T. S. Eliot (1888–1965)
Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 26, 1888. He attended Harvard, the Sorbonne and Oxford, studying philosophy and writing a dissertation on the logician F. H. Bradley. While in college, Eliot began writing poetry, but in 1908 he discovered French Symbolist poetry and his whole attitude toward literature changed. Ezra Pound read some of Eliot’s poetry in the 1910s and immediately decided that Eliot would be a member of his own literary circle. Pound advocated for Eliot with Harriet Monroe of Poetry magazine and got Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” published in that journal in 1915. Eliot had settled in London at the same time, and married the emotionally unstable Vivian Haigh-Wood. Eliot struggled to make a living, working as a teacher and later at Lloyd’s Bank until 1925.
In 1922 Eliot broke through with his brilliant and successful poem “The Waste Land, ” although the manuscript of the poem demonstrates that Ezra Pound played a large role in the editing of the poem. “The Waste Land” brought Eliot fame and a place at the center of the burgeoning modernist movement. For the rest of the 1920s and 1930s, Eliot used his fame and his position as editor of a prominent literary journal (The Criterion) and as managing editor of the publishing house Faber & Faber to argue for a new standard of evaluating literature. In critical essays and...
(The entire section is 1605 words.)
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