Thomas Stearns Eliot OM was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and "one of the twentieth century's major poets." He was born on 26 September 1888 in St. Louis, Missouri to an old Yankee family. However he emigrated to England in 1914 (at age 25) and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.
Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), which is 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 (1945). He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry.
T.S. Eliot's grandfather William Greenleaf Eliot had moved to St. Louis, Missouri to establish a Unitarian Church there. His father Henry Ware Eliot (1843–1919) was a successful businessman, president and treasurer of the Hydraulic-Press Brick Company in St. Louis; his mother Charlotte Champe Stearns (1843–1929) wrote poetry and was a social worker, a new profession in the early twentieth century. Eliot was the last of six surviving children; his parents were both 44 years old when he was born. His four sisters were between eleven and nineteen years older; his brother was eight years older. Known to family and friends as Tom, he was the namesake of his maternal grandfather Thomas Stearns.
He died of emphysema at his home in Kensington in London, on 4 January 1965, and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium.
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