Partner Jean Verdenal
St Michael and All Angels Churchyard East Coker, South Somerset District, Somerset, England
Thomas Stearns Eliot, OM (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965), was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and "one of the twentieth century's major poets". Identified with the Lost Generation. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States, to a prominent Boston Brahmin family, he moved to England in 1914 at the age of 25, settling, working, and marrying there. He became a British subject in 1927 at the age of 39, renouncing his American passport. T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922) was in part an elegy to his young friend Jean Verdenal, who died in the War – though Eliot threatened to sue the scholar who first suggested it in 1952 – but it was also a tragi-comic celebration of that makeshift culture that spanned the continents and the centuries and thrived among the ruins.
Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1915), which was seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by 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".
Questions about Eliot's sexuality have simmered in Eliot studies for decades, coming to a full boil with the publication of Carole Seymour-Jones's biography of Eliot's first wife, Vivienne, which claims that the poet was a closet homosexual.
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