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Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965)

The best known and most influential personality of poetic Modernism and one of the greatest English poets of the 20th century, T.S. Eliot was born in St Lou Missouri, in 1888. He studied at Harvard, Paris and Oxford universities, thus giving a cosmopolitan bent to his education. In 1915 he decided to settle in London where he worked for Lloyd's Bank in the City. His first volume of verse Prufrock and Other Observations, appeared in 1917. It contains a satirical portrait of the emptiness and pessimism which characterized life in those years. Family and financial difficulties, his own nervous instability and awareness of the emotional and spiritual sterility of his time led Eliot to the edge of a nervous breakdown, and he had to take a long holiday, first on the south coast of England and then in Lausanne in Switzerland. It was in this period that he finished The Waste Land. The poem was edited and reduced to greater intensity by Ezra Pound, to whom it is dedicated, and came out in 1922 In 1927 T.S. Eliot took British citizenship and was confirmed in the Church of England. In the same year he wrote Journey of the Magi, a poem about his own spiritual journey from agnosticism to religious faith. With the poem Ash Wednesday (1930) a new phase began in his development: though the old attitude remains, he finds hope in religious belief and in the stabilizing influence of the Christian religion Eliot's principles on the social function of poetry naturally led him to drama. In 1933 he wrote a modern miracle play, Murder in the Cathedral, based on the well-known conflict between Henry Il and Thomas Becket This play is notable for the moving speeches of the Chorus in the traditional Greek manner of which is built on a musical pattern. In 1943 wrote Four Quartets, a group of four poems each he structure of the four poems is the same: the themes are developed . Through images of s, the collective past of mankind and the significance of T.S. Eliot had by this time become internationally acclaimed, and in 1948 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature He wrote The Cocktail Party in 1949, The Confidential Clerk in 1953, and The Elder Statesman in 1958 In these plays he used a conversational style, abolishing such devices as the use of the chorus and the lyrical passages, which had characterized his earlier productions With the poet and the dramatist, it is worth remembering the critic. Eliot left several essays, which greatly contributed to defining the modern age and the role of culture. The first of his critical books, The Sacred Wood came out in 1920. The Selected Essays (1932) can be considered the best of his prose works and one of the most influential books of criticism of the 20th century T.S. Eliot died in London in 1965.
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