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T. S. Eliot entry: Overview screen.
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Overview
Writing
Life
Writing and Life
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T. S. Eliot, an American settled in England, was the dominant voice in English poetry during the first half of the twentieth century, as well as an immensely influential critic. His early experimental poems excel at catching an atmosphere or mood, often a moment of stasis and self-doubt. The Waste Land, a brilliant collage of fragments, has been seen to express the fears of a whole society about the threatened end of culture and amenity called civilization. After Eliot's conversion to Christianity his poetry moved to sombre investigations of the spiritual life: of time, fate, decision, guilt, and reconciliation. Meanwhile his criticism grappled with the the relation of past to present in terms of the contemporary relationship to tradition. T. S. Eliot also wrote lively comic verse, and in theatrical writing he moved on from pageant and historical religious drama to symbolic representation of spiritual issues through events in banal daily life.
Milestones
26 September 1888 Thomas Stearns Eliot, poet, playwright, and critic, was born at 2635 Locust Street, St Louis, Missouri, the youngest of seven children, separated by a gap of several years from his closest sibling. Bibliographic Citation link.
October 1922 TSE published his epoch-making poem "The Waste Land", without the later accompanying notes, in the first number of The Criterion, of which he was editor. Bibliographic Citation link.
15 December 1922 The Waste Land, TSE's highly allusive poem about the modern condition, first appeared as a separate publication, with its accompanying notes, in an edition by Boni and Liveright in New York. Bibliographic Citation link.
12 September 1923 Virginia and Leonard Woolf published the first English edition of TSE's The Waste Land at the Hogarth Press in Richmond. Bibliographic Citation link.
April 1936 Collected Poems by TSE appeared. Among its reprintings of historically significant pieces, the last-placed and most important new item was "Burnt Norton", which later became the first of his Four Quartets. Bibliographic Citation link.
Easter 1940 The Easter issue of the New English Weekly printed TSE's "East Coker" (later the second poem of his Four Quartets). Bibliographic Citation link.
27 February 1941 The third poem in the sequence which became TSE's Four Quartets, "The Dry Salvages", appeared in print. Bibliographic Citation link.
15 October 1942 The final instalment of TSE's Four Quartets, "Little Gidding", was added to the three earlier poems. Bibliographic Citation link.
11 May 1943 The first complete edition of TSE's Four Quartets, the poetic culmination of his spiritual vision, was published by Harcourt Brace in New York. Bibliographic Citation link.
4 January 1965 TSE, poet and critic, died at 3 Kensington Court Gardens in London of emphysema. Bibliographic Citation link.
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