T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot dining with his sister and cousin. Photo by: National Portrait Gallery.

T.S. Eliot Life

Thomas Stearns Eliot, although widely known as T.S. Eliot, was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and not to mention one of the twentieth century’s major poets. He was born in

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot as an older man. You are missed T.S. Eliot, you are missed. Photo by: Lisa Levy.

St. Louis, Missouri to an old Yankee family on September 26, 1888. When he was 25, T.S. Eliot immigrated to England in 1914 to settle, work and eventually marry there.  Speaking of marriage, T.S. Eliot, at age 26 was introduced to Vivienne Haigh-Wood, who was a Cambridge governess. Almost a year later, the two married on June 26, 1915 at the Hampstead Register Office. At age 39, T.S. Eliot was eventually naturalized as a British subject in 1927, officially renouncing his American citizenship. By 1932, Eliot had given serious thought about separating from his wife. Vivienne was eventually committed to a mental hospital, and even though the couple was still married, he never visited her. At the age of 68, Eliot was re-married to a woman named Esmé Valerie Fletcher, who was 30. In both his marriages, T.S. Eliot never had any children and he died on January 4th, 1965.

T.S. Eliot Career

For a poet of Eliot’s status, he actually produced a small number of poems; but each one of his poems got enormous attention. Some of T.S. Eliot’s most famous include The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Wasteland, The Hollow Men, Ash-Wednesday and Four Quarters. To Eliot, Four Quarters was his masterpiece; Four Quarters was the piece that led to his winning of the Noble Prize in Literature. It consists of four long poems, each first published separately: Burnt Norton (1936), East Coker (1940), The Dry Salvages (1941) and Little Gidding (1942). Each has five sections. Although they resist easy characterization, each poem includes meditations 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.

 T.S. Eliot at Harvard

T.S. Eliot studied philosophy at Harvard College from 1906 to 1909, earning his bachelor’s degree after three years, instead of the usual four. The Harvard Advocate published some of his poems and he became lifelong friends with Conrad Aiken, the American novelist. After working as a philosophy assistant at Harvard from 1909 to 1910, Eliot moved to Paris, where from 1910 to 1911, he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne.