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Thomas Stearns Eliot was born to a very remarkable New England family on September 26 1888 in St Louis Missouri His father Henry Ware was a very successful businessman and his mother Charlotte Stearns Eliot was a poetess While visiting Great Britain in 1915 World War I started and Eliot took up a permanent residency there In 1927 he became a British citizen While living in Britain Eliot met and married Vivienne Haigh-Wood At first everything was wonderful between them However Vivienne was very ill both physically and mentally In 1930 Vivienne had a mental breakdown and was confined to a mental hospital until her death in 1947 Her death was very hard on Eliot and he died on January 4 1965 Most of Eliots works were produced from the emotional difficulties from his marriage Because of Eliots economic status he attended only the finest schools while growing up He attended Smith Academy in St Louis and Milton Academy in Massachusetts In 1906 he started his freshman year at Harvard University studying philosophy and literature He received his bachelors degree in philosophy in only three years Eliot went on to study at the University of Oxford and also at the Sorbonne in Paris At the Sorbonne he found inspiration from writers such as Dante and Shakespeare and also from ancient literature modern philosophy and eastern mysticism Eliots first poem was The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock published in 1915 Eliot converted his religion to Anglo-Catholicism in 1927 and soon after his poetry took on new spiritual meaning Ash Wednesday was the first poem he created after his conversion composed in 1930 It is said that it traces the pattern of Eliots spiritual progress It strives to make connections between the earthly and the eternal the word of man and the Word of God and the emphasis is on the struggle toward belief thus presenting a link between God and Eliots version of the
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