Louis, Missouri ,   to establish a Unitarian Christian church there. His mother, Charlotte Champe Stearns — , wrote poetry and was a social worker , a new profession in the early 20th century. Eliot was the last of six surviving children. Known to family and friends as Tom, he was the namesake of his maternal grandfather, Thomas Stearns.
Eliot's childhood infatuation with literature can be ascribed to several factors. First, he had to overcome physical limitations as a child. Struggling from a congenital double inguinal hernia , he could not participate in many physical activities and thus was prevented from socializing with his peers.
As he was often isolated, his love for literature developed. Once he learned to read, the young boy immediately became obsessed with books and was absorbed in tales depicting savages, the Wild West, or Mark Twain 's thrill-seeking Tom Sawyer.
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Louis affected me more deeply than any other environment has ever done. I feel that there is something in having passed one's childhood beside the big river , which is incommunicable to those people who have not. I consider myself fortunate to have been born here, rather than in Boston, or New York, or London. He began to write poetry when he was fourteen under the influence of Edward Fitzgerald 's translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. He said the results were gloomy and despairing and he destroyed them.
The last mentioned story significantly reflects his exploration of the Igorot Village while visiting the World's Fair of St. Eliot lived in St. Louis, Missouri for the first sixteen years of his life at the house on Locust St. After going away to school in , he only returned to St. Louis for vacations and visits. Despite moving away from the city, Eliot wrote to a friend that the "Missouri and the Mississippi have made a deeper impression on me than any other part of the world.
He studied philosophy at Harvard College from to , earning a B. His B. English Literature. After working as a philosophy assistant at Harvard from to , Eliot moved to Paris where, from to , he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. He first visited Marburg , Germany, where he planned to take a summer programme, but when the First World War broke out he went to Oxford instead. At the time so many American students attended Merton that the Junior Common Room proposed a motion "that this society abhors the Americanization of Oxford". It was defeated by two votes after Eliot reminded the students how much they owed American culture.
Eliot wrote to Conrad Aiken on New Year's Eve "I hate university towns and university people, who are the same everywhere, with pregnant wives, sprawling children, many books and hideous pictures on the walls Oxford is very pretty, but I don't like to be dead. This city had a monumental and life-altering effect on Eliot for several reasons, the most significant of which was his introduction to the influential American literary figure Ezra Pound.
A connection through Aiken resulted in an arranged meeting and on 22 September , Eliot paid a visit to Pound's flat. Pound instantly deemed Eliot "worth watching" and was crucial to Eliot's beginning career as a poet, as he is credited with promoting Eliot through social events and literary gatherings. Thus, according to biographer John Worthen, during his time in England Eliot "was seeing as little of Oxford as possible".
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He was instead spending long periods of time in London, in the company of Ezra Pound and "some of the modern artists whom the war has so far spared It was Pound who helped most, introducing him everywhere. In he taught English at Birkbeck, University of London. By , he had completed a doctoral dissertation for Harvard on "Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of F.
Bradley ", but he failed to return for the viva voce exam. In a letter to Aiken late in December , Eliot, aged 26, wrote, "I am very dependent upon women I mean female society. They were married at Hampstead Register Office on 26 June After a short visit alone to his family in the United States, Eliot returned to London and took several teaching jobs, such as lecturing at Birkbeck College , University of London.
The philosopher Bertrand Russell took an interest in Vivienne while the newlyweds stayed in his flat. Some scholars have suggested that she and Russell had an affair, but the allegations were never confirmed.
The marriage was markedly unhappy, in part because of Vivienne's health problems. In a letter addressed to Ezra Pound, she covers an extensive list of her symptoms, which included a habitually high temperature, fatigue , insomnia , migraines , and colitis. The couple formally separated in and in Vivienne's brother, Maurice, had her committed to a mental hospital, against her will, where she remained until her death of heart disease in In a private paper written in his sixties, Eliot confessed: "I came to persuade myself that I was in love with Vivienne simply because I wanted to burn my boats and commit myself to staying in England.
And she persuaded herself also under the influence of [Ezra] Pound that she would save the poet by keeping him in England. To her, the marriage brought no happiness.
To me, it brought the state of mind out of which came The Waste Land. After leaving Merton, Eliot worked as a schoolteacher, most notably at Highgate School , a private school in London, where he taught French and Latin—his students included the young John Betjeman.
source site To earn extra money, he wrote book reviews and lectured at evening extension courses at the University College London, and Oxford. In , he took a position at Lloyds Bank in London, working on foreign accounts. Eliot said he found Joyce arrogant—Joyce doubted Eliot's ability as a poet at the time—but the two soon became friends, with Eliot visiting Joyce whenever he was in Paris.
Charles Whibley recommended T. Eliot to Geoffrey Faber. Auden , Stephen Spender , and Ted Hughes. On 29 June , Eliot converted to Anglicanism from Unitarianism , and in November that year he took British citizenship. One of Eliot's biographers, Peter Ackroyd , commented that "the purposes of [Eliot's conversion] were two-fold. One: the Church of England offered Eliot some hope for himself, and I think Eliot needed some resting place.
But secondly, it attached Eliot to the English community and English culture. By , Eliot had been contemplating a separation from his wife for some time. When Harvard offered him the Charles Eliot Norton professorship for the — academic year, he accepted and left Vivienne in England. Upon his return, he arranged for a formal separation from her, avoiding all but one meeting with her between his leaving for America in and her death in Vivienne was committed to the Northumberland House mental hospital, Stoke Newington , in , and remained there until she died.
Although Eliot was still legally her husband, he never visited her. From to Eliot's public companion was Mary Trevelyan of London University, who wanted to marry him and left a detailed memoir. When Eliot and Hayward separated their household in , Hayward retained his collection of Eliot's papers, which he bequeathed to King's College, Cambridge , in In contrast to his first marriage, Eliot knew Fletcher well, as she had been his secretary at Faber and Faber since August They kept their wedding secret; the ceremony was held in a church at am with virtually no one in attendance other than his wife's parents.
Eliot had no children with either of his wives. In the early s, by then in failing health, Eliot worked as an editor for the Wesleyan University Press , seeking new poets in Europe for publication. After Eliot's death, Valerie dedicated her time to preserving his legacy, by editing and annotating The Letters of T.
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Eliot and a facsimile of the draft of The Waste Land. Eliot died of emphysema at his home in Kensington in London, on 4 January ,  and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium. In my end is my beginning. In , on the second anniversary of his death, Eliot was commemorated by the placement of a large stone in the floor of Poets' Corner in London's Westminster Abbey.
The apartment block where he died, No.
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