Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965)

American-English poet, playwright, and literary critic, a leader of the modernist movement in poetry. In 1948 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Eliot's work as a critic is probably best represented by his first critical volume The Sacred Wood (1920) The essays introduced two concepts which became important in later critical theory: the Objective Correlative (the use of an external object, event, or situation to evoke emotion in the reader) and dissociation of sensibility (a phrase he invented to explain the change that came over English poetry after John Donne and Andrew Marvell). Later critical works broadened his interests into theology and sociology.


Born in Missouri, Eliot was educated at Harvard and moved to England in 1914. Eliot taught for a year, then worked briefly as a bank clerk.


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