Talk:T. S. Eliot

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Tom and Viv[edit]

I have deleted the words 'See Tom and Viv' at the beginning of the marriage section as it gives the false impression that the play/film Tom and Viv is an authoritative source for information of their marriage. On the contrary it is thought by many scholars to be largely inaccurate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Youngpossum (talkcontribs) 01:49, 21 January 2010 (UTC)


I re-added Giorgos Seferis to the Influenced section, whom somebody recently took out of it without explanation. Eliot's influence on Seferis is a critical commonplace and was acknowledged by Seferis himself; it's also stated on the Wikipedia page on him. Apparently references aren't needed in the Influenced section, but if one is needed for this, I or someone can easily find one to add. I've also removed the name of Bob Dylan and the associated link. So far as I know Eliot is not known to be a specific influence on Dylan -- if Dylan himself, or a respectable rock music critic or contemporary social historian has said he was, then his name can be added back. But the link I removed was to a college student's amateur Dylan fan page, which simply states without references that Eliot was an influence -- I don't think many people would consider such a link to be a persuasive reference. Strawberryjampot (talk) 15:48, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

I put Dylan back in. The reference could be better, yes, but at least it is a reference. And, I dare say, Dylan is more important than Seferis. Eliot's influence on Dylan, by the way, is well-established, and Dylan has acknowledged it. By the way, the "influenced" list is not supposed to list every person influenced by Eliot, only the most important. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 16:03, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
I have no objection to listing Dylan (and assuming good faith I'll accept that the influence is established.) The citation still bothers me though. Is there any documentation of Wikipedia policy on how to determine if a citation is a respectable enough source to use? Considering all the junk that's on the internet, there must be some sort of standard on what to use. (As for Seferis, his standing is no doubt a matter of opinion, but surely the influence of one Nobel Prize winner on another meets the notability criterion.) Strawberryjampot (talk) 17:33, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
Dylan is more famous than Seferis but, at least in Greece, Seferis is a lot more important. Seferis was one of the two most distinguished Greek poets of the 20th century, the other being Cavafy. He was a highly respected and influential figure, and continues to loom over Greek literature to this day; I assume it's only ignorance that makes the previous writer dismiss him and another writer consider him worth removing. Lexo (talk) 22:14, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I think that James Joyce should be removed as an influence. It is highly disputable to list Eliot as an influence on Joyce. If Joyce is listed, there needs to be stronger source than the one that is currently used ( This source doesn't say anything about Eliot's influence on Joyce; it merely establishes that they met and had a "grudging kinship". Pratfall (talk) 19:49, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

I have no problem with saying that Joyce influenced Eliot but I have no knowledge of how Eliot influenced Joyce. I agree with pratfall that the reference does not validate the point and I don't think it would qualify as a strong source anyway.

Another point: the Joyce article doesn't have anything to say about Eliot influencing Joyce and you would think that it would be more important to have that said on Joyce's page than Eliot's. I think that the influence statement in the Eliot article should be removed unless another citation can be found. I rather have a crime of ommission than commission. WikiParker (talk) 14:20, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

@WikiParker:, @Pratfall: - I don't like seeing material removed from this article without prior discussion, so after a few reverts and snark comments, Pratfall finally found his way here. Food for thought:

  • Parrinder, Patrick, James Joyce, 203, fn.8.[1]
  • Attridge, Derek (ed), The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce, at many points been 50-85 discuss Joyce viz. Eliot, especially 72-77. [2]
  • There's a lot to be mined from Sultan, Stanley Eliot, Joyce, and Company (Oxford, 1987)
  • Boulanger, Alison "Influence or Confluence: Joyce, Eliot, Cohen and the Case for Comparative Studies", Comparative Literature Studies 39.1 (2002) 18-47

All of which seem to disagree with Mr. Pratfall's assertions that Eliot was not an influence.--ColonelHenry (talk) 14:42, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

  • And then there's S. L. Goldberg’s Joyce (London: Oliver and Boyd, 1962) which seems to point at their antagonism as an influence.--ColonelHenry (talk) 14:52, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

@ColonelHenry: I wouldn't mind a section in the article that discusses Eliot's relationship with Joyce. Contemporaries influence each other, even reluctantly. However, that sort of influence is often incidental. I don't see anything in your listed sources that definitely establish Eliot's influence on Joyce as one can definitively establish Eliot's influence on, say, Hart Crane. Vico, Dante, Ibsen, D'Annunzio, yes. But I have a hard time appending Eliot to this list. Pratfall (talk) 16:55, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

  • I consider your comment of "I don't see anything..." to mean "I didn't read or bother to look at..."--especially when the first source listed states "The reciprocal influence of Joyce on Eliot and of Eliot on Joyce is well-known" and provides a footnote and subsequent discussion. Please, do not be obtuse. --ColonelHenry (talk) 17:06, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Parrinder's claim has a source attached to it, but the source is not available in the Google Books version. (Does anyone know what it is?) Parrinder also seems to present Joyce's parody as evidence for that influence, but I don't consider a parody as establishing influence (I suppose one could argue that mockery is a manifestation of influence). What did I miss in the Attridge book? I could find only speculation. For what it's worth, I'm not being obtuse. I simply think it's highly debatable to put Joyce in the same list as the others who were definitely influenced by Eliot. If the consensus is that the Parrinder source is sufficient for this claim, so be it. Pratfall (talk) 18:03, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
  • So, you didn't read beyond the parody, to mention his quotations of Eliot in Finnegans Wake, etc. Proving my point. You're a drive-by.--ColonelHenry (talk) 18:10, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
  • I don't understand. The quotations in Finnegans Wake were parodies. Pratfall (talk) 18:21, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Yawn. A reliable source (one of several) says directly and unequivocably "yes, Eliot was an influence" and you want to start nitpicking over inconsequential detail based on your less-than-scholarly interpretation (or failure to interpret) instead of saying "yeah, that reliable source does refute my complaint". I'm tired of you. The statement stays, IMHO, and is adequately sourceable.--ColonelHenry (talk) 18:36, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

Replace "Bibliography" section with "Works" article?[edit]

Since the subject section is not actually a bibliography in the sense of a list of sources referenced in the article, but rather a list of Eliot's works, I propose renaming the section to "Works" and moving the contents to List of works by T.S. Eliot, along the lines of List of works by William Butler Yeats. If I get a little time at home, I will probably be bold and just do it, unless someone makes a persuasive argument against the change here. Or anyone else with the time and inclination should feel free to do it, too. -- Meyer (talk) 02:06, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Odd Punctuation - commas[edit]

Is this issue resolved? Can this now be deleted to reduce clutter? (Fourthandfifth (talk) 06:25, 2 September 2011 (UTC))

This is a great article but has odd and ill use of commas. It seems a bit glaring to me. Do others see it? Nobody else has commented on it. For example "From 1898 to 1905, Eliot was a day student..." or "In 1925, Eliot left Lloyds". These are not clauses. The writer is using commas to mark suggested breathing points which is not what commas are for. If no-one comments within the week I'll be bold. Please feel free to leave me a message on my page with your take on this. Thanks Spanglej (talk) 15:51, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

The examples mentioned were probably introduced by me. I must have put in many more of the commas you hate. I'm really bad with commas. Please fix them. WikiParker (talk) 18:16, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't hate them, I just notice them. I'll re-work the punctuation a little. Thanks Spanglej (talk) 00:42, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

In the cited examples, Spanglej's notion of comma usage is correct. He should feel free to make the changes. -- Meyer (talk) 00:53, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm a she. I have ;-) Spanglej (talk) 03:05, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't see a man or a woman. I only see a Wikipedia editor. ;) -- Meyer (talk) 13:57, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
"This is a great article but has odd and ill use of commas ... For example 'From 1898 to 1905, Eliot was a day student...' or 'In 1925, Eliot left Lloyds'. These are not clauses." -- Spanglej
" In the cited examples, Spanglej's notion of comma usage is correct." -- Meyer
Um, er ...
Strawberryjampot (talk) 03:32, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Liverpool Daily Post Slander Case[edit]

T.S.Elliot took legal action against the Liverpool Daily Post after the Newspaper printed an article which suggested he was of bad character. The case genuinely irritated Elliot. 'When rumours like this are put about by the Press you know how damaging they can be', he wrote in a letter to a friend.Johnwrd (talk) 01:25, 25 May 2009 (UTC)


On June 5 The Times revealed that in 1937 Eliot composed a 34-line poem entitled "Cows" for the children of Frank Morley, a friend and a fellow director of the publisher Faber and Faber.[3]. Morley's daughter, Susanna Smithson, uncovered the poem as part of the BBC Two's "Arena: T.S. Eliot" broadcast that night as part of the BBC Poetry Season.[4] I believe the poem's `discovery' might warrant a mention in the article, but not sure where. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:19, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats is a collection of light verse about animals written about the same time. Perhaps a sort of appendix there could handle "Cows." WikiParker (talk) 01:00, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes indeed. The common chronology, style and motivation all suggest that Cats could comfortably co-habit with Cows. Perhaps a bovine footnote would suffice there. Many thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:48, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Now added as a subsection in the Old Posssum's article. If this looks out of place, it could be converted into an appendix or footnote. Martinevans123 (talk) 15:39, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

The Rock[edit]

I've just started a new article about Eliot's 1934 pageant play, The Rock. Contributions are welcome, but I would advise contributors to read the play. It's long out of print and has never been reprinted since the initial publication, but there are a lot of old copies floating around on Amazon and Abebooks. Any verifiable information concerning the origin and production of the play would be very useful. Almost all my books by Eliot, as well as my copies of the Ackroyd and Gordon biographies, are in storage at the moment, so I'm writing with at least one hand tied behind my back. Thanks. Lexo (talk) 14:46, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Drop me a line when you need info. I have 4 other biographies and a few works that specialize on various topics (2 on religion in the works). Ottava Rima (talk) 16:36, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Boas and anti-semitism[edit]

On Septempter 19, 2009 I removed the lines:

  • The philosopher George Boas, who had previously been on friendly terms with Eliot, wrote to him that, "I can at least rid you of the company of one." Eliot did not reply.

with the comment:

  • Removed Boas. Needs definite citation. I've seen scholarly cites of both "George Boas" and "Franz Boas."

Rather than having the real name and a citation given I would really prefer that the statements remain out of the article. They really reflect more on Boas than Eliot and the article is about Eliot. WikiParker (talk) 17:25, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

What's Pound Got To Do With It?[edit]

When quoting Eliot in his later years on the reason for his marriage, the article says:

"And she persuaded herself (also under the influence of Pound) that she would save the poet by keeping him in England."

As of today, this is the first time in the article that "Pound" is mentioned. Wherever the first reference is made to pound, it should have his full name. I didn't change it because my next point may result in an earlier reference being added.

The explicit statement that Pound was "also ... the influence" for his wife's deciding to marry him implies that Pound influenced Eliot's own decision to marry (or possibly influenced someone else), but there's nothing in the article remotely relating to this. Something must have been deleted at some point. Ileanadu (talk) 03:33, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Pound's full name wasn't given because it's in quoted material (which I didn't add; I'm assuming the quote is correct.) As a temporary measure, I've added Pound's first name in square brackets, the usual convention for inserting an explanatory alteration into a quote. It can be removed later if mention of Pound is added to an earlier passage. Strawberryjampot (talk) 15:25, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Britain's favourite poet[edit]

T.S.Eliot was the favourite poet in the United Kingdom in the BBC poll, according the results announced on October 8 2009. If this went in the article, it would help Wikipedia maintain its up-to-date credentials. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 20:23, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Nationality in the lead[edit]

A little over three years ago, after seeing constant edits changing the nationality of Eliot in the article's lead, I wrote a sentence saying where he was born, when he went to England and when he became a British subject (not a citizen.) This did well in keeping the number of nationality reversions down. Lately though the lead was expanded by mentions of many other works he wrote. Additionally, the bit about the American birth, moving to the UK and his change in nationality got expanded into a mini-biography. All these extras stretched the space between the identity of Eliot in the first sentence and his serial nationality, hiding the fact of nationality. Then nationality again began to creep in at the top. Currently Eliot is identified as an American poet (I was tempted to make him, in the same sentence, a British playwright.) I made a change to the article to get closer to my old edit that seemed to work well. I also moved his quotation about the role of nationality on his poetry down to the the Poetry section. Due to reversions Eliot is once again an American poet and his quotation shows up in two locations. Comments? WikiParker (talk) 16:20, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Generally speaking, we respect an individual's own choice of nationality - for instance if someone self-described themselves as 'Scottish'. Eliot is a bit complex, certainly legally, in opting to become a British subject, he (at that time) lost his right to be an American. I'd say to reflect that complexity, it should be disposed of (in summary) at the top; and to say when seems reasonable. Expansion of the topic - for instance the quote - is more appropriate in the body of the article. The lead should be 2-3 paras summarising the content of the whole - so, while it's currently a bit short, it should actually have less detail in it. Kbthompson (talk) 16:38, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
He was born in America, raised in America, educated in America, wrote the first poem that made his name in America, had it first published in America, and described his poetry as emanating from America. He was in every possible sense an American poet. That doesn't change by the fact that he acquired the right to a British passport at the age of 39, just as John Lennon didn't become an American musician because he went to live in New York. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 19:06, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
The Waste Land was edited by Pound when they were post-American. Ash Wednesday celebrated his joining the Anglican Church. Four Quartets discusses his time helping his fellow Brits during WW2. He left America after Harvard and considered himself a - MODERNIST :). Like Joyce, Pound, Auden, and some others, he had no nationality because he had multiple ones. A true cosmopolitan. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:15, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Pound was an American too, Ottava. :) And Eliot's religion surely has nothing to do with it. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 19:22, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, Anglicanism is all about King and Country, and he joined the Anglican Church when he became a British citizen. Virginia Woolf basically said he was dead to her because of it. Important moment in his life. :) Ottava Rima (talk) 20:15, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

The above arguments seem to me to be concentrated almost entirely on the question of which Wikipedia contributor's opinion should prevail. But surely this is a no-brainer. The answer obviously is none of them, since Wikipedia contributor's opinions are POV and/or OR. We need to talk about facts, and the fact is that literary critics and historians have never settled on one national identity for TSE. His work is included most of the respected mainstream academic anthologies of English poetry, and also in those of American poetry -- and please don't say that that doesn't prove anything: it proves that respected expert opinion, which we're supposed to follow rather than personal contributor's opinions, has classified him as both nationalities. The Columbia Encyclopedia, one of the most authoritative reference works, begins its entry on TSE with the words, "American-British poet and critic," and this I think is the best that can be done and the example we should follow. Strawberryjampot (talk) 20:13, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Britannica uses "Anglo-American poet" and "American-English poet". We can at least hope to more consistent than them. As I understand it he would still have been an "Anglo-American" had he never left America. William Avery (talk) 21:10, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Speaking about his change in nationality now occupies almost half the lead section. Is there any reason we can't simply mention in this opening section that he was born in America, moved to the UK, and later adopted British citizenry? Does it--and the change's influence on his work--actually need to occupy half of the lead? There is already a separate section for this later. ThtrWrtr (talk) 19:14, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Good point. I just did it. Special note: I removed the "American mind, Britsh heart" quote. You would think that Google could find something this good in books or scholarly papers but it doesn't. WikiParker (talk) 23:42, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

This is laughable. He is American. He was born in America. His mother was born in America. His father was born in America.--Mikeyfaces (talk) 00:27, 15 January 2018 (UTC)

Why not in the philosophy category?[edit]

He was a literary critic and esthetistician after all, no?

--Francesco Franco (talk) 19:26, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Sorry for the formatting. I haven't been on here in centuries. (; --Francesco Franco (talk) 19:28, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

But he wasn't a philosopher. :) SlimVirgin TALK contribs 19:58, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually, no, strike that. He did regard himself as a philosopher and likely would have had a PhD in it if he'd gone back for the viva. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 20:00, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Richard Shusterman has written on "Eliot as Philosopher" in The Cambridge Companion to T.S. Eliot. That said, the common cliché is that he abandoned academic philosophy in favour of religious dogma. William Avery (talk) 13:33, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps more pertinent, he is in Category:New Criticism which is in Category:Aesthetics which is in Category:Branches of philosophy. William Avery (talk) 14:25, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Conversion to Anglicanism[edit]

If it is stated that he converted "to" Anglicanism, shouldn't mention be made somewhere of what he converted "from"? Safebreaker (talk) 13:02, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

His family were Unitarians. See for instance here. It was an important part of his background, so it should at least be in the "Early life and upbringing" section. William Avery (talk) 14:26, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Ash Wednesday[edit]

For consistency, may we select either the hyphenated or hyphen-less version of the title and stick with it? I'd do it now, but I'd like to hear other editors' preference first. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:44, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

The unhyphened form seems to be more usual. William Avery (talk) 08:13, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
OK, reverting to un-hyphenated.--Old Moonraker (talk) 20:35, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
But it's clearly published by Faber and Faber as "Ash-Wednesday", surely this was as Eliot wrote and intended it? Martinevans123 (talk) 20:50, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Yep, that was the version I was going to use, for that reason. However the work's own article on WP, plus what seems to be the more general usage today, made me go the other way. This needn't be the final word; as long as we don't get drive-by edits changing just one or two occurrences seemingly at random but a proper implementation, all at once. --Old Moonraker (talk) 21:00, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
I'd suggest the work's own article on WP should also be corrected. I'd agree that it does look odd, but I think Eliot himself should get any final word. I have not seen the original ms, but that can't have been an F&F mistake. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:09, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
I have a first edition, and on both the half-title and the title pages it's hyphenated. And of course, that's the spelling that's retained in the Selected Poems. Epanalepsis (talk) 02:39, 27 August 2010 (UTC)


There has been a back and forth edit (not by me) about putting OM (for Order of Merit) and link after Eliot's name right at the beginning. Is there a policy on this? Not just on OM but all kinds of letters, like OBE PhD MD DSC etc. And if we're going to put OM after a biographical subject's name at the beginning, shouldn't a Nobel Prize winner have that after their first mention? Which doesn't seem to be the convention. And what about other nation's orders? In other articles I've seen, such orders seem to me mentioned early in the article but not right after the first mention of the subject's name. I'm not necessarily objecting to having OM here, but it does look to me rather odd, since I haven't noticed it elsewhere. Are other OMs in Wikipedia also mentioned like this? Strawberryjampot (talk) 00:11, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

See, for example, Winston Churchill, where honours and medals with post-nominal letters are linked. The Nobels don't come with post-nominal letters, and academic degrees, earned or honourary, are conventionally omitted. Epanalepsis (talk) 02:45, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

TS Eliot and Robert Graves[edit]

Eliot as a publisher at Faber and Faber is usually credited or according to opinion blamed for getting The White Goddess by the Robert Graves published. It was in some quarters an influential book. Robert Graves, himself of course a prominent poet, was critical of Eliots work in The Crowning Privilege and probably elsewhere. Will add this stuff if none else does.... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:14, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Craig Raine on anti-Semitism in Eliot's work[edit]

Craig Raine is infamous as one of the few defenders of charges that Eliot's work contains anti-Semitism. Though I didn't add Raine's controversial comments to the article, I did try to point out the speciousness of his argument, and my addition was removed on account of it containing my opinion. But if the article simply presents the Raine comments w/o commentary it gives the impression that his viewpoint has credibility and is respected by the academic community (which it is not). Perhaps the quote should simply be removed. It's rather insulting to the intelligence of the Wikipedia community.Jpcohen (talk) 19:55, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Are there any good, reliable, quotable sources which you can compellingly quote which will put his quotes into context? I feel (IMHO) that it should be left in as it is an important point in the context. Your comments were from a particular point of view and probably deserved to be removed on that basis, but if the academic community are vocal in their rejection of Raine's argument, then perhaps you could show such arguments?--Schrodinger's cat is alive (talk) 15:32, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
Craig Raine has some status as a critic and poet. Raine has published a collection of essays entitled In Defence of T. S. Eliot (2001). The fact that you disagree with Raine should not lead to your ridiculing his argument. This is what WP:NPOV means, doesn't it? - that we describe people's ideas without bias. This is not a minor matter, this is one of WP's three core content policies. If a critic has contested Raine's view, you can quote that critic, but it's not the job of WP editors to inject their personal bias. Mick gold (talk) 16:17, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't simply disagree with Raine's remarks; I find them offensive. Still, I will not remove his comments if others find them valuable/credible. However, it's important to note that just because Raine's opinions on the matter have been published doesn't necessarily make them credible. Questioning the presence of anti-Semitism in Eliot's poetry is a little bit like questioning evolution. There are certainly people on the fringes of the scientific community who publish arguments against the factuality of evolution. And the mainstream press and the academic community recognize that those arguments are total nonsense. Same thing goes for Raine's arguments in defense of Eliot's anti-Semitism. Raine is a poet with views that are on the outer fringe of academia, and I'm certain that his opinions are not representative of the mainstream view on the matter at all.Jpcohen (talk) 17:28, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
I appreciate where you are coming from, but if you see the academic community being as clearly cut against Raine's argument then it should be relatively straightforward to find a good comment which refutes his points - if you include that then it will put his argument into context.--Schrodinger's cat is alive (talk) 17:49, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
I easily found a quote, which I just posted in the Eliot wiki article, from the mainstream press, sharply criticizing Raine's book on Eliot, in which Raine mounted his best known argument in defense of Eliot's anti-Semitism. However, I haven't found a public response to the earlier Raine quote in the wiki article which is from a review that Raine wrote regarding the publication of Eliot's published letters. Of course, it's much more difficult to find a public response to a book review by Raine--which is why I initially just pointed out the lack of logic in the quote myself. But hopefully the quote that I've provided will do. I doubt that it would be difficult to find similar quotes since Raine's comments on the matter are so controversial.Jpcohen (talk) 18:05, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

I wonder if Anthony Julius has written anything in response to Raine's fierce attack on T.S. Eliot, Anti-semitism and Literary Form. If so, they should definitely be added to this article.Jpcohen (talk) 19:58, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

I am concerned that the issue of Eliot and anti-Semitism is disproportionately represented in this article. Clearly this is a serious question, widely discussed. But WP now has a section called Critical reception. Part One of this section, Responses to Eliot's poetry, is 342 words. Part two of this section, Allegations of anti-Semitism, is 971 words: 3 times longer than Responses to his poetry. This seems a bizarre and disproportionate account of the response to a poet who has been the subject of critical discussion at the highest level, and won the National Poetry Day poll as most popular poet in the UK. [5][6] Mick gold (talk) 21:07, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
Agree with Mick. I've been watching the development of the section and am happy to see it taken to talk. In my view it's too weighty. All the American modernists were anti-semitic - Ezra, Hemingway, Eliot. In this article, all that's necessary is to say he was anti-semitic w/ maybe an example or quote from a good modernist critic. I have lots of criticism available on my shelves and will see what I can find, but honestly went through this with Ezra Pound - which is an entirely different story - and would prefer not to get too involved again. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 21:32, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
This is why I suggested simply removing the controversial (and lengthy) Craig Raine quote. I agree that this anti-Semitism section is way too long.Jpcohen (talk) 22:20, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
I should also point out that the public bone of contention re: Eliot and anti-Semitism isn't over whether or not Eliot himself was anti-Semitic but over whether nor not there is anti-Semitism in a handful of his poems and essays.Jpcohen (talk) 22:27, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

I tried to remove unnecessary portions of the anti-Semitism section. Please comment on what you think of cuts. Thank you.Jpcohen (talk) 22:54, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, Jpcohen, I appreciate your cuts. I've tried to condense this material further. I think the length of this section is now significantly improved. Mick gold (talk) 23:37, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

WikiProject Chicago[edit]

Why is this article linked up with WikiProject Chicago? Does anyone know? I wasn't aware of any significant connection that Eliot had to Chicago?Jpcohen (talk) 03:31, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

In my opinion it wasn't significant but TSE was considered to be part of the U. of Chicago (I think it was.) I've thought it more appropriate for the Chicago project to dump this. BTW, thanks for the recent Eliot edits. WikiParker (talk) 01:30, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

American or British?[edit]

I see that this is an old argument, but really, the way it's written: "..American-born British poet..." makes it sound like his British parents just happened to be in the US at the time of his birth. When, as you know, he was born into a respected and established USian family, was raised and educated (Harvard for both his undergrad and PHD) in the US.

I do understand the argument that we should respect what people want to be known as, but this needs to be within reason. If I move to Thailand and get Thai citizenship at age 40, this still doesn't make me "Thai". It makes me an New England-born American who became a Thai national.

I suggest a re-wording of the article to "..American poet (etc.) who became a British citizen at age 40.." (talk) 18:31, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

I hear what you're saying. The opening "American-born British poet" could be confusing to someone who doesn't know the details of Eliot's life. It seems that both English and American readers want to claim Eliot as their own. But if you write "American poet who became a British citizen," some might say you're implicitly arguing that as a poet, Eliot was really an American and that his British citizenship was merely incidental. But there are some readers who view Eliot's wholehearted embrace of all things English (including not only his British citizenship but also his conversion to the Anglican Church) as proof that his poetry was more "British" than "American." And I think that's a valid argument.
It's very interesting to look at how the split between Eliot's English and American influences seemed to do battle in the very early part of his career. But by the mid-1920's, the English influences had clearly won that battle. You can look at Eliot's plays for evidence of this. His first, unfinished play, Sweeney Agonistes, had American characters in it and was clearly influenced by American language and culture. But the remainder of his plays have all English characters and not even a hint of American cultural influence.
So whether you write "American-born British poet" or "American poet who became a British citizen," neither phrase is entirely accurate or entirely clear in explaining Eliot's place in terms of literary geography.
You can see the "Nationality in the lead" section above discusses this issue and concludes that the best terminology is to use "American-English poet" (although for some reason, this isn't what is used in the article). So if you want to change the phrase, this would probably be the most neutral phrase--though it's still rather unclear in its meaning.Jpcohen (talk) 23:34, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
I've made a change that I've done several times before that seems to work fairly well at preventing nationality edit wars. I move Eliot's nationality(s) into a separate sentence right up front with the facts and leave out categorizing him one way or another. After a bit it usually gets moved down (see current article which I was too tired to change.) That then allows opportunity for American/British adjectives to get attached to the word "poet." WikiParker (talk) 01:36, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

This is laughable. He is American. He was born in America. His mother was born in America. His father was born in America. --Mikeyfaces (talk) 00:26, 15 January 2018 (UTC)

Eliot's work in radio? and television[edit]

The introduction to Orwell: The Lost Writings (ed. W. J. West) contains several references to Eliot working in radio for the BBC during World War II. I found this interesting and surprising, and came here looking for more information, but didn't find any. If anyone knows of sources specifically discussing Eliot's work in radio, I think it would be worthy of note in this article. (talk) 15:55, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Eliot gave numerous radio talks, and there were productions of his plays on both radio and television. I believe Murder in the Cathedral was televised as early as1936. I would like to work on this, but am busy on other projects. Some information can be found in the online archives of The Listener. Rwood128 (talk) 19:14, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Movement of citations[edit]

I have a concern about Qy0f's recent changes. Some of the ref markers in the text were moved from one spot to another. This could cause readers to think that both parts of a statement are cited. I think sometimes the marker was even moved to another sentence. WikiParker (talk) 17:25, 6 March 2012 (UTC)


Eliot and homosexuality[edit]

Why is there no mention of the subject of Eliot and homosexuality? This is the first time I've looked at the Wikipedia article on Eliot. I find it astonishing in 2012 that this wouldn't be commented upon. Shemp Howard, Jr. (talk) 21:26, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

There's plenty online on the subject; here are just a few hits: [7], [8], [9], [10]. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 07:58, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
  • @JackofOz: - Like other speculative sources, these are a lot of conjecture and nothing more. Was Eliot a homosexual? Perhaps it could be possible, but it is not a fact, not yet and given the paucity of evidence it is not likely that one can substantively and supportably make that claim. Having a male friend doesn't automatically make Eliot a homosexual. It's best not to label someone when all that is to be had is speculation on entirely flimsy interpretations.--ColonelHenry (talk) 08:18, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Whoa, buddy. Nobody here, myself included, has labelled anybody anything. I was simply agreeing with User:Shemp Howard, Jr. (who is now User:William (The Bill) Blackstone) that there has been a great deal of discussion and speculation about Eliot's sexuality, and it is odd for a reputable encyclopedia not to mention that there has been such discussion. That does not amount to Wikipedia speculating. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 10:51, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
@JackofOz: - There's also "discussion" that Chaucer was a rapist and arsonist, which comparatively is better sourced and less speculative--but that doesn't appear in the Chaucer article. Just because someone happens to says publicly "hey, I think so-and-so is gay" doesn't mean it's verifiable (one of the core policies), and it is certainly not verifiable by virtue of several speculative comments. Right now, none of the sources appear, in my judgment to meet my subjective understanding of WP:V. I watch the Poliziano article--someone who is thought to be homosexual but likewise there was no conclusive proof and that is frequently becomes a battlefield over the issue. Likewise, there was speculative gossip in the 90s that Tom Cruise was actually gay and his marriages were a cover--because it isn't verifiable, it doesn't appear. Remember, Eliot was pained when critics began to call him an anti-Semite for a few misunderstood, rather innocuous lines of his poetry (he called the label a horrible slander against a man)--something I addressed when I wrote A Song for Simeon which was TFA earlier this month. I am loathe to have some labeled directly or indirectly because of some literary critic's speculation that lacks evidentiary rigor. I understand your concern, and if it were better sourced, I'd agree with the necessity of it being mentioned. But aside from one scandalous mention in a frequently discredited biography and the musings of a few newspaper paperhangers who harken back to that discredited bio, and compared to Eliot's declarative denial, there's little traction for the idea beyond "hey, I think so-and-so is gay"--and that doesn't meet the verifiability standard, in my opinion. Any reputable encyclopaedia wouldn't be reputable if it reported fringe and unverifiable gossip. Likewise, if it were discussed it should be strongly countered with a disclaimer that there is no incontrovertible evidence proving he was a homosexual and explicitly that Eliot strongly denied the label.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:38, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
  • @Jpcohen: @WikiParker: - I'd like your judgment and thoughts on this issue, since you and I share the same views on quality content in this article and if you know additional, more rigorous, less speculative sources that would warrant such a discussion of this issue.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:48, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I know of no biography, article or essay about Eliot being homosexual that isn't speculative and I'm the author of the Jean Verdenal webpage linked to above and a major contributor to the Jean Jules Verdenal WP article. I say leave Eliot's sexually out of the WP article. There is even too much in the anti-Semitism section of the TSE page (my thanks go to Jpcohen for his editing of the section to get it down to something reasonable.) WikiParker (talk) 22:46, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I beieve that what is being suggested is that the article contain a note on the speculations if I understand? While I think the article could contain this kind of information, I'd tend to think it would be stronger with out a nod to speculative content. Eliot's notability is in his writing. Literary critics might speculate on what in Eliot's life influenced his writing, but this kind of speculation is strongest when we actually have undeniable information about his life. Speculating on connections between writing and life when the information we have on Eliot's life itself is speculative at best is steps removed. While a judgement call my vote would be to exclude such information. This reminds me of graduate work where I excitedly spent hours writing a paper that made connections between what at that time was seen as speculation on E A Poe's addiction and connections of that addiction to his work, and was awarded with a D- and a simple comment, you can't make those kinds of connections. While sources speculating on Eliot's sexuality might just pass WP scrutiny, it still is and supports D- content in my mind.:O)(Littleolive oil (talk) 19:01, 22 February 2014 (UTC))
I agree with these other editors that including speculation about Eliot's sexuality is not appropriate here. I don't think the speculation has any real legs to stand on (from what I can tell) so it essentially amounts to gossip. And gossip isn't terribly encyclopedic.Jpcohen (talk) 17:30, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
I've looked into this a little, and while my research hasn't been comprehensive, so far as I can tell, the only suggestion that TSE was gay in anything that could be remotely considered a reliable source is in Carole Seymour-Jones' biography of Vivienne, and all the respectable, mainstream reviews I've seen of that book say that the suggestion isn't credible. I don't think there has been enough discussion of this issue in the media to justify including it in the article as a controversy, so I'd agree the article shouldn't refer to it. Littlewindow (talk) 15:18, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

Seymour-Jones had access to Vivienne's letters and papers (which Valerie Eliot did her best to suppress). The references to Eliot's sexuality and to Vivienne's affair with Bertrand Russell are well established in her book, in my opinion.Sushisurprise (talk) 08:52, 14 March 2017 (UTC)


I don't deny Eliot was a great poet. The Quartets are magnificent poetry. But he was an anti-Semite too. In his lectures at the UVA, he wrote "The population should be homogeneous; where two or more cultures exist in the same place they are likely to be fiercely self-conscious or both to become adulterate. What is more important is unity of religious background; and reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable.” There is was the ratty Bleistein with a cigar. Etc. That he was an anti-Semite does not cancel out my estimation of him as a great poet. Wagner was a great artist and an anti-Semite. Under the skin there can be a creative artist and an anti-Semite. Would I prefer that Eliot not have been an anti-Semite? Sure I would. But that is not the case. I think removing Category:Antisemitism from the categories is a mistake. It is part of who Eliot was.Iss246 (talk) 02:16, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

The main page for Category:Antisemitism says: This category is for issues relating to antisemitism. It must not include articles about individuals, groups or media that are allegedly antisemitic. WikiParker (talk) 12:21, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

There were objections to that idea. The consequence would be that individuals such as Wilhelm Marr, the individual who coined the term anti-Semitism, and Eichmann would be excluded. That Eliot was an anti-Semite should be in that category. The category does not say he wasn't a great poet. He sure was. But there was another side to him. His UVA lecture occurred at a time when there was growing anti-Semitism in Germany and, even, the U.S. (e.g., Father Coughlin's movement). I think Eliot should be linked to the category.Iss246 (talk) 13:27, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

If the category was "anti-Semites," then it might be appropriate to add the category to the T.S. Eliot page. Of course, this would be a bit ridiculous--like having a category of "racists" (which could probably also be added to Eliot's page since he wrote some overtly racist joke-poems as a youth). That said, I don't think the category of "antisemitism," should be added to the bio page of every individual accused of antisemitism (unless, perhaps, antisemitism was an integral part of that individual's life story).Jpcohen (talk) 04:49, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
From Iss246's quote of Julius above I see that Eliot was a Christian writer, not that he was an anti-semite. The professors may have been anti-semites though. A mention of Eliot in an article on mid-20th century higher education and anti-semitism might be in order but directing people to an article on Eliot himself doesn't do them a favor. WikiParker (talk) 01:21, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for responding. I agree with you that the category anti-Semitism not be added to the page of every individual accused of anti-Semitism. I, however, think the category of anti-Semitism belongs on the T.S. Eliot page because of both the content of Eliot's writings, (e.g., the Virginia address) and the context (e.g., the 1930s as anti-Semitic movements were catching fire and quota systems were being enforced). Given the content and the context, this was not some "mild" form of anti-Semitism. Those words were particularly hurtful given that they came from the preeminent poet of the English language in the 20th Century.Iss246 (talk) 15:31, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Well, I think we'll have to agree to disagree here. Was Eliot an anti-Semite? Yep, no doubt. Should it be mentioned on the Wikipedia entry? Yes. Was his anti-Semitism integral to his life story and his influence over literary culture? In my opinion, no. Jpcohen (talk) 22:00, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

With all due respect, you are wrong, and I ask you to change your view about including Eliot in the anti-Semitism category. He had a baleful influence. Eliot helped to fuel efforts to bar Jews from English departments. Here is p. 51 from Anthony Julius with reference to Wayne Booth, Harold Bloom, and Alfred Kazin:

Wayne C. Booth has recalled 'the widespread claims of only a few decades ago that Jews should not be professors of English because they could not grasp the spirit of a predominantly Christian literature.' This anti-Semitism complemented the reverence for Eliot that has another characteristic of many English departments. Asked 'What was the atmosphere at Yale in the late 1950s?', Harold Bloom replied, 'An Anglo-Catholic nightmare. Everyone was on their knees to Mr. T.S. Eliot.' Eliot, a Christian poet, was considered to be beyond the reach of non-Christian readers. Jews who studied English literature found that they were studying enemy texts: 'We had to read and study these [anti-Semitic] poems and we had a teacher...who would say "Well, of course, only a committed Christian could really understand Eliot's poetry." Tough luck on the rest of us, I suppose...I had been taught to love all this stuff that actually had a place for in it as a villain.' This is no overstatement. One Eliot admirer enthused: 'from reading Eliot, a boy can have a dawning sense of the tradition of Christian culture in Europe...the Christian faith alone can make something positive out of the suffering of life'. Alfred Kaxin exclaimed: 'How we squirm to get into Eliot's City of God...though he has barred us from it in advance!'

Iss246 (talk) 23:11, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

I think it's unfair and inaccurate to lay the blame for anti-Semitism in American universities at the feet of T.S. Eliot. Because of an anti-Semitic passage in a lecture he gave at the University of Virginia? Well, there were also racist passages in that lecture. You wouldn't blame Eliot for racial discrimination in American universities, would you? There was anti-Semitism in American universities (particularly in Ivy League universities like the one where Eliot received his academic training) before Eliot became a famous poet/critic and it existed irrespective of Eliot's work or his U of VA lecture.
Yes, there is anti-Semitism in a small handful of passages in Eliot's poetry and in part of his infamous University of Virginia lecture. And those passages are hurtful and offensive. But I still don't believe that these passages are of such paramount importance to Eliot's work that the article on Eliot's bio deserves to carry with it the category of "anti-Semitism." The bio pages of Adolf Hitler and Adolf Eichmann? Sure. T.S. Eliot? No, I think it's inappropriate.
Although Bloom disdains the work of Eliot, he is a self-described bardolator. And he loves Shakespeare despite the fact that Shakespeare wrote one of the most infamous and offensive anti-Semitic works of literature in the English language, The Merchant of Venice. Certainly Shakespeare has had more influence over English literature departments in American and English universities than T.S. Eliot. But I doubt that anyone would blame Shakespeare for anti-Semitism in American universities. And does the anti-Semitism in The Merchant of Venice mean that it would be appropriate to place Shakespeare's bio article within the category of "Anti-Semitism?" I don't think so. And the reason is that anti-Semitism was not central to Shakespeare's life story and is only a very, very small part of his literary legacy.
Like I said before, on this particular issue, we'll have to agree to disagree.Jpcohen (talk) 01:13, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

That is not what I am arguing. That is an exaggeration of my view. I am not laying at Eliot's doorstep ALL the discrimination that issued from English departments from the 1920s to the 1950s. What I am advancing is that his views buttressed that tweed jacket anti-Semitism. What was particularly nasty about Eliot's views was that he voiced them at a time when anti-Jewish activities were going well beyond gentleman's agreements. It was Eliot the contemporary who influenced those English professors. They wished they could write poetry like Eliot, not like the long-dead Shakespeare. It was Eliot who exerted influence.

You are right about Shakespeare. No doubt that the power of a writer such as Shakespeare AND his imbuing Shylock with humanity in his I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? speech make Shylock perhaps uglier. Jews were not permitted in England at the time Shakespeare wrote. Shakespeare had to imagine them, and base his imaginings on the stereotypes that were current in his day. Eliot knew Jews. He met Jews. He knew Fascism and Nazism were on the rise. He knew Jews were vulnerable.Iss246 (talk) 04:37, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

From Iss246's quote of Julius above I see that Eliot was a Christian writer, not that he was an anti-semite. The professors may have been anti-semites though. A mention of Eliot in an article on mid-20th century higher education and anti-semitism might be in order but directing people to an article on Eliot himself doesn't do them a favor. WikiParker (talk) 01:21, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

I am not seeking to do that kind of favor for anyone. I want to round the picture. He was arguably the greatest poet of the English language in the 20th Century. He was a Christian, an Anglo-Catholic. He was a publisher. He was an anti-Semite too. That he was an anti-Semite was one facet of a highly talented, many-faceted man. Hence the category:Antisemitism should remain.Iss246 (talk) 06:00, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Just keeping this brief: I haven't seen any other Eliot article contributors saying that the category should be kept. WikiParker (talk) 11:40, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Recent addition to Critical Responses to Poetry[edit]

I was reading over a recent addition to the "Critical Responses to Eliot's Poetry" category. It's a quote from a conservative writer named Roger Scruton that states "T. S. Eliot was indisputably the greatest poet writing in English in the twentieth century." I believe this is a vast overstatement and quite misleading and does not provide an accurate representation of the critical consensus regarding Eliot's current place in the English canon by literary scholars or literary critics. One might have been able to make Scruton's claim in the 1950s, but Eliot's literary dominance is no longer what it once was, and Scruton's opinion is most definitely disputable.

That said, I still think that it would be helpful to have some information regarding the current critical status of Eliot's poetry in the English canon in this section, but I don't think this quote provides that. For this reason, I think the quote should be removed, but I wanted to see what other editors thought before I removed it. Thanks.Jpcohen (talk) 15:42, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Rather than remove the quote, which presents a view still widely shared, add another critical response that better represents the current critical status of Eliot's work, in your judgement. Bede735 (talk) 11:39, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I disagree with you. I don't believe that the claim that T.S. is "indisputably the greatest poet writing in English in the twentieth century" is a view that is widely shared. Do you know of any contemporary literary scholar who has made that claim? I don't know of any, but if they exist, I'd definitely like to know who they are. On a different note, I think it's important to point out that Scruton is a philosopher, not a literary scholar (or a literary critic), and a significant portion of his quote judges Eliot's work outside of poetry (even though the category in question is on "Critical Responses to His Poetry"). Another good reason, I think, for the quote to be nixed.Jpcohen (talk) 15:58, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
The m is significant in terms of a historical view of Eliot's work. I'd summarize the quote and inline attribute it with a date.(olive (talk) 13:57, 28 July 2012 (UTC))
Actually on retreading the section, I realized the quote while quite long provides context and inline attribution and clearly notes the pejorative view. Further we have to remember we're not presenting truth or fact here just noting the range of knowledge as evidenced by the sources. Of greater concern is that the section is somewhat non encyclopedic which could use a tidy up.(olive (talk) 14:19, 28 July 2012 (UTC))
I've pared down the quote to include the first sentence (which is the only one that addresses a critical response to Eliot's poetry which is the subject of the section). But I'm still dubious about the quote because it's the only current critical opinion regarding the place of Eliot's poetry in the 20th century English canon, it's by someone whose area of expertise is NOT in literature, and because Scruton's opinion (which he defines as "indisputable") is a minority view that's very misleading without any context. If I have time, I will try to even this out with more context (and I would welcome others to do so as well).Jpcohen (talk) 20:32, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
While the writing in the section was interesting and very well written in my opinion, some wasn't encyclopedic. I've adjusted it somewhat, and apologize for having to do so per the more boring encyclopedic standards of Wikipedia.(olive (talk) 21:36, 30 July 2012 (UTC))

Moved from article:

Roger Scruton says, that "T. S. Eliot was indisputably the greatest poet writing in English in the twentieth century."[1]

  1. ^ Scruton, Roger (Fall 2003/Spring 2004). "First Principles – T. S. Eliot as Conservative Mentor". Retrieved 2012-07-24.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

In a sense, this sentence is cherry picked, although probably not deliberately to create a POV. If used, I would think it needs more explanation form the source itself, providing context. Further, I don't see that the quote adds anything to the article as is, so at this point I wouldn't mind removing it, or expanding the content from the source to give the quote context.(olive (talk) 21:46, 30 July 2012 (UTC))

Yes. This is, in part, why I recommended removing the Scruton quote from the article. And I hope that by adding more nuanced, mainstream contemporary literary criticism from established literary scholars to this section, I have made my original argument clearer.Jpcohen (talk) 03:16, 31 July 2012 (UTC)


I apologize for cutting part of that quote,"(as he himself--perhaps just as unfairly--had criticized Milton)". I missed the quotation marks at the end of the sentence. (olive (talk) 13:19, 19 August 2012 (UTC))

No problem.Jpcohen (talk) 19:49, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

HaKohain addition[edit]

  • This is not sourced to what is generally considered a RS. However, it is content that may have a place in this article. If there is agreement I would be fine with leaving it while citing the source inline.(olive (talk) 14:25, 25 February 2013 (UTC))

Yakov Leib HaKohain recalls (although quoting of memory and not remembering his accurate words) an answer Eliot himself gave to a question he made (as a Jewish fan of Eliot), on antisemitism on Eliot's Sweeny Poems, to Eliot himself in a lecture and public reading by Eliot at the University of Chicago when HaKohain was a graduate student there: «“I grew up in a certain social and intellectual climate where prejudice towards the Jews was simply taken for granted as part of one’s social and intellectual outlook. I’m not trying to excuse this, but to explain it. That was before WW II, during the time when I and many others were writing from within that condescending attitude, when it wasn’t considered, by us at least, to be bad or hostile. It was during that time that I wrote the poems you allude to.

“But all that changed after Hitler began his persecution of the Jews. We realized that what we had considered merely religious and social snobbery was actually vicious and unacceptable racial persecution.

“I regret and apologize for the way I portrayed the Jews in my poetry and other writings before WW II and hope it can be forgiven.” (I believe he may even have added, ‘by you and all the Jewish people.’)»[1]

I think that the Hakohain addition to this article is inappropriate for multiple reasons: 1. It's from a blog. 2. The blog info is essentially heresay. The blogger saying "This is what I heard Yakov Leib HaKohain said that he heard Eliot say (even though it may not be exactly what Eliot said)." There is no attribution to a source from HaKohain within the blog and that's what makes it heresay. This would be your textbook definition of an unreliable source. 3. It adds a lot of unverifiable info to a section that editors were trying to keep smaller in proportion to other equivalent sections (and controversial issues tend to attract a lot of attention and blow up disproportionately). 4. Although the addition provides an interesting anecdote, there's no hard evidence that Eliot ever said any of these words which are directly attributed to him. I wish he had said these words. Maybe he did. But the quotes presented include caveats like, "He might have said this or that." That's not acceptable for direct quotation of any subject.
The only way that this recent addition could be made acceptable would be if there was a credible source to back it up. Also, any direct quotation of Eliot should be something that was published or in some way documented (not based on heresay). Of course, this is just my opinion. But I didn't remove the addition to be nitpicky or just because the addition broke a single Wikipedia rule. I did it for of all the reasons stated above.Jpcohen (talk) 01:46, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
  1. ^ An Encounter With T.S. Eliot, YaLHaK's Garden of Neo-Sabbatian Verses
I agree with Jpcohen. WikiParker (talk) 11:00, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
I tend to be strict about reliable sources so my first impulse is to remove this content. It is not by the usual Wikipedia standards compliant in any way. However, it might be acceptable if the source and its context are cited inline so that the reader knows the comment was second hand. If this were a BLP, I'd say the content is definitely not usable, but as a surprising and possible twist on Eliot's anti semitism, IAR might be appropriate. That said, this kind of hearsay may weaken a strong article. Because I am seeing both side of this argument, I'd be happy to go with a consensus and the majority.(olive (talk) 18:11, 26 February 2013 (UTC))
Since it doesn't appear that any editors feel strongly in favor of keeping this addition, I am going to remove it for the reasons that I stated above. Jpcohen (talk) 01:33, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

For the time being, I agree with User:Jpcohen's analysis on why this material should be removed. Verifiablity and Reliable Sources are essential to the core credibility of Wikipedia, and while this material offers a great insight into Eliot's works and his mentality in the context of his era, these policies exist for a very salient reason. I do note that if this material could reliably sourced, I would encourage its development within the article--but only if it is reliably sourced. A blog is not a source, and regrettably Eliot's widow Valerie (a very gracious woman to young scholars) recently died so we are unable contact to her to confirm it. I will contact a few scholars to see if there are any sources, but until such sources appear, it would be inappropriate to speculate with unsubstantiated information.--ColonelHenry (talk) 01:47, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

Temporary protected status?[edit]

There has recently been quite a bit of vandalism to this article by anonymous users. Do any editors think it would be helpful to give this page semi-protected status on a temporary basis to discourage vandalism?Jpcohen (talk) 06:21, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

  • I would agree. Good call. This and Neruda are the most vandalised pages on my Watchlist and it has been at a fever pitch by IP users recently.--ColonelHenry (talk) 17:11, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

"Arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century"?[edit]

An editor recently attempted to remove from the lead of this article a quote from a Guardian book critic stating that Eliot was "arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century." The editor did not state a reason for the removal of the quote and the edit was reverted. However, the quote does sound like a good example of puffery. While a Guardian journalist is entitled to that opinion, it's not a factual statement, and I think it should not be in the lead of this article. Perhaps if the sentence was less grandiose (like stating Eliot was one of the most important English language poets of the 20th century) then it might pass the smell test. But as written, I don't think it does. Anyone have any thoughts on the matter?Jpcohen (talk) 20:27, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

  • I reverted the edit that removed this line for which you have raised these comments. I had reverted it largely because I know the lede content for this article has been discussed a lot here on the talk page and I believe if there were to be any attempts to revise it, consensus should be sought first rather than removing or adding anything under the auspices of WP:BOLD. Despite being a big fan of Eliot and his work, I don't pick a side either way on whether such a sentiment stays or goes. No one can deny Eliot's importance in 20th-century letters, and I would lean towards mentioning something along these lines in the lede--but the question is what would be the best statement of that quasi-factual assessment. The statement currently there (that I reinserted) is largely an empty plaudit. I do agree with your view that it is a bit of "puffery". There are better ways of saying it. The sentiment that Eliot is "arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century" is quite a bit more factual than mere opinion--I wouldn't describe it in terms so low as to say such a judgment was an opinion. Though I entirely see your point on qualifying it as "'one' of the most important" because anyone could make a good argument for Auden, Lowell, Frost, Williams or Stevens to be among a small group of most important poets. Moving forward, I wish we had a more precise and meaningful quote--one from a leading literary scholar or influential critic or his late editor Bob Giroux to make the point of Eliot's importance more adequately.--ColonelHenry (talk) 23:36, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

I pretty much agree with what you have written here. Thank you for the response.Jpcohen (talk) 17:03, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

  • @Jpcohen. you provided an excellent replacement.--ColonelHenry (talk) 21:57, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for suggesting this type of replacement. Jpcohen (talk) 23:13, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

Theater comment in Critical Writing section[edit]

I think that it might be best to remove the added sentence on Eliot and his critical writing on the theater because it is misleading. Eliot was still really writing about poetry in these essays (just in the context of drama in verse); perhaps this just needs to be rewritten to more accurately depict the essays in question. Eliot certainly was interested in the theater in some of his criticism; it's just a question of how that criticism is presented. Any thoughts? Jpcohen (talk) 16:10, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Made some changes to try to address this. Hopefully they are satisfactory.Jpcohen (talk) 21:42, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

I think the most telling comment on his drama criticism comes in The Paris Review interview (1959):

INTERVIEWER (Donald Hall): Do you still hold to the theory of levels in poetic drama (plot, character, diction, rhythm, meaning) which you put forward in 1932?
ELIOT: I am no longer very much interested in my own theories about poetic drama, especially those put forward before 1934. I have thought less about theories since I have given more time to writing for the theater.

Just a little food for thought.--ColonelHenry (talk) 13:23, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Cultural depictions of T. S. Eliot[edit]

The article Cultural depictions of T. S. Eliot has been nominated for deletion. Anybody interested in commenting, for or against, can do so here. __ E L A Q U E A T E 14:05, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Doubted quote[edit]

The correctness of the quote 'she would save the poet by keeping him in England', is easily verified on Amazon using Look Inside function. William Avery (talk) 10:15, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Yes. Thanks. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 13:06, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Capitalization of "Jew"[edit]

In the section on allegations of anti-Semitism, I've corrected the quotes from "Gerontion", and "Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar" from "Jew" to "jew." The latter form is used so far as I know in all authorized editions of Eliot's poetry. In a poet as fastidious as Eliot, this may be significant;be that as it may, poetry especially should be quoted accurately. Littlewindow (talk) 23:15, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Neither Nobel nor other awards are mentioned within his biography[edit]

I think it is important to include the episodes of his life when he received the awards, not even including the Nobel prize in his biography is negligence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 18 September 2015 (UTC)

A search for Nobel in the article brings up at least eight instances including one in the lede. WikiParker (talk) 11:57, 19 September 2015 (UTC)

Stock phrases[edit]

Deleted my own suggestion -- I see the article does already implement my suggestion, I was just looking in the wrong place. Littlewindow (talk) 15:28, 2 November 2015 (UTC)


Wow. This looks even stranger than Wystan Hugh Auden. Martinevans123 (talk) 16:08, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

I've moved it back. The move was not discussed. Simply south ...... time, deparment skies for just 9 years 16:27, 27 March 2016 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Edit_warring#User:Trackteur_reported_by_User:Andy_Dingley_.28Result:_.29. He's gone for CP Snow too. Andy Dingley (talk) 17:17, 27 March 2016 (UTC)
Trackteur says that T.S. Eliot is a pen name, but T.S. Eliot is his real name; a pen name is a pseudonym, a made up name, not a real name.Epinoia (talk) 00:13, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
Where does he say that? He mostly seems to have been removing it: [11][12][13].
Yes, Thomas Stearns Eliot is a birth name, T. S. Eliot is a pen name, although not a pseudonym or a made up name. So what? Our guide here should be WP:COMMONNAME, and little else. By which, T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, E. E. Cummings, W. B. Yeats and C. P. Snow are all strongly favoured. This is a little less strong in Yeats' case, as William Butler Yeats is the only one of these where their full names are even at all well known. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:52, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
Had I known it existed I would have pointed out the List of literary initials, which provides a host of examples, rather than picking a few off the top of my head. G. B. Shaw is another example where, though the form with initials is found, the full name is preferred (notwithstanding his preference for "Bernard Shaw"). William Avery (talk) 12:41, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, William, that's really useful. Who would ever call him Herbert George, for instance? (Even if one had a very sturdy sock tractor). Martinevans123 (talk) 12:47, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
Where, you ask? In Trackteur's revision of March 27, 2016 he/she says, "T. S. Eliot is pen name" - by definition, a pen name is "an assumed name used by a writer instead of their real name" (OED), "an author's pseudonym" (Webster), pseudonym: "a fictitious name" (Webster). George Orwell is the pen name or pseudonym of Eric Blair. T.S. Eliot is not a fictitious name, therefore, not a pen name. Epinoia (talk) 22:49, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
There's no restriction that a pen name must be invented. It's often (as is demonstrated here) merely a particular form of a given name, such as an initialisation. Andy Dingley (talk) 00:03, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
Check your dictionary - by definition a pen name is a fictitious name - this is the Wiktionary definition for pen name, "A fictitious name used by an author in place of their actual name." - an initialized name is not a pen name as it is not fictious - that's three dictionaries I have cited that state that a pen name is fictitious, Oxford, Webster and Wiktionary - you don't have to believe me, believe the dictionary Epinoia (talk)

University of Athens?[edit]

The infobox section for "Alma mater" states that he attended the University of Athens, but a search in the article for "Athens" or "Greece" turns up nothing, and Googling "ts eliot university of athens" likewise shows no evidence of an association. Can someone please investigate this further? Harrison (talk) 19:49, 10 July 2016 (UTC)

Changed. While he studied, taught and got honorary degrees at various places his only alma mater is Harvard. WikiParker (talk) 20:24, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
Many thanks. Harrison (talk) 23:49, 10 July 2016 (UTC)

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Opening Paragraph[edit]

The author has asked in the hypertext of the opening paragraph to exclude any mention of Eliot's American origin from the opening sentence. But it is a standard feature of Wikipedia biographies to give nod to the country of one's birth (see talk on the Harry Houdini biography. Inasmuch as he was not British until adulthood, I propose identifying him as American-English in the opening sentence. ````

Please, no. The lede has been crafted through many years to keep edit wars to a minimum. If you are interested in the topic at all you will see that Eliot was born in America in a few sentences. Saying American-English will lead to English-American to British-American to British to English to American and on and on. I've often thought it would be fun to say he was a British playwright and an American Poet ("But in [my poetry's] sources, in its emotional springs, it comes from America") but I've held back. You can too. WikiParker (talk) 12:43, 22 January 2018 (UTC)
Eliot is clearly an American writer, despite taking British citizen late in life. It, therefore, makes better sense to describe him as an American-born, British essayist, etc. He spent the formative, first 25 years of his life in the United States. Henry James is described as an American author. I note that Samuel Beckett is not called French, despite writing in French and residing there for the last 50 years of his life.
I fail to see why this small change shouldn't be made. This is a fairly small matter of emphasis. Rwood128 (talk) 23:35, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
Would the following revision be acceptable? I've tried to produce a more neutral statement; an attempt avoid the ambiguity surrounding Eliot's national identity!
Thomas Stearns Eliot, OM (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965), was born in the United States, and lived there until he moved to England in 1914. He became a British citizen in 1927. Eliot was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and "one of the twentieth century's major poets". Rwood128 (talk) 15:21, 1 May 2018 (UTC)

The above just states the facts. If there is no further comment I will revise the lede. Rwood128 (talk) 10:32, 3 May 2018 (UTC)