As one of the most famous poets of the 20th century, T.S Eliot stands apart from many of his peers due to his new and unique approach to employing the principles of modernism in his writing, despite the quantity of poetry being relatively small. While he was born in the United States, he moved to England at the age of 25, ultimately giving up his American citizenship to become a British subject. His appreciation and fondness for literature started at a very early age, as an illness prevented him from socialization and he turned to literature to address his isolation. For his contributions to modern poetry, Eliot would ultimately be given the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948
Arguably his most famous work, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” follows a stream-of-consciousness style of writing, a common element in many pieces of modernist writing. The feelings displayed by the narrator include that of intellectual stagnation, missed opportunities in his physical as well as his spiritual life, embarrassment, longing, and an awareness of his own mortality. Eliot’s writing in this piece is indicative of the changing themes of literature from those of the Romantic era to those of modern literature. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land” follows a similar tone of isolation and despair, this those is largely attributed to the cultural and social decline that followed World War I. Eliot would also dedicated much of his later career to writing plays, usually comedies; one such play, “The Cocktail Party,” would earn him a Tony Award.