T. S. Eliot. 1888-1965. presentation by Bethany Jones. Background. Thomas Stearns Eliot was born to a prominent family in St. Louis, Missouri. “having passed one’s childhood beside the big river” influenced his poetry. He earned his master’s degree at Harvard. eliot’s work.
presentation by Bethany Jones
1917 Prufrock and Other Observations
1922 The Waste Land
1925 Poems 1909-1925
1963 Collected Poems 1909-1962
Eliot himself says he is in debt to Sir James Frazer and Jessie L. Weston for their book From Ritual to Romance, a story of the Grail legend as the surviving record of an initiation ritual.
Other literary critics have suggest theories as to who the narrator is. In some parts of the poem, the narrator identifies himself as Tiresias, a blind prophet in Greek myth [prominent in the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles]. Some of the references in the poem lead others to say that Eliot is speaking through Ulysses, the Latin equivalent of the Greek Odysseus.
Eliot’s The Waste Land is an exploration of post-World War I life as a desert, a hopeless world to be ventured through. Even in discussing spring and new life, he refers to a rude awakening:
April is the cruelest 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.
[death, rebirth, afterlife]
T.S. Eliot won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. He died in 1965 and his ashes were interred in East Coker. His chosen epitaph reads, ‘In my beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning.’
He continues to inspire and intrigue audiences to this day.