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T.S. Eliot

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  138 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In the twentieth century, no Anglo-American poet or critic has matched the influence of Thomas Stearns Eliot. Despite his political and religious conservatism, Eliot was among the most innovative of the literary modernists, a figure to be reckoned with by admirers and critics alike. In his Whitbread Prize-winning biography, Peter Ackroyd delves into the work and mind of a ...more
Paperback, 456 pages
Published 1985 by Frassinelli (first published January 1st 1984)
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I hardly ever read poetry, but for some reason T.S. Eliot's poetry speaks to me. Perhaps it's because, like Eliot, I used to work at a bank in the City of London, and the feeling of his poems is the exact feeling I had as a 'Hollow Man' looking at the masses of other Hollow Men crossing London Bridge to the Waste Land of the City. "I had not thought death had undone so many" - lines like that just express so much for me.

So I was happy to be able to borrow this biography of T.S. Eliot from my nei
About one third of the way into this difficult biography I was about to abandon it due to frustration, but I am very glad that I did not. Let me say at the offset that my frustration arose from the constraints placed on the author (Peter Ackroyd) being forbidden to quote T S Eliot’s published works which at times made a good deal of the book, especially the early years when his poetry was more dense, a challenge in that his literary criticism becomes so dense as to be unintelligible without the ...more
Jordan Rhames
A good overview of a great poet and a bad man
Robert Dodds
A very convincing portrait of a complex man, well supported by references to letters and other evidence. As in Peter Ackroyd's equally excellent biography of Charles Dickens, the reader is drawn into a compelling narrative. In the case of T.S.Eliot, the narrative has an unexpected - and true - final twist worthy of a novel, which mitigates some of the gloom that the poet seems to have experienced throughout his life.
A very sensitive and insightful exploration of the live of the great T. S. Eliot. Rich with genuine concern and regard for the subject whilst retaining a modesty in its penmanship. Like having a fascinating and illuminating chat with a more eloquent and intelligent buddy about a mutually loved writer. This Peter Achroyd seems very charming and skilled.
Given the obstacles Ackroyd faced with having access to the Eliot estate denied, this is an admirable attempt to exploit secondary sources to reveal the poet as an individual man. However, what this reader sought was a greater link between the man and his body of work, and true analysis of the latter was sadly absent.
Ackroyd's was the first comprehensive account of Eliot's life. Though it has been largely surpassed by Gordon's biography, it was quite a revelation when it first came out, as it offered the first clear glimpse behind Eliot's carefully constructed and maintained facade.
I liked his biography of Thomas More a lot, but this one was, well, boring. Good for people seriously interested in the poet, not so good for people interested learning about the culture of a time period through the life of one individual.
This book is extremely well written and informative. The subject matter, Eliot and his life, are what is heavy and sad and difficult. But it gives you an excellent sense of what a complicated man he was.
Stuart Field
I love Eliot and I love Ackroyd, but this is a little flat. Mainly because Eliot's estate placed restrictions on quoting the poetry! Still very interesting, but into as fascinating as it could have been.
Stosh Walsh
The definitive biography.
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Peter Ackroyd CBE is an English novelist and biographer with a particular interest in the history and culture of London.

Peter Ackroyd's mother worked in the personnel department of an engineering firm, his father having left the family home when Ackroyd was a baby. He was reading newspapers by the age of 5 and, at 9, wrote a play about Guy Fawkes. Reputedly, he first realized he was gay at the age
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