About T.S. Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888–1965) was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and "one of the twentieth century's major poets." Born in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States, he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalized as a British subject in 1927. Eliot wrote some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), "The Hollow Men" (1925), "Ash Wednesday" (1930), and Four Quartets (1943). He was also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Cocktail Party (1949). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry."

“The Cultivation of Christmas Trees”

By |2020-12-07T15:33:15-06:00December 2nd, 2018|Categories: Christmas, Poetry, T.S. Eliot|

There are several attitudes towards Christmas, Some of which we may disregard: The social, the torpid, the patently commercial, The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight), And the childish — which is not that of the child For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel Spreading its wings at the summit [...]

“Eeldrop and Appleplex”

By |2017-07-18T22:55:58-05:00July 20th, 2017|Categories: Culture, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, T.S. Eliot|

The majority not only have no language to express anything save generalized man; they are for the most part unaware of themselves as anything but generalized men... I Eeldrop and Appleplex rented two small rooms in a disreputable part of town. Here they sometimes came at nightfall, here they sometimes slept, and after they had [...]

“Ash Wednesday”

By |2020-02-24T12:01:43-06:00March 1st, 2017|Categories: Ash Wednesday, Poetry, T.S. Eliot|

Because I do not hope to turn again Because I do not hope Because I do not hope to turn Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope I no longer strive to strive towards such things (Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?) Why should I mourn The vanished power of the usual [...]

“Portrait of a Lady”

By |2016-08-21T20:22:09-05:00August 21st, 2016|Categories: Poetry, T.S. Eliot, The Imaginative Conservative|

Thou hast committed — Fornication: but that was in another country, And besides, the wench is dead. (The Jew of Malta) I Among the smoke and fog of a December afternoon You have the scene arrange itself—as it will seem to do— With "I have saved this afternoon for you"; And four wax candles in [...]

Saving the World from Suicide

By |2016-02-12T21:51:21-06:00February 17th, 2016|Categories: Christianity, Quotation, T.S. Eliot|

The Universal Church is today, it seems to me, more definitely set against the World than at any time since Pagan Rome. I do not mean that our times are particularly corrupt; all times are corrupt. I mean that Christianity, in spite of certain local appearances, is not, and cannot be within measurable time, ‘official.’ [...]

Taking Idols into Their Hearts

By |2016-01-02T12:35:17-06:00January 6th, 2016|Categories: Christianity, Faith, Quotation, T.S. Eliot|

The number of people in possession of any criteria for discriminating between good and evil is very small; the number of the half-alive hungry for any form of spiritual experience, or what offers itself as spiritual experience, high or low, good or bad, is considerable. My own generation has not served them very well. Never [...]

Tradition and the Individual Talent

By |2019-09-24T14:26:35-05:00October 31st, 2013|Categories: Books, Poetry, T.S. Eliot, Tradition|

In English writing we seldom speak of tradition, though we occasionally apply its name in deploring its absence. We cannot refer to "the tradition" or to "a tradition"; at most, we employ the adjective in saying that the poetry of So-and-so is "traditional" or even "too traditional." Seldom, perhaps, does the word appear except in [...]

Use of Poetry: One Man’s Life

By |2015-12-11T15:25:55-06:00September 26th, 2012|Categories: Quotation, T.S. Eliot|

To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life. Few men have known better than he* how to give just place to the claims of the public and of the private life; few men have had better opportunity, few of those having the [...]

T. S. Eliot, Poetry and Propaganda

By |2016-11-26T09:52:14-06:00June 6th, 2012|Categories: Poetry, Quotation, T.S. Eliot|Tags: |

“First of all no art, and particularly and especially no literary art, can exist in a vacuum. We are , in in practice, creatures of divers interests, and in many of our ordinary interests there is not obvious coherence.” (598) “I do not suppose that there ever has been, or will be, a critic of [...]

Thoughts after Lambeth

By |2016-02-12T21:44:14-06:00May 27th, 2012|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Culture, T.S. Eliot|Tags: |

  I had the privilege of transcribing Eliot’s famous essay, “Thoughts on Lambeth.” Below is a significant part of the essay (roughly  2/3 of it). I have edited it only down in size; I’ve not made any other changes. This is some of Eliot’s most revealing writing, especially regarding The Waste Land as a personal journey not [...]

Last Words by T.S. Eliot

By |2014-01-22T17:46:00-06:00May 24th, 2012|Categories: Culture, T.S. Eliot|

With this number I terminate my editorship of The Criterion. I have been considering this decision for about two years: but I did not wish to come to a conclusion precipitately, because I knew that my retirement would bring The Criterion to an end. During the autumn, however, the prospect of war had involved me [...]

The Man of Letters and the Future of Europe

By |2016-12-21T21:29:05-06:00March 16th, 2012|Categories: Culture, T.S. Eliot|

I wish first to define the sense in which I shall use the term “man of letters.” I shall mean the writer for whom his writing is primarily an art, who is as much concerned with style as with content; the understanding of whose writings, therefore, depends as much upon appreciation of style as upon [...]

T.S. Eliot on Aristocracy

By |2016-10-15T18:49:57-05:00January 27th, 2012|Categories: Aristocracy, Conservatism, Quotation, T.S. Eliot|

TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES Sir.— The traditional use of the word [aristocracy] implies, I believe, an emphasis upon inheritance: not merely the inheritance of property, however important that may seem to some, but the inheritance, partly through biological trans­mission and partly through environment, of, other less tangible values. In other words, the unit [...]

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