T. S. Eliot
Overview
 
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

 (September 26, 1888 – January 4, 1965) was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 he moved to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in 1914 (at age 25) and was naturalised as a British subject
British subject
In British nationality law, the term British subject has at different times had different meanings. The current definition of the term British subject is contained in the British Nationality Act 1981.- Prior to 1949 :...

 in 1927 at age 39.

The poem that made his name, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, commonly known as Prufrock, is a poem by T. S. Eliot, begun in February 1910 and published in Chicago in June 1915. Described as a "drama of literary anguish," it presents a stream of consciousness in the form of a dramatic monologue, and marked the beginning of...

—started in 1910 and published in Chicago in 1915—is regarded as a masterpiece of the modernist movement.
Quotations

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.

"s:The Sacred Wood/Philip Massinger|Philip Massinger", a biographical essay in s:The Sacred Wood|The Sacred Wood (1920)

Mr. Aldous Huxley, who is perhaps one of those people who have to perpetrate thirty bad novels before producing a good one, has a certain natural — but little developed — aptitude for seriousness.

The Contemporary English Novelist, La Nouvelle Revue française|La Nouvelle Revue française (1927-05-01)

A dangerous person to disagree with.

On Samuel Johnson in Homage to John Dryden: Three Essays on Poetry of the Seventeenth Century (1927)

It is a test (a positive test, I do not assert that it is always valid negatively), that genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.

Dante (1929), a biographical essay

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

Preface to Transit of Venus: Poems by Harry Crosby|Harry Crosby (1931)

It is certain that a book is not harmless merely because no one is consciously offended by it.

Religion and Literature 1935

The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do more, and you are not yet decrepit enough to turn them down.

Time (1950-10-23) :s:The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock|Full text online (at Wikisource)

Let us go then, you and I,When the evening is spread out against the skyLike a patient etherized upon a table.

Encyclopedia
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

 (September 26, 1888 – January 4, 1965) was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 he moved to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in 1914 (at age 25) and was naturalised as a British subject
British subject
In British nationality law, the term British subject has at different times had different meanings. The current definition of the term British subject is contained in the British Nationality Act 1981.- Prior to 1949 :...

 in 1927 at age 39.

The poem that made his name, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, commonly known as Prufrock, is a poem by T. S. Eliot, begun in February 1910 and published in Chicago in June 1915. Described as a "drama of literary anguish," it presents a stream of consciousness in the form of a dramatic monologue, and marked the beginning of...

—started in 1910 and published in Chicago in 1915—is regarded as a masterpiece of the modernist movement. He followed this with what have become some of the best-known poems in the English language, including Gerontion
Gerontion
"Gerontion" is a poem by T. S. Eliot that was first published in 1920. The work relates the opinions and impressions of a gerontic, or elderly man, through a dramatic monologue which describes Europe after World War I through the eyes of a man who has lived the majority of his life in the 19th...

(1920), The Waste Land
The Waste Land
The Waste Land[A] is a 434-line[B] modernist poem by T. S. Eliot published in 1922. It has been called "one of the most important poems of the 20th century." Despite the poem's obscurity—its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its...

(1922), The Hollow Men
The Hollow Men
The Hollow Men is a major poem by T. S. Eliot. Its themes are, like many of Eliot's poems, overlapping and fragmentary, but it is recognised to be concerned most with post-World War I Europe under the Treaty of Versailles , the difficulty of hope and religious conversion, and, as some critics...

(1925), Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday (poem)
"Ash Wednesday" is the first long poem written by T. S. Eliot after his 1927 conversion to Anglicanism. Published in 1930 , this poem deals with the struggle that ensues when one who has lacked faith in the past strives to move towards God.Sometimes referred to as Eliot's "conversion poem",...

(1930), and Four Quartets
Four Quartets
Four Quartets is a set of four poems written by T. S. Eliot that were published individually over a six-year period. The first poem, "Burnt Norton", was written and published with a collection of his early works following the production of Eliot's play Murder in the Cathedral...

(1945). He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral
Murder in the Cathedral
Murder in the Cathedral is a verse drama by T. S. Eliot that portrays the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170, first performed in 1935...

(1935). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

 in 1948.

Early life and education

Eliot was born into the Eliot family
Eliot family
The Eliot family is the American branch of one of several British families to hold this surname. This branch is based in Boston but originated in East Coker, Yeovil, Somerset. It is one of the Boston Brahmins, a bourgeois family, whose ancestors had become wealthy and held sway over the American...

, a middle class family originally from New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

, who had moved to St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

. His father, Henry Ware Eliot
Henry Ware Eliot
Henry Ware Eliot was an American industrialist and philanthropist who lived in St. Louis, Missouri.-Early life and education:...

 (1843–1919), was a successful businessman, president and treasurer of the Hydraulic-Press Brick Company in St. Louis. His mother, Charlotte Champe Stearns
Charlotte Champe Stearns
Charlotte Champe Stearns , was a poet, social worker, and the mother of T. S. Eliot.-Early life and education:She was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She became a poet and social worker.-Married life:...

 (1843–1929), wrote poetry and was a social worker, a new profession in the early 20th century. Eliot was the last of six surviving children; his parents were both 44 years old when he was born. His four sisters were between 11 and 19 years older; his brother was eight years older. Known to family and friends as Tom, he was the namesake of his maternal grandfather Thomas Stearns.

Several factors are responsible for Eliot's infatuation with literature during his childhood. First, Eliot had to overcome physical limitations as a child. Struggling from a congenital double hernia, a condition in which one’s intestines jut through the bowel wall and causes an abdominal rupture, Eliot was unable to participate in many physical activities and thus was prevented from interacting socially with his peers. Because Eliot was often isolated his love of literature developed. For, once he learned to read, the young boy immediately became obsessed with books and was completely absorbed in tales depicting savages, the Wild West, or Mark Twain’s thrill-seeking Tom Sawyer. In his memoir of T.S. Eliot, Eliot’s close friend Robert Sencourt comments that young Eliot “would often curl up in the window-seat behind an enormous book, setting the drug of dreams against the pain of living.”. Secondly, Eliot also credited his hometown with seeding his literary vision: "It is self-evident that St. Louis affected me more deeply than any other environment has ever done. I feel that there is something in having passed one's childhood beside the big river
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

, which is incommunicable to those people who have not. I consider myself fortunate to have been born here, rather than in Boston, or New York, or London.". Thus, from the onset, literature was an essential part of Eliot's childhood and both his disability and location influenced him.

From 1898 to 1905, Eliot attended Smith Academy
Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School
Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School or "MICDS" is a secular, co-educational, private school for about 1,200 students in grades Junior Kindergarten through 12, separated into three different sections: JK-4th grade , 5th-8th grade , and 9th-12th grade . Its 100 acre campus is located...

, where his studies included Latin, Ancient Greek, French, and German. He began to write poetry when he was 14 under the influence of Edward Fitzgerald
Edward FitzGerald (poet)
Edward FitzGerald was an English writer, best known as the poet of the first and most famous English translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The spelling of his name as both FitzGerald and Fitzgerald is seen...

's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his translation of a selection of poems, originally written in Persian and of which there are about a thousand, attributed to Omar Khayyám , a Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer...

, a translation of the poetry of Omar Khayyam
Omar Khayyám
Omar Khayyám was aPersian polymath: philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, climatology and theology....

. He said the results were gloomy and despairing, and he destroyed them. His first poem published, "A Fable For Feasters," was written as a school exercise and was published in the Smith Academy Record in February 1905. Also published there in April 1905 was his oldest surviving poem in manuscript, an untitled lyric later revised and reprinted in The Harvard Advocate
The Harvard Advocate
The Harvard Advocate, the literary magazine of Harvard College, is the oldest continuously published college literary magazine in the United States. The magazine was founded by Charles S. Gage and William G. Peckham in 1866 and, except for a hiatus during the last years of World War II, has...

, Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

's student magazine. He also published three short stories in 1905, including "The Man Who Was King", which reflects his exploration of Igorot
Igorot
Cordillerans are the people of the Cordillera region, in the Philippines island of Luzon. The word, Igorot is a misnomer term invented by the Spaniards in mockery against the Nortnern Luzon tribes. The word ‘Igorot’ also as coined and applied by the Spaniards means a savage, head-hunting and...

 Village while visiting the 1904 World's Fair of St. Louis.

After graduation, Eliot attended Milton Academy
Milton Academy
Milton Academy is a coeducational, independent preparatory, boarding and day school in Milton, Massachusetts consisting of a grade 9–12 Upper School and a grade K–8 Lower School. Boarding is offered starting in 9th grade...

 in Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 for a preparatory year, where he met Scofield Thayer
Scofield Thayer
Scofield Thayer was an American poet and publisher, best known for his art collection, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and as a publisher and editor of the literary magazine The Dial during the 1920s.-Life and career:...

, who would later publish The Waste Land
The Waste Land
The Waste Land[A] is a 434-line[B] modernist poem by T. S. Eliot published in 1922. It has been called "one of the most important poems of the 20th century." Despite the poem's obscurity—its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its...

. He studied philosophy at Harvard from 1906 to 1909, earning his bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 after three years, instead of the usual four. Frank Kermode
Frank Kermode
Sir John Frank Kermode was a highly regarded British literary critic best known for his seminal critical work The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction, published in 1967 ....

 writes that the most important moment of Eliot's undergraduate career was in 1908, when he discovered Arthur Symons
Arthur Symons
Arthur William Symons , was a British poet, critic and magazine editor.-Life:Born in Milford Haven, Wales, of Cornish parents, Symons was educated privately, spending much of his time in France and Italy...

's The Symbolist Movement in Literature
The Symbolist Movement in Literature
Arthur Symons's The Symbolist Movement in Literature, first published in 1899, and with additional material in 1919, is largely credited with bringing French Symbolism to the attention of Anglo-American literary circles. Its first two editions were vital influences on W. B. Yeats and T. S...

(1899). This introduced him to Jules Laforgue
Jules Laforgue
Jules Laforgue was an innovative Franco-Uruguayan poet, often referred to as a Symbolist poet. Critics and commentators have also pointed to Impressionism as a direct influence and his poetry has been called "part-symbolist, part-impressionist".-Life:...

, Arthur Rimbaud
Arthur Rimbaud
Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud was a French poet. Born in Charleville, Ardennes, he produced his best known works while still in his late teens—Victor Hugo described him at the time as "an infant Shakespeare"—and he gave up creative writing altogether before the age of 21. As part of the decadent...

, and Paul Verlaine
Paul Verlaine
Paul-Marie Verlaine was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French poetry.-Early life:...

. Without Verlaine, Eliot wrote, he might never have heard of Tristan Corbière
Tristan Corbière
Tristan Corbière , born Édouard-Joachim Corbière, was a French poet born in Coat-Congar, Ploujean in Brittany, where he lived most of his life and where he died....

 and his book Les amours jaunes, a work that affected the course of Eliot's life. The Harvard Advocate published some of his poems, and he became lifelong friends with Conrad Aiken
Conrad Aiken
Conrad Potter Aiken was an American novelist and poet, whose work includes poetry, short stories, novels, a play and an autobiography.-Early years:...

, the American novelist.

After working as a philosophy assistant at Harvard from 1909–1910, Eliot moved to Paris, where from 1910–1911, he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

. He attended lectures by Henri Bergson
Henri Bergson
Henri-Louis Bergson was a major French philosopher, influential especially in the first half of the 20th century. Bergson convinced many thinkers that immediate experience and intuition are more significant than rationalism and science for understanding reality.He was awarded the 1927 Nobel Prize...

 and read poetry with Alain-Fournier. From 1911–1914, he was back at Harvard studying Indian philosophy and Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

. Eliot was awarded a scholarship to Merton College, Oxford
Merton College, Oxford
Merton College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Its foundation can be traced back to the 1260s when Walter de Merton, chancellor to Henry III and later to Edward I, first drew up statutes for an independent academic community and established endowments to...

 in 1914. He first visited Marburg
Marburg
Marburg is a city in the state of Hesse, Germany, on the River Lahn. It is the main town of the Marburg-Biedenkopf district and its population, as of March 2010, was 79,911.- Founding and early history :...

, Germany, where he planned to take a summer program, but when the First World War broke out, he went to Oxford instead. At the time, so many American students attended Merton that the Junior Common Room proposed a motion "that this society abhors the Americanization
Americanization
Americanization is the influence of the United States on the popular culture, technology, business practices, or political techniques of other countries. The term has been used since at least 1907. Inside the U.S...

 of Oxford"; it was defeated by two votes after Eliot reminded the students how much they owed American culture.

Eliot wrote to Conrad Aiken
Conrad Aiken
Conrad Potter Aiken was an American novelist and poet, whose work includes poetry, short stories, novels, a play and an autobiography.-Early years:...

 on New Year's Eve 1914: "I hate university towns and university people, who are the same everywhere, with pregnant wives, sprawling children, many books and hideous pictures on the walls ... Oxford is very pretty, but I don't like to be dead.". Escaping Oxford, Eliot actually spent much of his time in London. This city had a monumental and life-altering impact on Eliot for multiple reasons, the most significant of which was his introduction to the acclaimed literary figure Ezra Pound. A connection through Aiken resulted in an arranged meeting and on September 22, 1914 Eliot paid a visit to Pound’s flat. Pound instantly deemed Eliot “worth watching” and was imperative to Eliot’s beginning career as a poet as he is credited with promoting Eliot through social events and literary gatherings. Thus, according to biographer John Worthen, during his time in England Eliot “was seeing as little of Oxford as possible. He was instead spending long periods of time in London, in the company of Ezra Pound and ‘some of the modern artists whom the war has so far spared’…It was Pound who helped most, introducing him everywhere.”. In the end, Eliot did not settle at Merton
Merton College, Oxford
Merton College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Its foundation can be traced back to the 1260s when Walter de Merton, chancellor to Henry III and later to Edward I, first drew up statutes for an independent academic community and established endowments to...

, and left after a year.

By 1916, he had completed a PhD
PHD
PHD may refer to:*Ph.D., a doctorate of philosophy*Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*PHD finger, a protein sequence*PHD Mountain Software, an outdoor clothing and equipment company*PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 dissertation for Harvard on Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of F. H. Bradley
F. H. Bradley
Francis Herbert Bradley, OM, was a British idealist philosopher.- Life :Bradley was born at Clapham, Surrey, England . He was the child of Charles Bradley, an evangelical preacher, and Emma Linton, Charles's second wife. A. C. Bradley was his brother...

, but he failed to return for the viva voce exam.

Marriage

In a letter to Aiken late in December 1914, Eliot, aged 26, wrote, "I am very dependent upon women (I mean female society)." Less than four months later, Thayer introduced Eliot to Vivienne Haigh-Wood, a Cambridge governess
Governess
A governess is a girl or woman employed to teach and train children in a private household. In contrast to a nanny or a babysitter, she concentrates on teaching children, not on meeting their physical needs...

. They were married at Hampstead Register Office on June 26, 1915.

After a short visit alone to his family in the United States, Eliot returned to London and took several teaching jobs, such as lecturing at Birkbeck College
Birkbeck, University of London
Birkbeck, University of London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and a constituent college of the federal University of London. It offers many Master's and Bachelor's degree programmes that can be studied either part-time or full-time, though nearly all teaching is...

, University of London
University of London
-20th century:Shortly after 6 Burlington Gardens was vacated, the University went through a period of rapid expansion. Bedford College, Royal Holloway and the London School of Economics all joined in 1900, Regent's Park College, which had affiliated in 1841 became an official divinity school of the...

. The philosopher Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

 took an interest in Vivienne while the newlyweds stayed in his flat. Some scholars have suggested that she and Russell had an affair, but the allegations were never confirmed.

Unfortunately, the couple's marriage was markedly an unhappy one. In a private paper written in his sixties, Eliot confessed: "I came to persuade myself that I was in love with Vivienne simply because I wanted to burn my boats and commit myself to staying in England. And she persuaded herself (also under the influence of [Ezra] Pound) that she would save the poet by keeping him in England. To her, the marriage brought no happiness. To me, it brought the state of mind out of which came The Waste Land." (Their relationship was the subject of a 1984 play Tom and Viv, which in 1994 was adapted as a film.) Furthermore, Vivienne's health issues strained their marriage. In a letter addressed to Ezra Pound, Vivienne covers an extensive list of her symptoms, which included a habitually high temperature, fatigue, insomnia, migraines, and colitis.. This, coupled with her mental instability, meant that Vivienne was often sent away by Eliot and her doctors for extended periods of time in hopes of improving her health. As time went on, Eliot became increasingly more detached from his wife. For while he served as her caregiver, he did so not out of love but because he was convicted it was his duty.

Teaching, Lloyds, Faber and Faber

After leaving Merton, Eliot worked as a schoolteacher, most notably at Highgate School
Highgate School
-Notable members of staff and governing body:* John Ireton, brother of Henry Ireton, Cromwellian General* 1st Earl of Mansfield, Lord Chief Justice, owner of Kenwood, noted for judgment finding contracts for slavery unenforceable in English law* T. S...

, a private school in London, where he taught French and Latin—his students included the young John Betjeman
John Betjeman
Sir John Betjeman, CBE was an English poet, writer and broadcaster who described himself in Who's Who as a "poet and hack".He was a founding member of the Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture...

. Later he taught at the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe
Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe
See Royal Grammar School for the other schools with the name RGS.The Royal Grammar School High Wycombe is a selective grammar school situated in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. As a state school it does not charge fees for students to attend, but they must pass an entrance exam...

, a state school in Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan home county in South East England. The county town is Aylesbury, the largest town in the ceremonial county is Milton Keynes and largest town in the non-metropolitan county is High Wycombe....

. To earn extra money, he wrote book reviews and lectured at evening extension courses. In 1917, he took a position at Lloyds Bank
Lloyds Bank
Lloyds Bank Plc was a British retail bank which operated in England and Wales from 1765 until its merger into Lloyds TSB in 1995; it remains a registered company but is currently dormant. It expanded during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and took over a number of smaller banking companies...

 in London, working on foreign accounts. On a trip to Paris in August 1920, he met the writer James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

 and the artist Wyndham Lewis
Wyndham Lewis
Percy Wyndham Lewis was an English painter and author . He was a co-founder of the Vorticist movement in art, and edited the literary magazine of the Vorticists, BLAST...

. Eliot said he found Joyce arrogant—Joyce doubted Eliot's ability as a poet at the time—but the two soon became friends, with Eliot's visiting Joyce whenever he was in Paris.

In 1925, Eliot left Lloyds to join the publishing firm Faber and Gwyer, later Faber and Faber
Faber and Faber
Faber and Faber Limited, often abbreviated to Faber, is an independent publishing house in the UK, notable in particular for publishing a great deal of poetry and for its former editor T. S. Eliot. Faber has a rich tradition of publishing a wide range of fiction, non fiction, drama, film and music...

, where he remained for the rest of his career, eventually becoming a director. Wyndham Lewis and Eliot became close friends, a friendship leading to Lewis's well-known painting of Eliot in 1938.

Conversion to Anglicanism and British citizenship

On June 29, 1927 Eliot converted to Anglicanism
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 from Unitarianism
Unitarianism
Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being....

, and in November that year he took British citizenship
British nationality law
British nationality law is the law of the United Kingdom that concerns citizenship and other categories of British nationality. The law is complex because of the United Kingdom's former status as an imperial power.-History:...

. He became a warden
Churchwarden
A churchwarden is a lay official in a parish church or congregation of the Anglican Communion, usually working as a part-time volunteer. Holders of these positions are ex officio members of the parish board, usually called a vestry, parish council, parochial church council, or in the case of a...

 of his parish church, Saint Stephen's, Gloucester Road, London, and a life member of the Society of King Charles the Martyr
Society of King Charles the Martyr
The Society of King Charles the Martyr is an Anglican devotional society and one of the Catholic Societies of the Church of England. It is dedicated to and under the patronage of King Charles I of England , the only person to be canonised by the Church of...

. He specifically identified as Anglo-Catholic
Anglo-Catholicism
The terms Anglo-Catholic and Anglo-Catholicism describe people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that affirm the Catholic, rather than Protestant, heritage and identity of the Anglican churches....

, proclaiming himself "classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and anglo-catholic [sic] in religion." About thirty years later Eliot commented on his religious views that he combined "a Catholic cast of mind, a Calvinist heritage, and a Puritanical temperament."

Separation and remarriage

By 1932, Eliot had been contemplating a separation from his wife for some time. When Harvard offered him the Charles Eliot Norton
Charles Eliot Norton
Charles Eliot Norton, was a leading American author, social critic, and professor of art. He was a militant idealist, a progressive social reformer, and a liberal activist whom many of his contemporaries considered the most cultivated man in the United States.-Biography:Norton was born at...

 professorship for the 1932-1933 academic year, he accepted and left Vivienne in England. Upon his return, he arranged for a formal separation from her, avoiding all but one meeting with her between his leaving for America in 1932 and her death in 1947. Vivienne was committed to the Northumberland House mental hospital, Stoke Newington
Stoke Newington
Stoke Newington is a district in the London Borough of Hackney. It is north-east of Charing Cross.-Boundaries:In modern terms, Stoke Newington can be roughly defined by the N16 postcode area . Its southern boundary with Dalston is quite ill-defined too...

, in 1938, and remained there until she died. Although Eliot was still legally her husband, he never visited her.

From 1946 to 1957, Eliot shared a flat with his friend John Davy Hayward
John Davy Hayward
John Davy Hayward was an English editor, critic, anthologist and bibliophile.-Early life:Hayward was educated at Gresham's School and in France before going up to King's College, Cambridge in 1923 to read English and modern languages...

, who gathered and archived Eliot's papers, styling himself "Keeper of the Eliot Archive." Hayward also collected Eliot's pre-Prufrock verse, commercially published after Eliot's death as Poems Written in Early Youth. When Eliot and Hayward separated their household in 1957, Hayward retained his collection of Eliot's papers, which he bequeathed to King's College, Cambridge
King's College, Cambridge
King's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. The college's full name is "The King's College of our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge", but it is usually referred to simply as "King's" within the University....

 in 1965.

On January 10, 1957, Eliot at the age of 68 married Esmé Valerie Fletcher, who was 32. In contrast to his first marriage, Eliot knew Fletcher well, as she had been his secretary at Faber and Faber
Faber and Faber
Faber and Faber Limited, often abbreviated to Faber, is an independent publishing house in the UK, notable in particular for publishing a great deal of poetry and for its former editor T. S. Eliot. Faber has a rich tradition of publishing a wide range of fiction, non fiction, drama, film and music...

 since August 1949. They kept their wedding secret; the ceremony was held in a church at 6.15 a.m. with virtually no one in attendance other than his wife's parents. Since Eliot's death, Valerie has dedicated her time to preserving his legacy; she has edited and annotated The Letters of T. S. Eliot and a facsimile of the draft of The Waste Land. Eliot never had children with either of his wives. In the early 1960s, by then in failing health, Eliot worked as an editor for the Wesleyan University Press
Wesleyan University Press
Wesleyan University Press is a university press that is part of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. The Press is currently directed by Suzanna Tamminen, a published poet and essayist...

, seeking new poets in Europe for publication.

Death and honours

Eliot died of emphysema
Emphysema
Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath. In people with emphysema, the tissues necessary to support the physical shape and function of the lungs are destroyed. It is included in a group of diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary...

 in London on January 4, 1965. For many years he had had health problems caused by his heavy smoking, and had often been laid low with bronchitis
Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the large bronchi in the lungs that is usually caused by viruses or bacteria and may last several days or weeks. Characteristic symptoms include cough, sputum production, and shortness of breath and wheezing related to the obstruction of the inflamed airways...

 or tachycardia
Tachycardia
Tachycardia comes from the Greek words tachys and kardia . Tachycardia typically refers to a heart rate that exceeds the normal range for a resting heart rate...

. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium
Golders Green Crematorium
Golders Green Crematorium and Mausoleum was the first crematorium to be opened in London, and one of the oldest crematoria in Britain. The land for the crematorium was purchased in 1900, costing £6,000, and was opened in 1902 by Sir Henry Thompson....

. In accordance with Eliot's wishes, his ashes were taken to St Michael's Church in East Coker
East Coker
East Coker is a village and civil parish in the South Somerset district of Somerset, England. Its nearest town is Yeovil, which is situated two miles north from the village. The village has a population of 1,781...

, the village from which his ancestors had emigrated to America.
  • A wall plaque commemorates him with a quotation from his poem "East Coker": "In my beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning."

  • In 1967, on the second anniversary of his death, Eliot was commemorated by the installation of a large stone in the floor of Poets' Corner
    Poets' Corner
    Poets' Corner is the name traditionally given to a section of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey because of the number of poets, playwrights, and writers buried and commemorated there. The most recent additions were a memorial floor stone unveiled in 2009 for the founders of the Royal Ballet...

     in London's Westminster Abbey
    Westminster Abbey
    The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

    . The stone, cut by designer Reynolds Stone
    Reynolds Stone
    Alan Reynolds Stone CBE RDI was a noted English engraver, designer, typographer and painter of the 20th century.Much of his work was done in the field of printing and publishing, as a designer of typefaces, book jackets and bookplates. In 1949 he redesigned the famous clock logo of The Times...

    , is inscribed with his life dates, his Order of Merit, and a quotation from his poem "Little Gidding
    Little Gidding (poem)
    "Little Gidding" is the fourth and final poem of T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets, a series of poems that discuss time, perspective, humanity, and salvation. It was first published in September 1942 after being delayed for over a year because of the air-raids on Great Britain during World War II and...

    ": "the communication / Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond / the language of the living."

Poetry

For a poet of his stature, Eliot produced a relatively small amount of poetry and he was aware of this early in his career. He wrote to J. H. Woods, one of his former Harvard professors, "My reputation in London is built upon one small volume of verse, and is kept up by printing two or three more poems in a year. The only thing that matters is that these should be perfect in their kind, so that each should be an event."

Typically, Eliot first published his poems individually in periodicals or in small books or pamphlets, and then collected them in books. His first collection was Prufrock and Other Observations (1917). In 1920, he published more poems in Ara Vos Prec (London) and Poems: 1920 (New York). These had the same poems (in a different order) except that "Ode" in the British edition was replaced with "Hysteria" in the American edition. In 1925, he collected The Waste Land and the poems in Prufrock and Poems into one volume and added The Hollow Men to form Poems: 1909–1925. From then on, he updated this work as Collected Poems. Exceptions are Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939), a collection of light verse; Poems Written in Early Youth, posthumously published in 1967 and consisting mainly of poems published 1907–1910 in The Harvard Advocate
The Harvard Advocate
The Harvard Advocate, the literary magazine of Harvard College, is the oldest continuously published college literary magazine in the United States. The magazine was founded by Charles S. Gage and William G. Peckham in 1866 and, except for a hiatus during the last years of World War II, has...

, and Inventions of the March Hare: Poems 1909–1917, material Eliot never intended to have published, which appeared posthumously in 1997.

Eliot said of his nationality and its role in his work: "[M]y poetry has obviously more in common with my distinguished contemporaries in America than with anything written in my generation in England ... It wouldn't be what it is, and I imagine it wouldn't be so good ... if I'd been born in England, and it wouldn't be what it is if I'd stayed in America. It's a combination of things. But in its sources, in its emotional springs, it comes from America."

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

In 1915 Ezra Pound
Ezra Pound
Ezra Weston Loomis Pound was an American expatriate poet and critic and a major figure in the early modernist movement in poetry...

, overseas editor of Poetry magazine, recommended to Harriet Monroe
Harriet Monroe
Harriet Monroe was an American editor, scholar, literary critic, poet and patron of the arts. She is best known as the founding publisher and long-time editor of Poetry Magazine, which made its debut in 1912. As a supporter of the poets Ezra Pound, H. D., T. S...

, the magazine's founder, that she publish "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock". Although the character Prufrock seems to be middle-aged, Eliot wrote most of the poem when he was only 22. Its now-famous opening lines, comparing the evening sky to "a patient etherised upon a table," were considered shocking and offensive, especially at a time when Georgian Poetry
Georgian Poetry
Georgian Poetry was the title of a series of anthologies showcasing the work of a school of English poetry that established itself during the early years of the reign of King George V of the United Kingdom....

 was hailed for its derivations of the 19th century Romantic Poets
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

. The poem follows the conscious experience of a man, Prufrock (relayed in the "stream of consciousness" form characteristic of the Modernists), lamenting his physical and intellectual inertia, the lost opportunities in his life and lack of spiritual progress, with the recurrent theme of carnal love unattained. Critical opinion is divided as to whether the narrator leaves his residence during the course of the narration. The locations described can be interpreted either as actual physical experiences, mental recollections, or as symbolic images from the unconscious mind, as, for example, in the refrain "In the room the women come and go." The poem's structure was heavily influenced by Eliot's extensive reading of Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

, in the Italian, and refers to a number of literary works, including Hamlet
Hamlet
The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601...

and those of the French Symbolists.

Its reception in London can be gauged from an unsigned review in The Times Literary Supplement
The Times Literary Supplement
The Times Literary Supplement is a weekly literary review published in London by News International, a subsidiary of News Corporation.-History:...

on June 21, 1917: "The fact that these things occurred to the mind of Mr Eliot is surely of the very smallest importance to anyone, even to himself. They certainly have no relation to poetry…"

The Waste Land

In October 1922 Eliot published The Waste Land in The Criterion. Eliot's dedication to il miglior fabbro ("the better craftsman") refers to Ezra Pound's significant hand in editing and reshaping the poem from a longer Eliot manuscript to the shortened version that appears in publication. It was composed during a period of personal difficulty for Eliot—his marriage was failing, and both he and Vivienne were suffering from nervous disorders. The poem is often read as a representation of the disillusionment of the post-war generation. Before the poem's publication as a book in December 1922, Eliot distanced himself from its vision of despair. On November 15, 1922, he wrote to Richard Aldington
Richard Aldington
Richard Aldington , born Edward Godfree Aldington, was an English writer and poet.Aldington was best known for his World War I poetry, the 1929 novel, Death of a Hero, and the controversy arising from his 1955 Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Inquiry...

, saying, "As for The Waste Land, that is a thing of the past so far as I am concerned and I am now feeling toward a new form and style." The poem is known for its obscure nature—its slippage between satire and prophecy; its abrupt changes of speaker, location, and time. Despite this, it has become a touchstone of modern literature
Modernist poetry in English
Modernist poetry in English is generally considered to have emerged in the early years of the 20th century with the appearance of the Imagists. In common with many other modernists, these poets wrote in reaction to the perceived excesses of Victorian poetry, with its emphasis on traditional...

, a poetic counterpart to a novel published in the same year, James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

's Ulysses
Ulysses (novel)
Ulysses is a novel by the Irish author James Joyce. It was first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, in Paris. One of the most important works of Modernist literature,...

.

The Waste Land is not about the complexity of a life lived under the shadows of gloom, but it is the gloom that emanates a sense of chaotic existence where life dwindles to a heap of broken images where the sense of boredom and horror permeate the imagination of the time. It is again a sustained illustration or a manifestation of the apparent chaos within the modern society. The sterility of life emerges from a sense of failure, which is not the failure of an individual rather the failure of the society.

Among its best-known phrases are "April is the cruellest month", "I will show you fear in a handful of dust"; and "Shantih
Shanti Mantra
The Shanti Mantras or "Peace Mantras" are Hindu prayers for Peace from the Vedas.Generally they are recited at the beginning and end of religious rituals and discourses....

 shantih shantih," the Sanskrit mantra
Mantra
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation"...

that ends the poem.

The Hollow Men

The Hollow Men appeared in 1925. For the critic Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson was an American writer and literary and social critic and noted man of letters.-Early life:Wilson was born in Red Bank, New Jersey. His father, Edmund Wilson, Sr., was a lawyer and served as New Jersey Attorney General. Wilson attended The Hill School, a college preparatory...

, it marked "the nadir of the phase of despair and desolation given such effective expression in The Waste Land." It is Eliot's major poem of the late twenties. Similar to other work, its themes are overlapping and fragmentary: post-war Europe under the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 (which Eliot despised); the difficulty of hope and religious conversion; and Eliot's failed marriage.

Allen Tate
Allen Tate
John Orley Allen Tate was an American poet, essayist, social commentator, and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1943 to 1944.-Life:...

 perceived a shift in Eliot's method, writing that, "The mythologies disappear altogether in The Hollow Men." This is a striking claim for a poem as indebted to Dante
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

 as anything else in Eliot’s early work, to say little of the modern English mythology—the "Old Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes , also known as Guido Fawkes, the name he adopted while fighting for the Spanish in the Low Countries, belonged to a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.Fawkes was born and educated in York...

" of the Gunpowder Plot—or the colonial and agrarian
Agrarianism
Agrarianism has two common meanings. The first meaning refers to a social philosophy or political philosophy which values rural society as superior to urban society, the independent farmer as superior to the paid worker, and sees farming as a way of life that can shape the ideal social values...

 mythos of Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born English novelist.Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties...

 and James George Frazer, which, at least for reasons of textual history, echo in The Waste Land. The "continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity" that is so characteristic of his mythical method remained in fine form. The Hollow Men contains some of Eliot's most famous lines, notably its conclusion:
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.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the first long poem written by Eliot after his 1927 conversion to Anglicanism
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

. Published in 1930
1930 in literature
The year 1930 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*January 6 - The first literary character licensing agreement is signed by A. A. Milne, granting Stephen Slesinger U.S...

, it deals with the struggle that ensues when one who has lacked faith acquires it. Sometimes referred to as Eliot's "conversion poem," it is richly but ambiguously allusive, and deals with the aspiration to move from spiritual barrenness to hope for human salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

. The style is different from the poetry that predates his conversion. Ash Wednesday and the poems that followed had a more casual, melodic, and contemplative method.

Many critics were particularly enthusiastic about it. Edwin Muir
Edwin Muir
Edwin Muir was an Orcadian poet, novelist and translator born on a farm in Deerness on the Orkney Islands. He was remembered for his deeply felt and vivid poetry in plain language with few stylistic preoccupations....

 maintained that it is one of the most moving poems Eliot wrote, and perhaps the "most perfect," though it was not well-received by everyone. The poem's groundwork of orthodox Christianity discomfited many of the more secular literati
Intellectual
An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.- Terminology and endeavours :"Intellectual" can denote four types of persons:...

.

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

In 1930, Eliot published a book of light verse, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats ("Old Possum" was Ezra Pound's nickname for him). This first edition had an illustration of the author on the cover. In 1954, the composer Alan Rawsthorne
Alan Rawsthorne
Alan Rawsthorne was a British composer. He was born in Haslingden, Lancashire, and is buried in Thaxted churchyard in Essex.-Career:...

 set six of the poems for speaker and orchestra, in a work entitled Practical Cats. After Eliot's death, the book was adapted as the basis of the musical, Cats
Cats (musical)
Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot...

, by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Baron Lloyd-Webber is an English composer of musical theatre.Lloyd Webber has achieved great popular success in musical theatre. Several of his musicals have run for more than a decade both in the West End and on Broadway. He has composed 13 musicals, a song cycle, a set of...

, first produced in London's West End
West End theatre
West End theatre is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of London's 'Theatreland', the West End. Along with New York's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking...

 in 1981 and opening on Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 the following year.

Four Quartets

Eliot regarded Four Quartets as his masterpiece, and it is the work that led to his being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

. It consists of four long poems, each first published separately: Burnt Norton
Burnt Norton
"Burnt Norton" is the first poem of T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets. He created it while working on his play Murder in the Cathedral and it was first published in his Collected Poems 1909–1935 . The poem's title refers to a Cotswolds manor house Eliot visited. The manor's garden served as an important...

(1936), East Coker
East Coker
East Coker is a village and civil parish in the South Somerset district of Somerset, England. Its nearest town is Yeovil, which is situated two miles north from the village. The village has a population of 1,781...

(1940), The Dry Salvages (1941) and Little Gidding
Little Gidding (poem)
"Little Gidding" is the fourth and final poem of T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets, a series of poems that discuss time, perspective, humanity, and salvation. It was first published in September 1942 after being delayed for over a year because of the air-raids on Great Britain during World War II and...

(1942). Each has five sections. Although they resist easy characterization, each begins with a rumination on the geographical location of its title, and each meditates on the nature of time in some important respect—theological, historical, physical—and its relation to the human condition. Each poem is associated with one of the four classical elements: air, earth, water, and fire.

Burnt Norton
Burnt Norton
"Burnt Norton" is the first poem of T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets. He created it while working on his play Murder in the Cathedral and it was first published in his Collected Poems 1909–1935 . The poem's title refers to a Cotswolds manor house Eliot visited. The manor's garden served as an important...

asks what it means to consider things that might have been. We see the shell of an abandoned house, and Eliot toys with the idea that all these merely possible realities are present together, invisible to us. All the possible ways people might walk across a courtyard add up to a vast dance we can't see; children who aren't there are hiding in the bushes.

Footfalls echo in the memory

Down the passage which we did not take

Towards the door we never opened

Into the rose-garden.


East Coker
East Coker
East Coker is a village and civil parish in the South Somerset district of Somerset, England. Its nearest town is Yeovil, which is situated two miles north from the village. The village has a population of 1,781...

continues the examination of time and meaning, focusing in a famous passage on the nature of language and poetry. Out of darkness, Eliot offers a solution: "I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope".

The Dry Salvages
The Dry Salvages
"The Dry Salvages" is the third poem of T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets and marks the beginning of when the series was consciously being formed as a set of four poems. It was written and published in 1941 during the air-raids on Great Britain, an event that threatened him while giving lectures in the...

treats the element of water, via images of river and sea. It strives to contain opposites: "... the past and future/Are conquered, and reconciled".

Little Gidding
Little Gidding (poem)
"Little Gidding" is the fourth and final poem of T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets, a series of poems that discuss time, perspective, humanity, and salvation. It was first published in September 1942 after being delayed for over a year because of the air-raids on Great Britain during World War II and...

(the element of fire) is the most anthologized of the Quartets. Eliot's experiences as an air raid warden in The Blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

 power the poem, and he imagines meeting Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

 during the German bombing. The beginning of the Quartets ("Houses .../Are removed, destroyed") had become a violent everyday experience; this creates an animation, where for the first time he talks of Love as the driving force behind all experience. From this background, the Quartets end with an affirmation of Julian of Norwich
Julian of Norwich
Julian of Norwich is regarded as one of the most important English mystics. She is venerated in the Anglican and Lutheran churches, but has never been canonized, or officially beatified, by the Catholic Church, probably because so little is known of her life aside from her writings, including the...

: "all shall be well and/All manner of thing shall be well".

The Four Quartets cannot be understood without reference to Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 thought, traditions, and history. Eliot draws upon the theology, art, symbolism and language of such figures as Dante, and mystics St. John of the Cross and Julian of Norwich
Julian of Norwich
Julian of Norwich is regarded as one of the most important English mystics. She is venerated in the Anglican and Lutheran churches, but has never been canonized, or officially beatified, by the Catholic Church, probably because so little is known of her life aside from her writings, including the...

. The "deeper communion" sought in East Coker, the "hints and whispers of children, the sickness that must grow worse in order to find healing," and the exploration which inevitably leads us home all point to the pilgrim's path along the road of sanctification
Sanctification
Sanctity is an ancient concept widespread among religions, a property of a thing or person sacred or set apart within the religion, from totem poles through temple vessels to days of the week, to a human believer who achieves this state. Sanctification is the act or process of acquiring sanctity,...

.

Plays

With the important exception of his magnum opus
Masterpiece
Masterpiece in modern usage refers to a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill or workmanship....

Four Quartets, Eliot directed much of his creative energies after Ash Wednesday to writing plays in verse, mostly comedies or plays with redemptive endings. He was long a critic and admirer of Elizabethan and Jacobean verse drama; witness his allusions to Webster
John Webster
John Webster was an English Jacobean dramatist best known for his tragedies The White Devil and The Duchess of Malfi, which are often regarded as masterpieces of the early 17th-century English stage. He was a contemporary of William Shakespeare.- Biography :Webster's life is obscure, and the dates...

, Thomas Middleton
Thomas Middleton
Thomas Middleton was an English Jacobean playwright and poet. Middleton stands with John Fletcher and Ben Jonson as among the most successful and prolific of playwrights who wrote their best plays during the Jacobean period. He was one of the few Renaissance dramatists to achieve equal success in...

, William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 and Thomas Kyd
Thomas Kyd
Thomas Kyd was an English dramatist, the author of The Spanish Tragedy, and one of the most important figures in the development of Elizabethan drama....

 in The Waste Land. In a 1933 lecture he said: "Every poet would like, I fancy, to be able to think that he had some direct social utility. ... He would like to be something of a popular entertainer, and be able to think his own thoughts behind a tragic or a comic mask. He would like to convey the pleasures of poetry, not only to a larger audience, but to larger groups of people collectively; and the theatre is the best place in which to do it."

After The Waste Land (1922), he wrote that he was "now feeling toward a new form and style." One project he had in mind was writing a play in verse with a jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 tempo featuring Sweeney, a character who had appeared in a number of his poems. Eliot did not finish it. He did publish separately two pieces of what he had written. The two, Fragment of a Prologue (1926) and Fragment of an Agon (1927) were published together in 1932 as Sweeney Agonistes. Although Eliot noted that this was not intended to be a one-act play, it is sometimes performed as one.

A pageant play by Eliot called The Rock was performed in 1934 for the benefit of churches in the Diocese of London
Diocese of London
The Anglican Diocese of London forms part of the Province of Canterbury in England.Historically the diocese covered a large area north of the Thames and bordered the dioceses of Norwich and Lincoln to the north and west. The present diocese covers and 17 London boroughs, covering most of Greater...

. Much of it was a collaborative effort; Eliot accepted credit only for the authorship of one scene and the choruses. George Bell
George Bell (bishop)
George Kennedy Allen Bell was an Anglican theologian, Dean of Canterbury, Bishop of Chichester, member of the House of Lords and a pioneer of the Ecumenical Movement.-Early career:...

, the Bishop of Chichester
Bishop of Chichester
The Bishop of Chichester is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Chichester in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers the Counties of East and West Sussex. The see is in the City of Chichester where the seat is located at the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity...

, had been instrumental in connecting Eliot with producer E. Martin Browne
E. Martin Browne
E. Martin Browne was a British theatre director, known for his production of twentieth century verse plays. He collaborated for many years with T. S...

 for the production of The Rock, and later asked Eliot to write another play for the Canterbury Festival
Canterbury Festival
The Canterbury Festival is Kent's international festival of the arts. It takes place in Canterbury and surrounding towns and villages each October and includes performances of a variety of types of music, ranging from Opera and Oratorio to art, comedy and theatre...

 in 1935. This one, Murder in the Cathedral, concerning the death of the martyr, Thomas Becket
Thomas Becket
Thomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion...

, was more under Eliot's control. After this, he worked on commercial plays for more general audiences: The Family Reunion (1939), The Cocktail Party (1949), The Confidential Clerk, (1953) and The Elder Statesman (1958). The Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 production in New York of The Cocktail Party
The Cocktail Party
The Cocktail Party is a play by T. S. Eliot. Elements of the play are based on Alcestis, by the Ancient Greek playwright Euripides. The play was the most popular of Eliot's seven plays in his lifetime, although his 1935 play, Murder in the Cathedral, is better remembered today.The Cocktail Party...

received the 1950 Tony Award
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

 for Best Play.

Literary criticism

Eliot also made significant contributions to the field of literary criticism, strongly influencing the school of New Criticism
New Criticism
New Criticism was a movement in literary theory that dominated American literary criticism in the middle decades of the 20th century. It emphasized close reading, particularly of poetry, to discover how a work of literature functioned as a self-contained, self-referential aesthetic...

. While somewhat self-deprecating and minimizing of his work—he once said his criticism was merely a “by-product” of his “private poetry-workshop”—Eliot is considered by some to be one of the greatest literary critics of the 20th century. The critic William Empson
William Empson
Sir William Empson was an English literary critic and poet.He was known as "燕卜荪" in Chinese.He was widely influential for his practice of closely reading literary works, fundamental to the New Critics...

 once said, "I do not know for certain how much of my own mind [Eliot] invented, let alone how much of it is a reaction against him or indeed a consequence of misreading him. He is a very penetrating influence, perhaps not unlike the east wind."

In his critical essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent
Tradition and the individual talent
"Tradition and the Individual Talent" is an essay written by poet and literary theorist T. S. Eliot. The essay was first published, in two parts, in The Egoist and later in Eliot's first book of criticism, "The Sacred Wood"...

,” Eliot argues that art must be understood not in a vacuum, but in the context of previous pieces of art: “In a peculiar sense [an artist or poet] ... must inevitably be judged by the standards of the past.” This essay was an important influence over the New Criticism by introducing the idea that the value of a work of art must be viewed in the context of the artist's previous works, a “simultaneous order” of works (i.e. "tradition"). Eliot himself employed this concept on many of his works, especially on his long-poem The Waste Land.

Also important to New Criticism was the idea—as articulated in Eliot’s essay "Hamlet and His Problems
Hamlet and His Problems
"Hamlet and His Problems" is a 1919 essay by T. S. Eliot which offers a critical reading of Hamlet. Originally published in Eliot's The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism, it was reprinted in Selected Essays, 1917-1932...

”—of an “objective correlative
Objective correlative
An objective correlative is a literary term referring to a symbolic article used to provide explicit, rather than implicit, access to such traditionally inexplicable concepts as emotion or colour.- Origin of terminology :Popularized by T. S...

,” which posits a connection among the words of the text and events, states of mind, and experiences. This notion concedes that a poem means what it says, but suggests that there can be a non-subjective judgment based on different readers’ different—but perhaps corollary—interpretations of a work.

More generally, New Critics took a cue from Eliot in regard to his “‘classical’ ideals and his religious thought; his attention to the poetry and drama of the early seventeenth century; his deprecation of the Romantics, especially Shelley; his proposition that good poems constitute ‘not a turning loose of emotion but an escape from emotion'; and his insistence that ‘poets…at present must be difficult.’”

Eliot’s essays were a major factor in the revival of interest in the metaphysical poets
Metaphysical poets
The metaphysical poets is a term coined by the poet and critic Samuel Johnson to describe a loose group of British lyric poets of the 17th century, who shared an interest in metaphysical concerns and a common way of investigating them, and whose work was characterized by inventiveness of metaphor...

. Eliot particularly praised the metaphysical poets' ability to show experience as both psychological and sensual, while at the same time infusing this portrayal with—in Eliot's view—wit and uniqueness. Eliot's essay "The Metaphysical Poets," along with giving new significance and attention to metaphysical poetry, introduced his now well-known definition of "unified sensibility," which is considered by some to mean the same thing as the term "metaphysical."

His 1922 poem The Waste Land also can be better understood in light of his work as a critic. He had argued that a poet must write “programmatic criticism"; that is, a poet should write to advance his own interests rather than to advance “historical scholarship". Viewed from Eliot's critical lens, The Waste Land likely shows his personal despair about World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 rather than an objective historical understanding of it.

In 1946 Eliot was a member of a group otherwise composed of senior clergy which produced a report entitled "Catholicity" published in 1947 as a contribution to the process which resulted in the Church of England's Report on Doctrine (1948).

In 1958, the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

 appointed Eliot to a commission that produced The Revised Psalter (1963). A harsh critic of Eliot, C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis , commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland...

, was also a member of the commission, where their antagonism turned into a friendship.

Responses to his poetry

The initial critical response to Eliot's poetry, particularly "The Waste Land," was mixed. Some critics, like Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson was an American writer and literary and social critic and noted man of letters.-Early life:Wilson was born in Red Bank, New Jersey. His father, Edmund Wilson, Sr., was a lawyer and served as New Jersey Attorney General. Wilson attended The Hill School, a college preparatory...

, Conrad Aiken
Conrad Aiken
Conrad Potter Aiken was an American novelist and poet, whose work includes poetry, short stories, novels, a play and an autobiography.-Early years:...

, and Gilbert Seldes
Gilbert Seldes
Gilbert Vivian Seldes was an American writer and cultural critic. He was editor and drama critic of The Dial. He also hosted the NBC television program The Subject is Jazz....

 thought it was the best poetry being written in the English language while others thought it was esoteric and wilfully difficult. Edmund Wilson, being one of the critics who praised Eliot, called him "one of our only authentic poets." Nevertheless, it should be noted that Wilson also pointed out some of Eliot's weaknesses as a poet. In regard to "The Waste Land," Wilson admits its flaws ("its lack of structural unity"), but concluded, "I doubt whether there is a single other poem of equal length by a contemporary American which displays so high and so varied a mastery of English verse."

Other critics, like Charles Powell, were decidedly negative in their criticism of Eliot, calling his poems incomprehensible. And the writers of Time magazine were similarly baffled by a challenging poem like "The Waste Land". Of course, there were some critics, like John Crowe Ransom
John Crowe Ransom
John Crowe Ransom was an American poet, essayist, magazine editor, and professor.-Life:...

, who wrote mostly negative criticisms of Eliot's work but who also had some positive things to say. For instance, though Ransom negatively criticised "The Waste Land" for its "extreme disconnection," Ransom was not completely condemnatory of Eliot's work (like Powell) and admitted that Eliot was a talented poet.

Addressing some of the common criticisms directed against "The Waste Land" at the time, Gilbert Seldes stated, "It seems at first sight remarkably disconnected and confused . . .[however] a closer view of the poem does more than illuminate the difficulties; it reveals the hidden form of the work, [and] indicates how each thing falls into place."

Allegations of anti-Semitism

The depiction of Jews in some of Eliot's poems has led several critics to accuse him of anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

. This case has been presented most forcefully in a study by Anthony Julius
Anthony Julius
Anthony Julius is a prominent British lawyer and academic, best known for his actions on behalf of Diana, Princess of Wales, Deborah Lipstadt and more recently Heather Mills...

: T. S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism, and Literary Form (1996). In "Gerontion
Gerontion
"Gerontion" is a poem by T. S. Eliot that was first published in 1920. The work relates the opinions and impressions of a gerontic, or elderly man, through a dramatic monologue which describes Europe after World War I through the eyes of a man who has lived the majority of his life in the 19th...

", Eliot writes, in the voice of the poem's elderly narrator, "And the Jew squats on the window sill, the owner [of my building],/ Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp." Another well-known example appears in the poem, "Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar." In this poem, Eliot wrote, "The rats are underneath the piles./ The Jew is underneath the lot./ Money in furs." Interpreting the line as an indirect comparison of Jews to rats, Julius writes, "The anti-Semitism is unmistakable. It reaches out like a clear signal to the reader." Julius's viewpoint has been supported by literary critics such as Christopher Ricks
Christopher Ricks
Sir Christopher Bruce Ricks, FBA is a British literary critic and scholar. He is the William M. and Sara B. Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University and Co-Director of the Editorial Institute at Boston University, and was Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford from 2004...

, George Steiner
George Steiner
Francis George Steiner, FBA , is an influential European-born American literary critic, essayist, philosopher, novelist, translator, and educator. He has written extensively about the relationship between language, literature and society, and the impact of the Holocaust...

, and James Fenton
James Fenton
James Martin Fenton is an English poet, journalist and literary critic. He is a former Oxford Professor of Poetry.-Life and career:...

.

In a series of lectures delivered at the University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

 in 1933, published under the title After Strange Gods: A Primer of Modern Heresy (1934), Eliot wrote of societal tradition and coherence: "What is still more important [than cultural homogeneity] is unity of religious background, and reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable." Eliot never re-published this book nor the lecture.

Craig Raine
Craig Raine
Craig Raine is an English poet and critic born in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England. Along with Christopher Reid, he is the best-known exponent of Martian poetry.-Life:...

, in his books In Defence of T.S. Eliot (2001) and T. S. Eliot (2006), has sought to defend Eliot from the charge of anti-Semitism. Reviewing Raine's 2006 book, Paul Dean stated that he was not convinced by Raine's argument though he concluded, "Ultimately, as both Raine and, to do him justice, Julius insist, however much Eliot may have been compromised as a person, as we all are in our several ways, his greatness as a poet remains."

Awards

  • Order of Merit (awarded by King George VI
    George VI of the United Kingdom
    George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death...

     (United Kingdom), 1948)
  • Nobel Prize for Literature "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry" (Stockholm
    Stockholm
    Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

    , 1948)
  • Officier de la Legion d'Honneur
    Légion d'honneur
    The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

     (1951)
  • Hanseatic Goethe Prize
    Hanseatic Goethe Prize
    The Hansischer Goethe-Preis is a German literary and artistic award, given biennially since 1949 to a figure of European stature.Past winners include:*2005 Ariane Mnouchkine*2003 Cees Nooteboom*2001 Pina Bausch*1999 Ryszard Kapuściński...

     (Hamburg
    Hamburg
    -History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

    , 1955)
  • Dante Medal (Florence
    Florence
    Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

    , 1959)
  • Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
    Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
    The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is an Order of France, established on 2 May 1957 by the Minister of Culture, and confirmed as part of the Ordre national du Mérite by President Charles de Gaulle in 1963...

    , (1960)
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom
    Presidential Medal of Freedom
    The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

     (1964)
  • 13 honorary doctorates (including Oxford, Cambridge, the Sorbonne, and Harvard)
  • Tony Award
    Tony Award
    The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

     in 1950 for Best Play: The Broadway production of The Cocktail Party.
  • Two posthumous Tony Awards (1983) for his poems used in the musical Cats
    Cats (musical)
    Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot...

  • Eliot College
    Eliot College, Kent
    Eliot College is the oldest college of the University of Kent. It was established in 1965, the same year the university opened.-Namesake:The college is named after T. S. Eliot, the poet who died on January 4, 1965, the same day the university was formally established...

     of the University of Kent
    University of Kent
    The University of Kent, previously the University of Kent at Canterbury, is a public research university based in Kent, United Kingdom...

    , England, named after him
  • Celebrated on commemorative postage stamps
    Commemorative stamp
    A commemorative stamp is a postage stamp, often issued on a significant date such as an anniversary, to honor or commemorate a place, event or person. The subject of the commemorative stamp is usually spelled out in print, unlike definitive stamps which normally depict the subject along with the...

  • A star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame
    St. Louis Walk of Fame
    The St. Louis Walk of Fame honors well-known people from St. Louis, Missouri, who made contributions to culture of the United States. All inductees were either born in the Greater St. Louis area or spent their formative or creative years there...


Poetry

  • Prufrock and Other Observations (1917)
    • The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
      The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
      The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, commonly known as Prufrock, is a poem by T. S. Eliot, begun in February 1910 and published in Chicago in June 1915. Described as a "drama of literary anguish," it presents a stream of consciousness in the form of a dramatic monologue, and marked the beginning of...

    • Portrait of a Lady (poem)
      Portrait of a Lady (poem)
      Portrait of a Lady is a poem by T. S. Eliot, first published in September 1915 in Others: A Magazine of the New Verse, March 1916 in Others: An Anthology of the New Verse, in February 1917 in The New Poetry: An Anthology, and finally in his 1917 collection of poems, Prufrock and Other...

    • Aunt Helen
  • Poems (1920)
    • Gerontion
      Gerontion
      "Gerontion" is a poem by T. S. Eliot that was first published in 1920. The work relates the opinions and impressions of a gerontic, or elderly man, through a dramatic monologue which describes Europe after World War I through the eyes of a man who has lived the majority of his life in the 19th...

    • Sweeney Among the Nightingales
    • "The Hippopotamus"
    • "Whispers of Immortality"
    • "Mr. Eliot's Sunday Morning Service"
    • "A Cooking Egg"
  • The Waste Land
    The Waste Land
    The Waste Land[A] is a 434-line[B] modernist poem by T. S. Eliot published in 1922. It has been called "one of the most important poems of the 20th century." Despite the poem's obscurity—its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its...

    (1922)
  • The Hollow Men
    The Hollow Men
    The Hollow Men is a major poem by T. S. Eliot. Its themes are, like many of Eliot's poems, overlapping and fragmentary, but it is recognised to be concerned most with post-World War I Europe under the Treaty of Versailles , the difficulty of hope and religious conversion, and, as some critics...

    (1925)
  • Ariel Poems
    Ariel poems (Eliot)
    T. S. Eliot's Ariel poems are those written for Faber and Faber's series of Ariel Poems. All but "Triumphal March" also appear in his book Collected Poems: 1909–1962 under the heading Ariel Poems.-"Journey of the Magi":...

    (1927–1954)
    • The Journey of the Magi
      The Journey of the Magi
      The Journey of the Magi is a poem by T. S. Eliot on the subject of the magi who travelled to Palestine to visit the newborn Jesus according to the Gospel of Matthew...

      (1927)
  • Ash Wednesday
    Ash Wednesday (poem)
    "Ash Wednesday" is the first long poem written by T. S. Eliot after his 1927 conversion to Anglicanism. Published in 1930 , this poem deals with the struggle that ensues when one who has lacked faith in the past strives to move towards God.Sometimes referred to as Eliot's "conversion poem",...

    (1930)
  • Coriolan (1931)
  • Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
    Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
    Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats is a collection of whimsical poems by T. S. Eliot about feline psychology and sociology, published by Faber and Faber. It is the basis for the record-setting musical Cats....

    (1939)
  • The Marching Song of the Pollicle Dogs and Billy M'Caw: The Remarkable Parrot (1939) in The Queen's Book of the Red Cross
    The Queen's Book of the Red Cross
    The Queen's Book of the Red Cross was published in November 1939 in afundraising effort to aid the Red Cross during World War II.The book was sponsored by Queen Elizabeth, and itscontents were contributed by fifty British authors and artists....

  • Four Quartets
    Four Quartets
    Four Quartets is a set of four poems written by T. S. Eliot that were published individually over a six-year period. The first poem, "Burnt Norton", was written and published with a collection of his early works following the production of Eliot's play Murder in the Cathedral...

    (1945)

Plays

  • Sweeney Agonistes (published in 1926, first performed in 1934)
  • The Rock
    The Rock (play)
    The Rock was a pageant play with words by T. S. Eliot, first performed at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London on 28 May 1934.In a prefatory note Eliot disclaimed full responsibility for the text, saying "I cannot consider myself the author of the "play", but only of the words which are printed here." ...

    (1934)
  • Murder in the Cathedral
    Murder in the Cathedral
    Murder in the Cathedral is a verse drama by T. S. Eliot that portrays the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170, first performed in 1935...

    (1935)
  • The Family Reunion
    The Family Reunion
    The Family Reunion is a play by T. S. Eliot. Written mostly in blank verse, it incorporates elements from Greek drama and mid-twentieth-century detective plays to portray the hero's journey from guilt to redemption. The play was unsuccessful when first presented in 1939, and was later regarded as...

    (1939)
  • The Cocktail Party
    The Cocktail Party
    The Cocktail Party is a play by T. S. Eliot. Elements of the play are based on Alcestis, by the Ancient Greek playwright Euripides. The play was the most popular of Eliot's seven plays in his lifetime, although his 1935 play, Murder in the Cathedral, is better remembered today.The Cocktail Party...

    (1949)
  • The Confidential Clerk
    The Confidential Clerk
    thumb|1st edition cover The Confidential Clerk is a comic verse play by T. S. Eliot.-Synopsis:Sir Claude Mulhammer, a wealthy entrepreneur, decides to smuggle his illegitimate son Colby into the household by employing him as his confidential clerk...

    (1953)
  • The Elder Statesman
    The Elder Statesman
    The Elder Statesman is a play in verse by T. S. Eliot first performed in 1958 and published in 1959.-Overview:T. S. Eliot once quipped: “A play should give you something to think about...

    (first performed in 1958, published in 1959)

Nonfiction

  • Christianity & Culture (1939, 1948)
  • The Second-Order Mind (1920)
  • Tradition and the Individual Talent
    Tradition and the individual talent
    "Tradition and the Individual Talent" is an essay written by poet and literary theorist T. S. Eliot. The essay was first published, in two parts, in The Egoist and later in Eliot's first book of criticism, "The Sacred Wood"...

    (1920)
  • The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism (1920)
    • "Hamlet and His Problems
      Hamlet and His Problems
      "Hamlet and His Problems" is a 1919 essay by T. S. Eliot which offers a critical reading of Hamlet. Originally published in Eliot's The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism, it was reprinted in Selected Essays, 1917-1932...

      "
  • Homage to John Dryden (1924)
  • Shakespeare and the Stoicism of Seneca (1928)
  • For Lancelot Andrewes (1928)
  • Dante (1929)
  • Selected Essays, 1917–1932 (1932)
  • The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism (1933)
  • After Strange Gods (1934)
  • Elizabethan Essays (1934)
  • Essays Ancient and Modern (1936)
  • The Idea of a Christian Society (1939)
  • A Choice of Kipling's Verse (1941) made by Eliot, with an essay on Rudyard Kipling
    Rudyard Kipling
    Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Kipling received the 1907 Nobel Prize for Literature...

    , London, Faber and Faber.
  • Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (1948)
  • Poetry and Drama (1951)
  • The Three Voices of Poetry (1954)
  • The Frontiers of Criticism
    The Frontiers of Criticism
    "The Frontiers of Criticism" is a lecture given by T. S. Eliot at the University of Minnesota in 1956. It was reprinted in On Poetry and Poets, a collection of Eliot's critical essays, in 1957...

    (1956)
  • On Poetry and Poets (1957)

Posthumous publications

  • To Criticize the Critic (1965)
  • The Waste Land: Facsimile Edition (1974)
  • Inventions of the March Hare: Poems 1909-1917 (1996)


Critical editions


Further reading

  • Alldritt, Keith. Eliot's Four Quartets: Poetry as Chamber Music. Woburn Press, 1978.
  • Ali, Ahmed. Mr. Eliot's Penny World of Dreams: An Essay in the Interpretation of T.S. Eliot's Poetry, Published for the Lucknow University by New Book Co., Bombay, P.S. King & Staples Ltd., Westminster, London, 1942, pages 138.
  • Lal, P. (Editor), T. S. Eliot: Homage from India: A Commemoration Volume of 55 Essays & Elegies, Writer's Workshop Calcutta, 1965.
  • Forster, E. M. Essay on T. S. Eliot, in Life and Letters, June 1929.
  • Harding, W. D. T. S. Eliot, 1925-1935, Scrutiny, September 1936: A Review.
  • Brown, Alec. The Lyrical Impulse in Eliot's Poetry, Scrutinies vol. 2.
  • Ackroyd, Peter
    Peter Ackroyd
    Peter Ackroyd CBE is an English biographer, novelist and critic with a particular interest in the history and culture of London. For his novels about English history and culture and his biographies of, among others, Charles Dickens, T. S. Eliot and Sir Thomas More he won the Somerset Maugham Award...

    .
    T. S. Eliot: A Life. (1984)
  • Asher, Kenneth T. S. Eliot and Ideology (1995)
  • Brand, Clinton A. "The Voice of This Calling: The Enduring Legacy of T. S. Eliot," Modern Age Volume 45, Number 4; Fall 2003 online edition, conservative perspective
  • Bush, Ronald
    Ronald Bush
    Ronald George Bush in Auckland. He played one test match for the All Blacks in 1931 and he was also a New Zealand cricketer who played 10 first-class matches for the Auckland Aces in the mid-1930's....

    .
    T. S. Eliot: A Study in Character and Style. (1984)
  • Christensen, Karen. "Dear Mrs. Eliot," The Guardian Review. (29 January 2005).
  • Crawford, Robert. The Savage and the City in the Work of T. S. Eliot. (1987).
  • Dawson, J.L., P.D. Holland & D.J. McKitterick, A Concordance to 'The Complete Poems and Plays of T.S. Eliot'. Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, 1995.
  • Gardner, Helen. The Composition of Four Quartets. (1978).
  • ---The Art of T. S. Eliot. (1949)
  • Hargrove, Nancy Duvall. Landscape as Symbol in the Poetry of T. S. Eliot. University Press of Mississippi (1978).
  • ---. T. S. Eliot's Parisian Year. University Press of Florida (2009).
  • The Letters of T. S. Eliot. Ed. by Valerie Eliot. Vol. I, 1898-1922. San Diego [etc.] 1988. Vol. 2, 1923-1925. Edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton, London, Faber, 2009. ISBN 9780571140817
  • Gordon, Lyndall
    Lyndall Gordon
    Lyndall Gordon is a South African writer and academic, known for her literary biographies. Born in Cape Town, she was an undergraduate at the University of Cape Town, then a doctoral student at Columbia University...

    . T. S. Eliot: An Imperfect Life. (1998)
  • Julius, Anthony
    Anthony Julius
    Anthony Julius is a prominent British lawyer and academic, best known for his actions on behalf of Diana, Princess of Wales, Deborah Lipstadt and more recently Heather Mills...

    . T. S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism, and Literary Form. Cambridge University Press (1995)
  • Kelleter, Frank. Die Moderne und der Tod: Edgar Allan Poe–T. S. Eliot–Samuel Beckett. Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, 1998.
  • Kenner, Hugh
    Hugh Kenner
    William Hugh Kenner , was a Canadian literary scholar, critic and professor.Kenner was born in Peterborough, Ontario on January 7, 1923; his father taught classics...

    . The Invisible Poet: T. S. Eliot. (1969)
  • ---, editor, T. S. Eliot: A Collection of Critical Essays, Prentice-Hall. (1962)
  • Kirsch, Adam. "Matthew Arnold
    Matthew Arnold
    Matthew Arnold was a British poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Delafield Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator...

     and T. S. Eliot", The American Scholar. Vol 67, Iss 3. Summer 1998
  • Kirk, Russell
    Russell Kirk
    Russell Kirk was an American political theorist, moralist, historian, social critic, literary critic, and fiction author known for his influence on 20th century American conservatism. His 1953 book, The Conservative Mind, gave shape to the amorphous post–World War II conservative movement...

     Eliot and His Age: T. S, Eliot's Moral Imagination in the Twentieth Century. (Introduction by Benjamin G. Lockerd Jr.). Wilmington: Intercollegiate Studies Institute
    Intercollegiate Studies Institute
    The Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Inc., or ', is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1953 as the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists...

    , Republication of the revised second edition, 2008.
  • Levy, William Turner and Victor Scherle. Affectionately, T. S. Eliot: The Story of a Friendship: 1947-1965. (1968).
  • Maxwell, D. E. S. The Poetry of T. S. Eliot, Routledge and Keagan Paul. (1960).
  • Matthews, T. S. Great Tom: Notes Towards the Definition of T. S. Eliot. (1973)
  • Miller, James E., Jr.
    James E. Miller
    James E. Miller, Jr. was an American scholar and the Helen A. Regenstein Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, where he completed his graduate work, taught, and served as chairman of the English department.He has also served previously as president of...

     T. S. Eliot. The Making of an American Poet, 1888-1922. The Pennsylvania State University Press. 2005.
  • Narita, Tatsushi, "The Young T. S. Eliot and Alien Cultures: His Philippine Interactions", The Review of English Studies. Vol 45. (1994)
  • North, Michael
    Michael North (professor)
    Michael North is an American literary critic and a professor in the department of English at the University of California, Los Angeles.-Background:North received a B.A. from Stanford University in 1973 and Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1980...

     (ed.) The Waste Land (Norton Critical Editions). New York: W.W. Norton, 2000.
  • Quillian, William H.
    William H. Quillian
    William H. Quillian is an American literary critic and James Joyce scholar. He is currently Professor of English on the Emma B. Kennedy Foundation at Mount Holyoke College.-Background:...

     Hamlet and the New Poetic: James Joyce and T. S. Eliot
    Hamlet and the New Poetic: James Joyce and T. S. Eliot
    Hamlet and the New Poetic is a 1983 book of literary criticism on James Joyce, T. S. Eliot and Hamlet by American professor William H. Quillian.-Overview:...

    .
    Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press (1983).
  • Raine, Craig
    Craig Raine
    Craig Raine is an English poet and critic born in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England. Along with Christopher Reid, he is the best-known exponent of Martian poetry.-Life:...

    . T. S. Eliot. Oxford University Press (2006).
  • Ricks, Christopher
    Christopher Ricks
    Sir Christopher Bruce Ricks, FBA is a British literary critic and scholar. He is the William M. and Sara B. Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University and Co-Director of the Editorial Institute at Boston University, and was Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford from 2004...

    .T. S. Eliot and Prejudice. (1988).
  • Robinson, Ian "The English Prophets", The Brynmill Press Ltd (2001)
  • Ronnick, Michele Valerie, "Eliot's 'The Hollow Men'", The Explicator. Vol 56, Iss 2. (1998)
  • Schuchard, Ronald. Eliot's Dark Angel: Intersections of Life and Art. (1999).
  • Scofield, Dr. Martin, "T.S. Eliot: The Poems", Cambridge University Press. (1988).
  • Seferis, George. "Introduction to T. S. Eliot" in Modernism/modernity
    Modernism/modernity
    Modernism/modernity is a peer-reviewed academic journal founded in 1994 by Lawrence Rainey and Robert van Hallberg. Since 2001 it has been the official publication of the Modernist Studies Association and each September issue presents papers from their annual conference.The journal is...

    16:1 (http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/modernism-modernity/toc/mod.16.1.html January 2009), 146-60.
  • Seymour-Jones, Carole. Painted Shadow: A Life of Vivienne Eliot. (2001).
  • Sencourt, Robert. T. S. Eliot: A Memoir. (1971)
  • Spender, Stephen
    Stephen Spender
    Sir Stephen Harold Spender CBE was an English poet, novelist and essayist who concentrated on themes of social injustice and the class struggle in his work...

    . T. S. Eliot. (1975)
  • Sinha, Arun Kumar and Vikram, Kumar. T. S. Eliot: An Intensive Study of Selected Poems, Spectrum Books Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, (2005).
  • Spurr, Barry, Anglo-Catholic in Religion: T. S. Eliot and Christianity, The Lutterworth Press (2009)
  • Weidmann, Dirk. And I Tiresias have foresuffered all: More Than Allusions to Ovid in T.S.Eliot's The Waste Land?. In: LITERATURA 51 (3), 2009, pp.98-108.
  • Tate, Allen
    Allen Tate
    John Orley Allen Tate was an American poet, essayist, social commentator, and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1943 to 1944.-Life:...

    , editor. T. S. Eliot: The Man and His Work, First published in 1966 - republished by Penguin 1971.

External links

Biography


Works


Websites


Archives

  • Search for T.S. Eliot at Harvard University
    Harvard University
    Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

  • T. S. Eliot Collection at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin
    University of Texas at Austin
    The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

  • T. S. Eliot Collection at Merton College, Oxford University
  • T.S. Eliot collection at University of Victoria, Special Collections

Miscellaneous

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