Poet Thomas Eliot: Biography, Creativity
Thomas Stearns Eliot is an American poet fromMissouri (St. Louis). In 1922 he published his famous poem "The Bad Land." This work by Ezra Pound, his mentor and friend, called the longest written English poem. And in 1948, T. Eliot received the Nobel Prize.
The origin of the poet
Thomas Stearns Eliot was born into a large family. He was the youngest child. Among the ancestors of the poet on the paternal line was the Reverend W. G. Eliot, who founded the University of Washington in St. Louis. From the maternal side of the ancestors of Eliot is known Isaac Stearns, who was one of the first to move to Massachusetts.
Henry W. Eliot, Thomas's father, was wealthyan industrialist, and Charlotte Sterns, his mother, is a literary and gifted woman and well educated. She created a drama in verse, as well as a biography of W. G. Eliot.
Period of study, early work
Thomas began to write poetry at the age of fourteen. His early work was marked by the influence of the works of Omar Khayyam. Like all avant-garde poets, young Thomas was a rebel, critical of the contemporary world. However, later the main problem of creativity of this author was the crisis of the spirit. Thomas was interested in the catastrophic processes that drive the life of society. Her tragedy was transmitted by the poet with astonishing force.
At the end of a private school located inSt. Louis, Thomas continued his studies at a private Massachusetts college. A year later, in 1906, he was enrolled at Harvard University. An outstanding, talented student graduated from the university course in three years. In the fourth year he received a master's degree.
By this time, writing poemsin the "Harward Advocaet", the editor of which Eliot was from 1909 to 1910. After that, he went to Paris, where he attended lectures at the Sorbonne. Eliot met with French literature, with poets-symbolists. Symbolism interested him in Harvard. Thomas Eliot read Jules Laforgue, the author who relates to this trend. He was also attracted by the book "The Movement of Symbolism in Literature" by A. Simons. She strongly influenced the development of Eliot as a poet.
The decision to dedicate your life to literature
Returning to Harvard in 1911, Thomasbegan to write a dissertation on FG Bradley, the English idealist philosopher. He also studied Buddhism and Sanskrit. According to the Sheldon Scholarship, Thomas Eliot went to Germany and England. In Oxford, Merton College, where he taught Bradley, he studied philosophy. After much hesitation and hesitation, Eliot decided to dedicate his life to literature, so he did not return to defend the thesis at Harvard. Thomas stayed in London, where he wrote poetry. Some of them, with the assistance of Wyndham Lewis and Ezra Pound, were published in 1915.
Eliot had to earn a living,engaged in about a year of teaching, after which he served in the bank "Lloyd" clerk. In 1925, the poet began working at Faber and Guyer, first as a literary editor of this publishing house, and then as one of the directors of the company.
Thomas Eliot married in 1915. His chosen one was Vivian Heywood. Despite the fact that the marriage was unhappy, the couple lived together for nineteen years. Vivien after the divorce was in a psychiatric hospital. Here she died in 1947.
Work in the journal, new works
In the period from 1917 to 1919 Thomas worked in the journal "Egoist" as deputy editor-in-chief. His early poems began to appear in a number of periodicals, including E. Pound's "Catholic Anthology." Here his works were published in 1915. In the Hogarth Press, Leonard and Virginia Woolf placed two new collections of poetry by Thomas - "Proofrock and Other Observations" (1917) and "Poems" (1919). These works created under the influence of Laforgue are marked by a stamp of frustration in reality.
The first significant poem by Thomas Eliot was"Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." It depicts an obliging, ornate, respectful, well-intentioned hero who is simultaneously tongue-tied and indecisive, especially with women. This work was an important milestone in the poetry of the 20th century. Many critics wrote about the meaning of the poem, and J. Berryman, an American poet, believed that it was with her that modern poetry began.
T. Eliot is a critic
Together with the growth of the popularity of Thomas EliotThe poet was confirmed and his reputation as a literary critic. Since 1919, Thomas is a regular author of the literary supplement to the Times (Times Literary Supplement). Here appeared his series of articles devoted to the Jacobin and Elizabethan drama. Together with others, they were included in the collection of works by Thomas Eliot "The Holy Forest" (1920). In critical articles on Dante, Shakespeare, Marlo, Dryden, George Herbert, John Donne, Andrew Marvelle, the author tried to return the poet to life, which, in his opinion, is an enduring and great task of criticism. Many views of Eliot later reflected in the "Kreterion", a fairly popular critical journal, which was published four times a year between 1922 and 1939.
In 1922, Thomas Eliot published his famouspoem. As we have already noted, it was named the longest among poems created in English. Ezra Pound alludes to his hyperbole (after all the work consists of only 434 lines) on the abundance of allusions and poetic concentration in this poem. By the way, Pound participated in the editing of the work. He reduced the final version of the poem by about a third.
Many well-known critics believe that the mostThe best work that Thomas Eliot created was "The Bad Land." She influenced the further development of poetry. The work consists of 5 parts. They are united by themes of erosion of values and infertility. The poem, which reflected the disappointments and doubts of the postwar period, expressed the mood of a whole era.
Baptism and British citizenship
TS Eliot in 1927 made a baptism in the Anglican church. Then he was granted British citizenship. Thomas Eliot, whose poems were already popular then, in the preface to his collection of essays entitled "In defense of Lancelot Andrews" calls himself a classicist in literature, an Anglican in religion and a royalist in politics. Thomas was still keenly interested in English culture as a student. Classmates even called him a joke Englishman in everything, except for citizenship and accent. Thus, British citizenship met his aspirations. However, the transfer of Eliot to the Anglican Church was a departure from the traditions of Unitarianism adopted in his family, despite the fact that he satisfied his need for clear and strict moral attitudes (Thomas was a Puritan by birth).
In Eliot's poem "Ash Wednesday" (1930)reflected the emotional torment that marked his conversion. During this period of mental and intellectual disagreement Thomas translated the poem "Anabasis" Saint-Jean-Francois (in 1930). This work is a kind of spiritual history of all mankind.
Plays of Eliot
In the 1930s, Thomas wrote poetry dramas"Murder in the Cathedral" (1935) and "Stone" (1934). These works were created for religious performances. The first of these is a philosophical moral. His theme is the suffering of St. T. Beckett. The poem is considered the best play by Thomas Eliot. With great success, she went to theaters in the US and Europe.
Eliot's plays on modern life, such as"Family Reunion, Evening Cocktail", "Personal Secretary" and "Elderly statesman" (1939, 1950, 1954 and 1959 respectively) are considered less significant, Thomas did not succeed in filling the theme of the ancient tragedy with modern content. "However," Evening Cocktail "at one time had great success in theaters located on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Poems of the 1940s and the Nobel Prize
In the 1940s, Thomas wrote such poems as "EastCocker "(in 1940)," Bernt Norton "," Dry Salvage "(all in 1941), Little Gidding (in 1942) and Four Quartets (in 1943.) Many critics recognize these works the most mature in the work of Eliot, each of them is a reflection, inspired by landscapes, in which the author interweaves judgments about time, history, the nature of language, personal memories.
Eliot Thomas, whose books were recognized in allworld, received the Nobel Prize in 1948. Anders Essterling, one of the members of the Swedish Academy, stressed in his speech that Thomas's poems have the property "with the sharpness of a diamond" to crash into the consciousness of the modern generation.
The second marriage and death of the poet
In 1957, married to E. V. Fletcher Thomas Eliot. His biography ends in 1965, when he died, having lived to 76 years. T. Eliot is buried in East Cocker.
Reasons for the popularity of Eliot
Why is the work of Thomas Eliot so farinterested in many? The reasons are varied. The main one is that this author has become the largest innovator of poetic creativity. Poems in English T. Eliot translated Jimenez, Montale and Seferis. By 1969, Thomas's works were translated into main European languages, as well as into Chinese, Japanese, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, etc. And nowadays any book published in America or England devoted to modern poetry usually begins with the thesis about the importance of Thomas Eliot, the great contribution he made to the development of verbal creativity.
The complexity of the perception of Eliot's creativity
It is not easy to understand poems in this author's English,as well as translation of his works. The fact is that Eliot is an elitist poet. His works are not just an absolutely new thing in world poetry. In his work, Thomas did not stumble on the spot. He constantly turned to the solution of more and more art problems.
Intentional elitism, avant-gardecharacter of the creativity of this author lead to the fact that his works are not easy to perceive. The first difficulty lies in a complex philosophy. The author occupies the fundamental questions of human existence. Eliot turns in his work to the newest aesthetic and philosophical concepts. He does not just carry out their artistic illustration. The poet himself is trying to find solutions to various problems.
The second difficulty is that a special role inhis creativity is played by echoes, omissions, hints, etc. This allows the poet to confront in his works the culture of different peoples and times, not just to reflect modern ideas about the world, but also to indicate their connection with other cultural phenomena, with the past. Therefore, the editions of the works of this author are usually given detailed comments.
The third feature of Eliot's creativity, whichcomplicates his understanding, is the great significance that the poet gives to form. For example, the work "Four Quartets" has a clear melodic scheme, which was suggested to Eliot by his understanding of Beethoven (more precisely, his later quartets).
It would be possible to speak about peculiarities for a long timeworks of Eliot. However, in one article it is impossible to cover this significant and extremely original phenomenon of art. It is of fundamental importance that for Thomas Eliot the complexity was not an end in itself. It was a reflection of the diversity and unconventionality of the poetic problems that he posed and solved.
The book about cats
But not always T. Eliot is so complex, not always his work is elitist. This may have been somewhat unexpected, but pets were also interested in such a poet as Thomas Eliot. Cats became the main heroes of his famous collection of poems, published in 1939 ("The Popular Science of Cats ..."). The works included in it were created in the 1930s. They are written for the godchildren of Thomas Eliot.
At the present time this collection is, perhaps,the most famous book in the world about cats. Every lover of these animals knows it. A large part of the fame was brought to the collection by the musical "Cats" by E. L. Webber, based on his motives.