All you need to know about poet and playwright TS Eliot

For a poet of his stature, he published very few poems

A poet, essayist, publisher, playwright, literary critic, and editor, Thomas Stearns Eliot is considered one of the 20th century’s major poets. During this period he exercised a strong influence on Anglo-American culture until late in the century. Eliot during his time also came to be recognized as a leader and central figure in English-language Modernist poetry movement with his works such as The Waste Land (1922) and Four Quartets (1943). It was his experiments in diction, style, and versification revitalized English poetry and shattering orthodoxies to create new ones that made him an influence.

The road to recognition
Aftershifting basefrom America to England, Eliot pursued the road to success. In London, Eliot came under the influence of his contemporary Ezra Pound, who recognized his poetic genius at once and went on to publish his work in a number of magazines. Among them are the most notable work are The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock in Poetry in 1915. And in 1917 his first book of poems, Prufrock and Other Observations was published that immediately established him as a leading poet.

By 1922 with the publication of The Waste Land – now among the single most influential poetic work of the 20th century – Eliot’s reputation grew manifold. And by 1930 for the next three decades, he continued to be the most dominant figure in poetry and literary criticism in the English-speaking world. Eliot’s proses are known to articulate the disillusionment of the younger World War I generation of the Victorian era. His major poetry collections from the later period include Ash Wednesday and Four Quartets; The Sacred Wood, The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism, After Strange Gods, and Notes Towards the Definition of Culture.

Not just poetry, Eliot was also an important playwright whose verse dramas include Murder in the Cathedral, The Family Reunion, and The Cocktail Party among many others. His plays began with Sweeney Agonistes that was published in 1926 and first performed in 1934, and his last was The Elder Statesman that was first performed in 1958.

His plays The Family Reunion and Murder in the Cathedral are Christian tragedies. In fact his Murder in the Cathedral is a play on the martyrdom of Thomas Becket and the most striking feature is the use of a chorus in the traditional Greek manner to make it apprehensible to common humanity the meaning of the heroic action.

Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry”.

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