April 1, 2016

T.S. Eliot

American born English poet, literary critic and playwright of the 20th century.


  • Full Name: T.S. Eliot
    T.S. Eliot
  • Birth Name: Thomas Stearns Eliot
  • Nickname: Tom
  • AKA: Thomas Eliot
  • Date of Birth: September 26, 1888
  • Place of Birth: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
  • Zodiac Sign: Libra
  • Physique: Slender
  • Height: 5 in 1 ft
  • Eye Colour: NA
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Nationality: British (American by birth; British from 1927)
  • Death: January 4, 1965
  • Place of Death: London, England, United Kingdom
  • Epitaph: "In my beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning."
  • Cause of Death: Emphysema
  • Place of Burial: Cremated, St. Michael and All Angels Churchyard, East Coker, Somerset, England
  • Father: Henry Ware Eliot (1843-1919)
  • Mother: Charlotte Champe Stearns (1843-1929)
  • Siblings:
1. Sister: Ada Eliot (1869-1943)
2. Sister: Margaret Eliot (1871-1956)
3. Sister: Charlotte Eliot (1874-1926)
4. Sister: Marian Eliot (1877-1964)
5. Brother: Henry Eliot (1879-1947)
6. Sister: Theodora Sterling Eliot (1886-1886)
  • Spouse(s):
1. Wife: Vivienne Haigh-Wood (?-1947), married 1915-1947
2. Wife: Esmé Valerie Fletcher (b. 1926), married 1957-1965
  • Children: None
  • Alma Mater: Harvard University, Smith Academy, Merton College, The Sorbonne
  • Known for: his leadership in the modernist rejection of conventional poetic forms and pompous, artificial language
  • Criticized for: anti-Semitism
  • Influences: Dante Alghieri (1265-1321), John Donne (1572–1631), John Dryden (1631-1700), Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809–1892), Baudelaire ( 1821 –1867), Jules Laforgue (1860 –1887), Ezra Pound (1885–1972)
  • Influenced: James Joyce (1882 –1941), Virginia Woolf (1882–1941), Allen Tate (1899 –1979), Hart Crane (1899 –1932), George Seferis (1900 –1971), Seán Ó Ríordáin (1916 –1977), Máirtín Ó Díreáin (1916 –1977), Russell Kirk (1918–1994), William Gaddis (1922 –1998), Ted Hughes (1930 –1998), Kamau Brathwaite (1930), Geoffrey Hill (1932), Seamus Heaney (1939 –2013)


  • Order of Merit (1948)
  • Nobel Prize in Literature (1948)
  • Officier de la Legion d'Honneur (1951)
  • Hanseatic Goethe Prize (Hamburg, 1955)
  • Dante Medal (Florence, 1959)
  • Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1960)
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964)
  • Thirteen honorary doctorates (including Oxford, Cambridge, the Sorbonne, and Harvard)
  • Tony Award 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
  • Eliot College of the University of Kent, England, named after him
  • Celebrated on commemorative postage stamps
  • A star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame


“It involves, in the first place, the historical sense, which we may call nearly indispensable to anyone who would continue to be a poet beyond his twenty-fifth year; and the historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence; the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within it the whole of the literature of his own country has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order. This historical sense, which is a sense of the timeless as well as of the temporal and of the timeless and of the temporal together, is what makes a writer traditional. And it is at the same time what makes a writer most acutely conscious of his place in time, of his contemporaneity.

No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists.” T.S. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent

Major Themes

  • Religion
  • Isolation
  • Sex
  • Death & Resurrection
  • Anarchy and futility
  • Inhumanity
  • Decline of human values
  • Disillusionment, anxiety, frustration, despair, futility and  the fragmentation of material reality

Notable Works:

  • Collected Poems (1962)
  • The Complete Poems and Plays (1952)
  • Four Quartets (1943)
  • Burnt Norton (1941)
  • The Dry Salvages (1941)
  • East Coker (1940)
  • Ash Wednesday (1930)
  • Poems, 1909–1925 (1925)
  • The Waste Land (1922)
  • Poems (1919)
  • Prufrock and Other Observations (1917)
  • Religious Drama: Mediaeval and Modern (1954)
  • The Three Voices of Poetry (1954)
  • Poetry and Drama (1951)
  • Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (1949)
  • The Classics and The Man of Letters (1942)
  • The Idea of a Christian Society (1940)
  • Essays Ancient and Modern (1936)
  • Elizabethan Essays (1934)
  • The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism (1933)
  • After Strange Gods (1933)
  • John Dryden (1932)
  • Thoughts After Lambeth (1931)
  • Tradition and Experimentation in Present-Day Literature (1929)
  • Dante (1929)
  • For Lancelot Andrews (1928)
  • Andrew Marvell (1922)
  • The Sacred Wood (1920)
  • The Elder Statesman (1958)
  • The Confidential Clerk (1953)
  • The Cocktail Party (1950)
  • The Family Reunion (1939)
  • Murder in the Cathedral (1935)
  • The Rock (1934)
  • Sweeney Agonistes (1932)

 Did You Know?

  • Eliot was the last of six surviving children.
  • His parents were both 44 years old when Eliot was born.
  • His father, Henry Ware Eliot was a successful businessman.
  • His mother, Charlotte Champe Stearns was a social worker.
  • Eliot's first marriage to Vivienne Haigh-Wood was an unhappy one mostly due to her mental instability and poor health.
  • Vivienne was admitted  to the Northumberland House mental hospital for treatment in 1938. Although she remained there until her demise, Eliot never visited her.
  • It is assumed that he married Vivienne to gain residency in England
  • At the age of 68, Eliot married Esmé Valerie Fletcher, who was 38 years younger to him.
  • Fletcher was well-acquianted to Eliot since she served as his secretary at Faber and Faber since August 1949.
  • After Eliot's demise, Fletcher dedicated her time to preserving his legacy; she edited and annotated The Letters of T. S. Eliot.
  • Eliot was childless, he did not have children with either of his wives.
  • He took British citizenship in 1927.
  • Due to childhood health issues Eliot refrained from socializing, which in turn engendered his liking for literature.
  • He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.


T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot


" T.S. Eliot.” Wikipedia. 2016. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 21 March 2016
< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._S._Eliot>.

“T. S. Eliot” Microsoft Encarta. DVD-ROM. Redmond: Microsoft, 2005.

" T.S. Eliot.” Shmoop. 2016. Shmoop University. 21 March 2016
< http://www.shmoop.com/ts-eliot/>.

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