Thomas Stearns Eliot
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1948
Born: 26 September 1888, St. Louis, MO, USA
Died: 4 January 1965, London, United Kingdom
Residence at the time of the award: United Kingdom
Prize motivation: “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry”
Prize share: 1/1
Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. 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 eventually became literary editor for the publishing house Faber & Faber. In 1927, Eliot became a British citizen. He founded and edited the influential literary journal Criterion (1922–1939).
In 1915, Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” which was seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in English language, including “The Waste Land” (1932), “The Hollow Men” (1925), and “Ash Wednesday” (1930). His belief that poetry should aim to represent the complexities of modern civilization made him one of the most daring innovators of 20th century poetry.