Gwyer later Faber and Faber , becoming eventually one of the firm's directors.

Between the years and Eliot was an assistant editor of the journal the Egoist and from onward he was a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement. In the 60 years from to his death, Eliot published some articles and reviews.

Eliot's principal purpose in his literary-critical essays was "the elucidation of works of art and the correction of taste. He admitted that it is extremely difficult to define metaphysical poetry and decide what poets practiced it, but praised the complex mixture of intellect and passion that characterized their work.

In the essay 'Religion and literature' Eliot stated that "literary criticism should be completed by criticism from a definite ethical and theological standpoint. Eliot's first marriage from with the ballet-dancer Vivienne Haigh-Wood turned out to be unhappy. She was temperamental, full of life, restless. Her arrival at menstruation brought extreme mood swings, pains and cramps; her condition was diagnosed as hysteria.

From until her death in she was confined in mental institutions. Later Eliot married his secretary, Valerie Fletcher. Eliot avoided sharing bed with Vivienne, who started an affair with Bertrand Russell. Virginia Woolf once said: "He was one of those poets who live by scratching, and his wife was his itch. The appearance of The Waste Land , a poetic exploration of soul's - or civilization's - struggle for regeneration, made Eliot world famous.

The first version, with Pound's revisions, was published in The long poem caught the mood of confusion after World War I, when everything in society seemed to be changing and and many felt that pre-war values were lost. Divided into five sections, The Waste Land is a series of fragmentary dramatic monologues, a dense chorus of voices and culture historical quotations, that fade one into another.

Moreover, Eliot didn't hesitate to combine slang with scholarly language. The waste land, an image of Spenglerian magnitude, is contrasted with sources of regeneration, such as fertility rituals and Christian and Eastern religious practices.

In a way the work fulfilled Eliot's "impersonal theory of poetry": "The poet's mind is in fact a receptacle for seizing and storing up numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles which can unite to from a new compound are present together. In Eliot became a British citizen and member of the Church of England.

These quartets represent the four seasons and four elements. Helen Gardner has described the whole work as an 'austere and rigorously philosophic poem on time and time's losses and gains. Eliot's other works include poetic dramas, in which his dramatic verse became gradually indistinguishable from prose. Eliot took in it greater liberties with ordinary colloquial speech. What I should hope might achieved, by a generation of dramatists having the benefit of our experience, is that the audience should find, at the moment of awareness that it is hearing poetry, that it is saying to itself: "I could talk in poetry too!

Eliot was an incurable joker and among his many pranks was to seat visiting authors in chairs with whoopee cushions and offer them exploding cigars. To the poet's pleasure, the American comedian Groucho Marx was his great fan. In he wrote to Groucho: "The picture of you in the newspaper saying that, amongst other reasons, you have come to London to see me has greatly enchanted my credit line in the neighborhood, and particularly with the greengrocer across the street.

Eliot died in London on January 4, His fame has been shadowed by accusations of racism, misogynism, fascism, emotional coldness, and anti-Semitism, which has made him unpleasant for many readers. However, he has not been regardes as a Communist. Hints of Eliot's anti-Semitism, like in the poem 'Burbank With a Baedeker: Bleistein With a Cigar,' has been considered a questionable outgrowth of his theology, or due to a class prejudice, but never the center of his thought.

The poem's reputation, however, is notorious, but the possibility that Eliot perhaps was parodying antisemitism or made a statement on misreading Dante, also offers an alternative way of reading it.

Eliot's Bleistein Poems, This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper. Eliot by Susan E. Eliot by B. Eliot, W.

Yeats and the Occult by Leon Surette ; T. Eliot: A Life by P. Acroyd ; T. Eliot: The Critic as Philosopher by L. Bergonzi ; T. Eliot: Poet and Dramatist by J.


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