T.S. Eliot

John Worthen

‘An accomplished biographer…Highly recommended.’

‘This biography is highly readable and engaging … suitable for scholars and general readers alike.’
Library Journal


Celebrated and loved as he was by the time of his death in 1965, T.S. Eliot has enjoyed posthumous fame far greater than any other English poet. His own efforts to prevent a biography of himself spectacularly misfired; his life story has been subject to widespread speculation, in print and on film. The ‘sexual failure’ of his first marriage is widely discussed; it is often taken for granted that he was homosexual; he is also generally believed to have been profoundly anti-Semitic.

This biography frees Eliot from these distortions, and brushes away his cold and unemotional image. His close and most insightful friend, Virginia Woolf, said that Eliot was, ‘more interested in people than anything’.

Also revealed is a more sympathetic portrait of his first marriage, and a determined attempt to understand rather than blame Eliot’s actions and responses during his unhappiest years. As he said himself, ‘in the writing of verse one can only deal with actuality’, this innovative short biography rejects myth, gossip and speculation to concentrate on the poetry’s versions of the actualities of his life.

JOHN WORTHEN JOHN WORTHEN is a biographer and historian. Professor of D. H. Lawrence Studies at the University of Nottingham from 1994-2003, he is the author of critically-acclaimed biographies of D. H. Lawrence, Robert Schumann, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Regicide: The Trials of Henry Marten.

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