PGT TGT NET English Literature Notes and PDFs on T.S Eliot
T.S Eliot And Important Points
- Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri in Midwestern America on 26th September, 1888. He was a famous poet, playwright and critic.
- His father was Henry Ware Eliot, a successful businessman and his mother Charlotte Stern was a social worker and poetry writer.
- From 1898 to 1905, Eliot attended Smith Academy where his studies included Latin, Ancient Greek,
French and German.
- He began to write poetry when he was 14, under the influence of Edward Fitzgerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.
- His first published poem “A Table for Feasters” was written as school exercise and was published in Smith
Academy Record in February 1905.
- He was awarded a scholarship to Merton College, Oxford, in 1914.
- On 29th June 1927, Eliot converted to Anglicanism from Unitarianism and in November that year he took
British Citizenship. (Actually he moved to Britain in 1914 when he was 25 but got citizenship in 1927).
- With the outbreak of First World War, he went to England and continued his studies at Oxford.
- Eliot was very shy and introvert, that’s why he joined boxing classes.
- He completed his doctoral thesis on the philosophy of E. H. Bradley from the University of Harvard but he did not take a degree from Harvard.
- In 1914 he met Ezra Pound, who became his literary mentor, she got his poems published and aided him in receiving critical acclaim.
- Eliot’s first major poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” was published at Pound’s insistence in
Poetry, A Magazine of Verse after Pound persuaded the magazine editor Harriet Monroe.
- The poem was published in 1917 in his collection of poetry – Prufrock and other Observations.
- Eliot married Vivienne Haigh Wood, an English girl, and settled in London in 1915.
- From 1917 to 1919 he worked as literary editor of “The Egoist” (It was a feminist magazine).
- In 1923 he became editor of “The Criterion” (he was also founder of this journal).
- In 1925, he became the director of The British Order of Merit and The Noble Prize for Literature in 1948.
- In 1947 his wife died.
- In 1957, he married his private secretary Miss Valerie Fischer, and remained married until his death on 4th January 1965.
- Eliot died on 4th Jan 1965 in London and was buried in the village of East Coker in Somerset.
- First published collection of poetry – Prufrock and Other Observations (in 1917), the title of this song
comes from Rudyard Kipling’s poem – The Love Song of Har Dayal.
- Although the title of this poem refers it as “Love Song” but actually it is anti-romantic in tone reflecting
Prufrock’s failure as a lover.
- Eliot’s next major work 434 lines modernist landmark poem is “The Wasteland”. It was first published in
“The Criterion” and dedicated the poem to Ezra Pound and referred to him as “il miglior fabro” or “the
- The Wasteland reflects Eliot’s disillusionment with the moral and spiritual decay in Post-World War
- He was also a notable modern critic known for his essays:
- Tradition and the Individual Talent .
- Hamlet and His Problems .
- Both published in 1920. His essay collected in “The Sacred Wood” (It marked the beginning of ‘New Criticism’).
- In Tradition and Individual Talent Eliot defined poetry as “Not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; not the expression of personality but an escape from personality”.
- Eliot’s plays Murder in the Cathedral (1935), The Family Re-Union (1934), The Cocktail party (1949),
The Confidential Clerk (1954) and The Elder Statesman (1959) were published in one volume in 1962.
- In 1948, Eliot was awarded Nobel Prize in Literature for his pioneer contribution to poetry.
- In Tradition and the Individual Talent, Eliot describes poets mind is like a catalytic agent .
- Eliot said Shakespeare’s Hamlet as “Mona Lisa of Literature”.
- He coined the term “Objective – Correlative” and “Dissociation of Sensibility”.
- The “Dissociation of Sensibility” was coined in his essay “The Metaphysical Poets”.
- “Objective – Correlative” was coined in “Hamlet and His Problems”.
- T. S. Eliot was greatly influenced by French Symbolists.
- Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi” talks about the Persian king who visited Christ.
- Eliot’s “Whispers of Immortality” contrasts the unified sensibility of Webster and Donne with
contemporary dissociation of the intellect and the senses.
- In his essay “Metaphysical Poets”, T.S. Eliot said – “Thought to Donne was an experience. It modified his
The Wasteland (1922)
Important point on The Waste Land
- It is a most important poem of T.S. Eliot The cinematographic technique was used in this poem.
- The Greek and Latin epigraph of The Waste Land is taken from Gaius Petronius’ The Satyricon.
- It was published in 1922 as a 433 line poem and written in Free Verse.
- The poem first appeared in UK in October issue of “The Criterion” and in United States in the
November issue of “The Dial”.
- It was published in book form in December, 1922.
- Allen Tate called this poem “a music of ideas”.
- It includes the famous phrases as:
“April is the cruelest month”
“I will show you fear in a handful of dust”
“Shantih, Shantih, Shantih”
- The poem follows the legend of the Holy Grail and the Fisher King combined with vignettes of
contemporary British society.
- The poem is divided in five sections:
1. The Burial of The Dead
2. A Game of Chess
- 3. The Fire Sermon
- 4. Death by Water 5. What the Thunder Said
- Weston and Frazer influenced him to write this poem.