For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.

T S  Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, of an old New England family. He was educated at Harvard and did graduate work in philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and Merton College, Oxford. He settled in England, where he was for a time a schoolmaster and a bank clerk, and eventually literary editor for the publishing house Faber & Faber, of which he later became a director. He founded and, during the seventeen years of its publication (1922-1939), edited the exclusive and influential literary journal Criterion. In 1927, Eliot became a British citizen and about the same time entered the Anglican Church.

Eliot has been one of the most daring innovators of twentieth-century poetry. Never compromising either with the public or indeed with language itself, he has followed his belief that poetry should aim at a representation of the complexities of modern civilization in language and that such representation necessarily leads to difficult poetry. Despite this difficulty his influence on modern poetic diction has been immense. Eliot’s poetry from Prufrock (1917) to the Four Quartets (1943) reflects the development of a Christian writer: the early work, especially The Waste Land (1922), is essentially negative, the expression of that horror from which the search for a higher world arises. In Ash Wednesday (1930) and the Four Quartets this higher world becomes more visible; nonetheless Eliot has always taken care not to become a «religious poet». and often belittled the power of poetry as a religious force. However, his dramas Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Family Reunion (1939) are more openly Christian apologies. In his essays, especially the later ones, Eliot advocates a traditionalism in religion, society, and literature that seems at odds with his pioneer activity as a poet. But although the Eliot of Notes towards the Definition of Culture (1948) is an older man than the poet of The Waste Land, it should not be forgotten that for Eliot tradition is a living organism comprising past and present in constant mutual interaction. Eliot’s plays Murder in the Cathedral (1935), The Family Reunion (1939), The Cocktail Party (1949), The Confidential Clerk (1954), and TheElderStatesman(1959) were published in one volume in 1962; Collected Poems 1909-62 appeared in 1963.

From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

This autobiography/biography was first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1948/eliot-bio.html

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2 Responses to “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

  1. Rusty Says:

    Thank you very much for your daily updates since this blog’s creation.

    I think I found your blog on April ’08 and I have been visiting it at least once a week since then. Although you copy/pasted all the bios, I bet it was sometimes a burden to find the time to update this website everyday, trying to find new and different artists to talk about. Well done and good work on this!

    When I thought that I knew a good deal on art and artists, you made me see that I still had many to discover. I don’t know if you are going to keep on doing what you’ve done through the year since 2008 is now over, but if not, I have to say that your blog had a very important role in my life on an educational and cultural level and I do hope that I am not the only one thinking this way. As I said in the comment I wrote some months ago after finding Artist Quote of the Day: finally, a blog about other people, and not about the selfish author!

    I hope 2009 will give you what you need in order to pursue your dreams and to preserve your ideals. Thank you.

  2. spluckygirlart Says:

    I have to agree with the above reply!! I love this blog site. I look at it often and sometimes bring the quotes with me to school for my art students. Thanks for keeping it updated and current. It is truly amazing!

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