T. S. Eliot


'in my beginning is my end....in my end is my beginning'


Thomas Stearns Eliot is buried in the Parish Church of St. Michael, East Coker, Somerset, England. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium and his ashes were interred below his memorial plaque on Easter Sunday 1965.

Wall Plaque

Eliot's ancestors originated from East Coker before  emigrating to America in the 17th century. East Coker is also the title of the second of the long poems that make up The Four Quartets.

In 1914 Eliot met Ezra Pound who encouraged him to settle in England. Eliot eventually became a British citizen in 1927.

Eliot's poem The Waste Land (which was edited by Pound) proved to be hugely influential and established him as the pre-eminent of the modernist poets.  His other famous works include: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Portrait of a Lady, The Hollow Men,  and Ash Wednesday.

Eliot was also a major critic, whose work influenced the likes of F. R. Leavis. As director of Faber and Faber, Eliot was also responsible for signing up such poets as Auden, Spender and George Barker.

The last eight years of Eliot's life were perhaps the happiest as a result of his marriage to Valerie Fletcher in 1957. (Valerie had been his secretary at Faber and Faber.) She was thirty years old and he was sixty eight. His first marriage to Vivien Haigh-Wood ended unhappily due to her mental instability. Vivien was eventually committed to a psychiatric hospital.

Eliot won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948.

There is also a commemorative stone in 'Poets' Corner', Westminster Abbey, London.

See also modernism, objective correlative and 'Poets on Poetry'.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

From The Waste Land - The Burial of the Dead

Commemorative Stone
Photograph by Mike Reed






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