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Eliot, T[homas] S[tearns] (1888–1965)

Subject Religion

People Eliot, T.S.

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631198963.2005.x


Anglo-American poet, playwright and critic. Born in St Louis, Missouri, he emigrated to England in 1914 and was naturalized in 1927. His education at Harvard, the Sorbonne and Merton College, Oxford, was followed by stints as a schoolteacher and with Lloyds Bank before his literary career developed, first as a critic and editor, and, increasingly, as a poet and playwright. Early works such as Prufrock (1917), Poems (1919) and The Waste Land (1922) reflect his period of agnosticism, when he was preoccupied with the alienation, fragmentation and rootlessness of modern society. His innovative style embodied his meaning through the use of fragment, rhythmic suggestion and allusion. From 1925 he moved towards Anglo-Catholicism, and his religious poems, principally Ash Wednesday (1930) and Four Quartets (1944), counterpoise modern style and concerns with a strong sense of tradition that includes the Christian mystics, Dante, the metaphysical poets and French symbolism. His plays, including Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Cocktail Party (1950), explore the relationship of the spiritual and the social/historical; his religious and social reflections are contained in The Idea of a Christian Society (1939) and Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (1948). 1958 : T.S. Eliot: A Symposium for his 70th birthday . London . 1984 : T.S. Eliot: A Study in Character ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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