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Thomas Stearns Eliot Modernist Anglo - American poet dramatist literary critic 1888 - 1965 He was born in St Louis in 1888 to a family with prominent New England roots He studied at Harvard in 1906 was accepted into the literary circles where he favoured 16th- and 17th-century poetry the Italian Renaissance particularly Dante Eastern religion and philosophy The greatest influence on him was the 19th-century French Symbolists such as Charles Baudelaire Arthur Rimbaud Stephene Mallarme and Eliots favourite Jules Laforgue From 1911 he studied at the Sorbonne and in Oxford in 1914 he established residence in London and in 1927 became a British citizen After working as a teacher and a bank clerk he began a publishing career he was assistant editor of the Egoist 1917-19 and edited his own quarterly the Criterion 1922-39 In 1925 he was employed by the publishing house of Faber and Faber eventually becoming one of its directors In 1915 he married British writer Vivienne Haigh-Wood they would divorce in 1933 a woman prone to poor physical and mental health and in November of 1921 Eliot had a nervous breakdown By this time Eliot had already achieved great success in 1917 with his first book of poems Prufrock and Other Observations Eliot gained the admiration and aid of a contemporary poet Ezra Pound the other tower of Modernist poetry During Eliots recovery from his breakdown in a Swiss sanatorium he wrote The Waste Land A couple of months later he gave Pound the manuscript in Paris Thanks to Pounds heavy editing as well as suggestions The Waste Land were published in 1922 defined Modernist poetry and became possibly the most influential poem of the century The Waste Land Devoid of a single speakers voice the poem ceaselessly shifts its tone form languages numerous allusive voices from Eliots poetic repertoire Dante shares the stage with nonsense sounds This style best represented the fragmentation of
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