T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

One of the greatest poets of the 20th century

Captured mood of post-war era




Early Life

Born in St. Louis

Father - brick-manufacturing firm

Mother - fostered interest in literature


1910 - Graduated from Harvard

1914 - MA from Harvard in Sanskrit and philosophy

Married Life & Beyond

Lived in England for 18 years

wrote poetry, plays, was a critic & theorist on poetry

Married Vivienne Haigh-Wood in 1915

Living in England

Worked as a Bank Clerk in London 1918-24

1927 - Takes British Citizenship

yet at heart, he is still American

said poetry’s: "sources, [and] emotional springs, come from U.S."

Literary Influences

While in England - met Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound

his theories have changed ideas about what poetry is


Ezra Pound


Eliot "modernized" himself -

well-read in Latin, Greek, French, German, Eastern philosophy

Three Main Influences

1) French symbolist poetry

reaction to realism

theme = individual mind & feelings

poet tries to find symbols to express emotional states

2) "Objective Correlative"

find formula of objects necessary to recreate an internal emotion

certain words & sounds in a particular order can & will trigger an emotional response

3) Stream of consciousness

not rational or logical, but psychological

words attempt to reflect how the mind works