Read his poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
Also known as: Thomas Stearns Eliot (full name); Charles Augustus Conybeare (pseudonym); Reverend Charles James Grimble (pseudonym); Gus Krutzch (pseudonym); Muriel A. Schwartz (pseudonym); J. A. D. Spence (pseudonym); Helen B. Trundlett (pseudonym)
Nationality: English American
Career: Poet, playwright, critic, essayist, banker, educator, and editor
Eliot was born in 1888 in St. Louis, Missouri, a member of a distinguished family that included Puritan ancestors who had been original settlers of Massachusetts. In 1906 Eliot entered Harvard University. He served on the staff of the Harvard Advocate, the university's literary journal, in which he first published parts of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." He completed his undergraduate studies in 1909 and his master's degree in English literature the following year. Over the next six years Eliot pursued graduate studies in philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, Marburg, and Oxford, completing his dissertation in 1916. During this time Eliot met Ezra Pound, who became his lifelong friend and an important literary influence. In 1915, while studying in England, Eliot met and later married an Englishwoman named Vivien Haigh-Wood. Their marriage has generally been characterized as unhappy, troubled by Vivien's neurotic illnesses and Eliot's sexual apprehensions. The couple settled in London, and Eliot began teaching at a boy's school while writing reviews for various periodicals and composing poetry. In 1917 Eliot left teaching and began working at Lloyd's Bank; however, he continued to follow his literary pursuits, publishing Prufrock and Other Observations in 1917 and becoming an assistant editor for the journal the Egoist. The combined strain of his failing marriage and the pressures from his banking and writing careers resulted in Eliot's emotional breakdown in 1921. He sought treatment at a sanitorium in Switzerland, where he completed The Waste Land in 1922. Returning to London, Eliot became the founding editor of a new literary journal, the Criterion, in which he published The Waste Land. The Criterion is now recognized as one of the most distinguished periodicals in the 20th century.
After having lived in England for over a decade, in 1927 Eliot became a British subject and a member of the Anglican Church. Five years later, he received a one-year appointment to the Charles Eliot Norton professorship at Harvard and subsequently lectured at major universities throughout the United States. Also during the 1930s Eliot began devoting much of his time to writing verse dramas. During World War II Eliot wrote his last major poetic works, East Coker (1940), Burnt Norton (1941), The Dry Salvages (1941), and Little Gidding (1942, together published as Four Quartets). Eliot experienced marked changes in his personal life beginning in 1947, when Vivien died after having spent several years in an institution. He subsequently met Valerie Fletcher, who became his secretary and later his wife, and with whom he enjoyed a stable and happy relationship for the rest of his life. In 1948 Eliot received both the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Order of Merit by George VI, both honors – along with his newfound popularity as a dramatist – augmenting his stature as a celebrated literary figure which he maintained until his death in 1965. Eliot's ashes are in repose at St. Michael's in East Coker.
Source: Exploring Poetry Gale.