Thomas Stearns Eliot OM (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965) was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and “one of the twentieth century’s major poets.” He was born in St. Louis, Missouri to an old Yankee family. However he emigrated to England in 1914 (at age 25) and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.
Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), which is seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930) and Four Quartets (1945).
He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry.”
As a poet, he transmuted his affinity for the English metaphysical poets of the 17th century (most notably John Donne) and the 19th century French symbolist poets (including Baudelaire and Laforgue) into radical innovations in poetic technique and subject matter. His poems in many respects articulated the disillusionment of a younger post-World-War-I generation with the values and conventions—both literary and social—of the Victorian era. As a critic also, he had an enormous impact on contemporary literary taste, propounding views that, after his conversion to orthodox Christianity in the late thirties, were increasingly based in social and religious conservatism.More info →