Thomas Stearns (TS) Eliot was born in Saint Louis, Missouri on September 26, 1888. Eliot's poetry and critical works helped shape modern literature, and in 1948 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
Eliot received his education at Smith Academy (closed in 1917) in Saint Louis, at Milton Academy in Massachusetts, and at Harvard University, where he obtained a B.A. and M.A. in philosophy. After studying at the Sorbonne in Paris and at Oxford University, he settled in London in 1914.
Eliot worked first as a teacher, then as a clerk for Lloyd's Bank, while writing poetry in his spare time. In 1917, with the encouragement of his friend and mentor, American poet Ezra Pound, he published his first major poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. "Prufrock" revealed Eliot's early style, mixing humor and pessimism. The Waste Land (1922) expressed his horror at the spiritual turmoil of modern Europe. Eliot's Ash-Wednesday (1930) is more traditional, and with its religious emphasis, more hopeful than his previous work. Eliot also wrote several plays including Murder in the Cathedral, (1935), The Family Reunion (1939), The Cocktail Party (1950), The Confidential Clerk (1954), and The Elder Statesman (1958).
In 1922 Eliot founded, and for seventeen years, edited the literary journal, Criterion. He also served as director of London publisher, Faber & Faber, from 1925 until his death in 1965.
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