T. S. Eliot

Thomas Sterns Eliot was born September 26, 1888, in St. Louis, Missouri, where he lived during his entire childhood.  He attended and graduated from Harvard after only three years, and subsequently, moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. Eventually he moved to England, where he became a British Citizen and married Vivienne Haigh-Wood.  Eliot was heavily influenced by contemporary Ezra Pound, an admirer of his work and an ally in publishing his poetry.  “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” was featured in Poems in 1915, and two years later, Prufrock and Other Observations was published, establishing Eliot as a forward-thinker of the modernist movement.  The Wasteland followed in 1922, and is considered one of the most important poetic works of the twentieth century.

Over the next three decades, Eliot continued to write extensively, publishing poetry, prose, and dramas.   His later well-known poems include “The Hollow Men,” “Ash Wednesday,” and “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” the latter of which was adapted to a Broadway musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and garnered Eliot two Tony awards for its poetry. Eliot also proved a skilled playwright, with some of his more famous dramas being Murder in the Cathedral, The Family Reunion, and The Cocktail Party, which also won a Tony for the best play of 1950.  Eliot was awarded several other honors for his writing, most notably, a Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1948.  His stature as writer also led to his success as a literary critic and director of the publishing house Faber & Faber.  Eliot died January 4, 1965.