Ackroyd, Peter. T. S. Eliot: A Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984. The first comprehensive biography based on Eliot’s published and unpublished writing as well as on extensive interviews with his friends and associates. Ackroyd has been praised in several reviews for his handling of both Eliot’s life and work, especially the poet’s disastrous first marriage and The Waste Land.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Murder in the Cathedral. New York: Chelsea House, 1988. A collection of the most significant articles, by a variety of critics, on one of Eliot’s most famous plays. Some of the articles tend toward obscurity, but most are helpful in placing the play in the larger context of poetic drama. Includes a helpful introduction by Bloom and a bibliography.
Browne, Elliott Martin. The Making of T. S. Eliot’s Plays. London: Cambridge University Press, 1969. The most exhaustive textual study of Eliot’s plays available, this book analyzes the early typescript and manuscript versions of Eliot’s dramas, identifying and commenting on all major changes. Browne attempts to reconstruct Eliot’s writing process, and so any reader interested in that aspect of Eliot’s art might begin here.
Childs, Donald J. From Philosophy to Poetry: T. S. Eliot’s Study of Knowledge and Experience. London: Athalone Press, 2001. Childs analyzes Eliot’s literary works with emphasis on how he expressed his philosophy through his poetry. Bibliography and index.
Davidson, Harriet, ed. T. S. Eliot. New York: Longman, 1999. A collection of literary criticism regarding Eliot and his works. Bibliography and index.
Donoghue, Denis. Words Alone: The Poet, T. S. Eliot. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000. A wide-ranging critical examination in the form of an intellectual memoir, and an illuminating account of Donoghue’s engagement with the works of Eliot. Includes bibliographical references and index.
Eliot, Valerie, ed. The Letters of T. S. Eliot, 1898-1922. Vol. 1. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988. Includes all the poet’s significant extant correspondence up to the age of thirty-four. An important addition to the biographical and critical literature on Eliot, none of which had access to this complete collection of letters. His correspondence contains drafts of poems and reveals both his extremely correct and whimsical sides.
Gordon, Lyndall. Eliot’s Early Years. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977. Reviewed by Richard Ellmann and other important critics as the most thorough treatment of Eliot’s early career, Gordon’s study is a superb meld of biography and criticism, drawing upon unpublished diaries, letters, and poems by the poet’s mother. Should be read in conjunction with Peter Ackroyd’s equally important biography.
Gordon, Lyndall. Eliot’s New Life. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1988. A continuation of Gordon’s biography of the early years, concentrating on the religious phase of the poet’s life, his separation from his first wife, his friendships with two other women, and his marriage to Valerie Fletcher in 1957. Gordon is equally sound on Eliot’s later poetry, especially on the development of Four Quartets.
Gordon, Lyndall. T. S. Eliot: An Imperfect Life. New York: Norton, 1999. In this exhaustive biography Gordon builds on the efforts from her first two books covering Eliot’s early years. She assiduously tracked down Eliot’s correspondence and manuscripts to address the issue of Eliot’s anti-Semitism and misogyny. Gordon reinforces her thesis that Eliot’s poetic output should be interpreted as a coherent spiritual biography.
Habib, Rafey. The Early T. S. Eliot and Western Philosophy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. A look at the philosophical beliefs held by Eliot and how they found their way into his literary works. Bibliography and index.
Litz, A. Walton, ed. Eliot in His Time: Essays on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of “The Waste Land.” Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1973. Eight essays by eminent poets and scholars on the development, the achievement, and the impact of Eliot’s great poem. Each essay assesses Eliot’s place in literary history and examines not only his published poetry but also the facsimile publication of Eliot’s manuscripts of The Waste Land.
Malamud, Randy. T. S. Eliot’s Drama: A Research and Production Sourcebook. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992. A close look at the production of Eliot’s dramatic works. Bibliography and indexes.
Malamud, Randy. Where the Words Are Valid: T. S. Eliot’s Communities of Drama. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994. A critical analysis and interpretation of Eliot’s plays. Bibliography and index.
Moody, A. David, ed. The Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994. A comprehensive reference work dedicated to Eliot’s life, work, and times. Bibliography and index.
Schuchard, Ronald. Eliot’s Dark Angel: Intersections of Life and Art. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. A critical study demonstrating how Eliot’s personal voice works through the sordid, the bawdy, the blasphemous, and the horrific to create a unique moral world. Schuchard works against conventional attitudes toward Eliot’s intellectual and spiritual development by showing how early and consistently his classical and religious sensibility manifests itself in his poetry and criticism.