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T. S. Eliot

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  195 Ratings  ·  19 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
Published September 19th 1985 by Sphere (first published 1984)
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Oct 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Caleb Parnin
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very researched and impressive summation of one of the great modernist poets. That said, periods were quite hard to maintain interest....
Michael Lineback
Biographical details of TS Eliot's life are hard to come by. Acktoyd's biography covers Eliot's life but is a bit dry and tedious.
Apr 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Philip Lane
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was fascinated by this biography of T.S.Eliot as I knew very little about him but had enjoyed his poetry as a teenager. I believe that Ackroyd writes in a very straight forward style and occasionally makes his own assumptions but these are clearly marked as his own views. The problem with the book perhaps is not that of the author but that of the subject. It emerges in the book that there are a lot of unanswered questions and contradictions regarding Eliot's feelings, beliefs and emotions. It ...more
Robert Dodds
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A polished account of a sad and mostly lonely life. Although this is definitely a literary biography with a sustained effort to link the works and the life, it remains unclear why Eliot wrote what he did when he did. While there is clearly respect and even sympathy from the biographer, one has a sneaking feeling that Ackroyd cannot bring himself to empathize with his subject. The end result is a comprehensive but rather clinical account of the man and his works.
Mid 2. 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.
May 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
May 02, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eliot_studies
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.
Apr 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
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.
Dec 16, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
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.
J. Alfred
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eliot is an interesting guy and this is a strong biography. Delivers what one asks!
Andrew Darling
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superb. Makes sense of so much that was opaque. Beautifully written, too.
Stosh Walsh
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
More about Peter Ackroyd...

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