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An Anglo-American poet, critic, dramatist, and editor, Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri, Sept. 26, 1888. He was a major innovator in modern English poetry, famous above all for his revolutionary poem The Waste Land (1922). His seminal critical essays, such as those published in The Sacred Wood (1920), helped to usher in literary modernism by stressing tradition, continuity, and objective discipline over indulgent romanticism and subjective egoism. In rejecting the poetic values of the English romantics and Victorians, Eliot, along with William Butler Yeats and Ezra Pound, set new poetic standards equal to those established by James Joyce and Marcel Proust in fiction. In 1948 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Although Eliot is widely regarded as a great poet and equally great critic, some readers have been put off by his austere personality. But the best of his poems and essays have a remarkable capacity for renewing themselves and revealing a man who was not only an imaginative artist but also a keen cultural commentator who made readers reevaluate their notions of literature. Information provided by