Thomas Sterns Eliot, an influential poet and literary critic that caused massive change with his work in social and cultural theory. According to the article “T. S. Eliot” in Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Elliot had such a unique view on the social and political world that he was able to create many works of art that caused a cascading rush of new ideas that have survived well through the 20th century and into the 21st century. His superbe education and philosophical view of the world made him an ideal character to charge the minds of people who were more pen to change after the end of World War II (“T. Encyclopedia).
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Thomas Eliot lived in London after he graduated from Harvard. He studied philosophy for a while before moving and beginning to study at Oxford until 1915. His journey at Harvard involved him studying methodology with Josiah Royce and also logic with Bertrand Russell. Russell and Eliot became very close friends despite obvious barriers; “despite enormous differences in political, social, and religious outlooks” (“T. ” Encyclopedia). Eliot finished his dissertation at Harvard and it was published.
Eliot praised Francis Herbert Bradley’s idealism by saying “Bradley’s critique of utilitarianism: ‘He replaced a philosophy which was crude and raw and provincial by one which was, and universal” (“T. ” Encyclopedia). He finished all of the studying he would do and had only scratched the surface of his crucial social and political views that skyrocketed soon after he started writing more critiquing poetry. He wanted to get back to the more traditional sense of writing. He practiced romanticism and started to realized about the separation of feeling and thought. comparison, catholic, civilized, He began to stress a profound sense of order and this lead him to become a full hearted orthodox Christian (“T. ” Encyclopedia). One of his most famous works was “Strange Gods” this was the source of his main social and cultural criticism. The argument in this work was; “modern writers, deprived of tradition, have constructed private or esoteric systems of belief, and, deprived of a common language and imagery, they have been forced to experiment” (“T. ” Encyclopedia).
He believed that this was adversely affecting society because the main purpose of a riter is to be fully developed and in turn pass the maturity in language to the reader as to benefit the people as a whole. He noticed that many modern writers were not following the tradition that was set to help so with the mistake being made it was getting increasingly harder to accomplish the task of educating to the fullest extent. According to the article “T. S. Eliot” in Authors and Artists for Young Adults “While a student at Oxford, Elliot met the vivacious but troubled Vivien Haigh-Wood.
They married soon after they met and this sent shock waves through Eliot’s family and made any people unhappy. Eliot and Vivien were totally different people, but they realized this after they were already married. She lived such a different lifestyle she would either be good or bad when it was all over with, this was Russell’s thoughts on Vivien (“T. ” Authors). Eliot was distrustful of her at some point in their marriage, because of the influence on his works. There was distrust about the sex and romance and this pointed to Eliot’s own marriage so this caused suspicion.
Many accusations were said about Vivien even that she like the drug ether and she used it often. This brought Eliot much despair and was one of the main influences on Eliot’s writing and this made his view become more crucial of the word and started to develop his unique view of perfection in the world. Later Eliot returned to the United States to visit his parents and this lead to him settling down with Vivien, in Russell’s two bedroom apartment while Eliot saved up some money to provide for his family.
They eventually moved out of Russell’s place into quarters of their own. Eliot decided to take a job teaching and later at a bank working as a linguist. These experiences keep the money lowing while he wrote poetry on the side. These jobs as well as the friendship with Russell did change his view of the world by having a friend with polar opposite ideals than him so he would have to strengthen his resolve to survive. These influencers were determining factors in the way he would eventually write poetry (“T. Encyclopedia). He eventually published a poem that was able to capture the physical as well as psychological landscape that Eliot set. He was doing well until eventually his wife mental stability started to deteriorate. He was able to keep writing and working at the ank, but with massive amounts of stress looming over him, as if it were ready to consume him. He kept strong until in January 1919 his father passed away and coupled with his wife increasing mental instability he cracked and suffered a mental breakdown.
Even though he spent the next few years recovering he was able to write “The Wasteland while in Geneva, Switzerland. The poem was influenced by his recent studies in ethnology and psychology, but his most profound source of inspiration came from Jessie Weston and James Frazer who wrote religious historical pieces. This lead to him becoming an orthodox Christian (“T. ” Encyclopedia). He returned to his bank job and evened time as a poet and banker so he could keep his wits about him.
Throughout the next decade he became one of the most critically acclaimed influential poets that was trying to change the way authors looked at there work. His best work was “Four Quartets” which he talked about many things from the divide in the human mind, as well as history and time. He believed this to be the pinnacle of his poetic career because of the unique points of view in the poem were what he had orked to complete through all his years of hard work and dedication throughout his life (“T. ” Encyclopedia).
In Conclusion, the article “T. S. Eliot” states in EXPLORING Poetry “In 1948 Eliot received both the Nobel Prize for literature and the Order of Merit by King George VI, both honors– along with his newfound popularity as a dramatist– augmenting his stature as a celebrated literary figure which he maintained until his death in 1965. ” His death shook the world because the idea that a man that conveyed such a pivotal message about the time a person is given and the meaning of life the can get from hat time could just not exist anymore was a sad moment.
He had a hard life filled with ups and downs, but near the end of his life he was able to relish in his achievements and see his life as a whole and not in fragments like is said in the “Four Quartets” (“T. ” Encyclopedia). But this may seem like all his achievements went to his head, they did not, “He was above all, a humble man,’ claimed the Times obituary; ‘firm, even stubborn at times, but with no self importance; quite unspoilt by fame; free from spiritual or intellectual pride” (“T. ” Encyclopedia).