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Context---- T.S. Eliot: Waste Land Thomas Stearns Eliot, or T.S.

Eliot as he is better known, was born in 1888 in St. Louis. He was the son of a prominent industrialist who came from a well- connected Boston famil . Eliot alwa s felt the loss of his famil !s "ew En#land roots and seemed to be somewhat ashamed of his father!s business success$ throu#hout his life he continuall sou#ht to return to the epicenter of %n#lo- Sa&on culture, first b attendin# Har'ard and then b emi#ratin# to En#land, where he li'ed from 1(1) until his death. Eliot be#an #raduate stud in philosoph at Har'ard and completed his dissertation, althou#h the outbreak of *orld *ar + pre'ented him from takin# his e&aminations and recei'in# the de#ree. B that time, thou#h, Eliot had alread written ,The Lo'e Son# of -. %lfred .rufrock,/ and the *ar, which kept him in En#land, led him to decide to pursue poetr full-time. Eliot met E0ra .ound in 1(1), as well, and it was .ound who was his main mentor and editor and who #ot his poems published and noticed. 1urin# a 1(21 break from his 3ob as a bank clerk 4to reco'er from a mental breakdown5, Eliot finished the work that was to secure him fame, The Waste Land. This poem, hea'il edited b .ound and perhaps also b Eliot!s wife, 6i'ien, addressed the fra#mentation and alienation characteristic of modern culture, makin# use of these fra#ments to create a new kind of poetr . +t was also around this time that Eliot be#an to write criticism, partl in an effort to e&plain his own methods. +n 1(27, he went to work for the publishin# house 8aber 9 8aber. 1espite the distraction of his wife!s increasin#l serious bouts of mental illness, Eliot was from this time until his death the preeminent literar fi#ure in the En#lishspeakin# world$ indeed, he was so monumental that oun#er poets often went out of their wa to a'oid his loomin# shadow, painstakin#l a'oidin# all similarities of st le. Eliot became interested in reli#ion in the later 1(2:s and e'entuall con'erted to %n#licanism. His poetr from this point onward shows a #reater reli#ious bent, althou#h it ne'er becomes do#matic the wa his sometimes contro'ersial cultural criticism does. Four Quartets, his last ma3or poetic work, combines a ;hristian sensibilit with a profound uncertaint resultin# from the war!s de'astation of Europe. Eliot died in 1(<7 in London.