Who, what and where?

T.S. Eliot: The man behind The Waste Land


T.S. Eliot, Thomas Stearns Eliot, was an English poet, born in America in September 26th 1888. He was and is still considered to be, one of the most important and prolific English- language Poet in the 1900’s. Apart from being a poet, T.S. Eliot was also a playwright and literary critic. He was a Nobel Laureate and won the prize in 1948 for his services in English Literature.

He was born in St. Louis in Missouri and did much of his education in the east and at Harvard. He became a British citizen at the age of thirty nine. He studied philosophy at Sorbonne for a year and won a scholarship to study at Oxford in his early twenties.

His greatest works include,


Prufrock and Other Observations (1917),

The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1917),

Portrait of a Lady (1917),

Aunt Helen (1917),

Gerontion (1920)

Sweeney Among the Nightingales (1920)

The Hippopotamus (1920)

Whispers of Immortality (1920)

Mr. Eliot’s Sunday Morning Service (1920)

A Cooking Egg (1920)

The Waste Land (1922)

The Hollow Men (1925)

Ariel Poems (1927-1954)

The Journey of the Magi (1927)

Ash Wednesday (1930)

Coriolan (1931)

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939)

The Marching Song of the Pollicle Dogs and Billy M’Caw: The Remarkable Parrot (1939)

Four Quartets (1945)  


Sweeney Agonistes (1926, though performed for the first time in 1934)

The Rock (1934)

Murder in the Cathedral (1935)

The Family Reunion (1939)

The Cocktail Party (1949)

The Confidential Clerk (1953)

The Elder Statesman (performed for the first time in 1958 and published in 1959)


Christianity & Culture (1939, 1948)

The Second-Order Mind (1920)

Tradition and the Individual Talent

The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism (1920)

Hamlet and His Problems (1920)

Homage to John Dryden (1924)

Shakespeare and the Stoicism of Seneca (1928)

For Lancelot Andrewes (1928)

Dante (1929)

Selected Essays, 1917- 1932 (1932)

The Use of Poetry and The Use of Criticism (1933)

After Strange Gods (1934)

Elizabethan Essays (1934)

Essays Ancient and Modern (1936)

The Idea of a Christian Society (1939)

A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1941)

Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (1948)

Poetry and Drama (1951)

The Three Voices of Poetry (1954)

The Frontiers of Criticism (1956)

On Poetry and Poets (1957)

Posthumous Publications

To Criticize the Critic (1965)

The Waste Land: Facsimile Edition (1974)

Inventions of the March Hare: Poems 1909-1917 (1996)

Critical Editions:

Collected Poems, 1909-1962 (1963)

Old Possum’s book of Practical Cats, Illustrated Edition (1982)

Selected Prose of T.S. Eliot by Frank Kermode (1975)

The Waste Land (Norton Critical Editions) ed. By Michael North (2000)

Selected essays (1932); enlarged (1960)

The letters of T.S. Eliot, ed. Valerie Eliot, vol.1: 1898-1922 (1988)

The letters of T.S. Eliot, ed. Valerie Eliot, vol.2: 1923-1925 (2009)


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