Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888 – 1965), better known as T. S. Eliot, was a highly acclaimed American-born poet and playwright who spent much of his life in England, becoming a British citizen in 1927.
A brown plaque commemorating T. S. Eliot’s association with the publishing company Faber & Faber can be seen at 24 Russell Square (the north-west corner), Bloomsbury WC1 (see map below).
Eliot worked for Faber & Faber as a literary editor, eventually becoming its managing director. He also founded and edited the literary journal Criterion. Previous jobs included bank clerk and school master.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock was the poem that first put T. S. Eliot on the cultural map in 1915. The Wasteland, published in 1922, established Eliot as one of the most important poets of the 20th century. In 1948, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar kine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
(The first stanza of The Wasteland by T. S. Eliot, 1922)
(Image courtesy of BBC)
T. S. Eliot’s ashes were placed in St Michael & All Angels church in East Coker, Somerset.
To hear a discussion on Eliot’s The Wasteland on the BBC’s In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, click here.
Photos by Sven Klinge
(please credit photographer & website when using these photos)
- Discovering Modernism: T. S. Eliot and His Context by Louis Menand
- Complete Poems and Plays of T. S. Eliot by T. S. Eliot
- T. S. Eliot (Lives and Legacies) by Craig Raine