Born in St. Louis, Missouri, the innovative Modernist poet T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) was awarded the Nobel Prize for a body of work that includes the long poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, and Four Quartets. His playful book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats was adapted into the long-running Broadway musical Cats. Eliot emigrated to England as an adult and became a British citizen at 39.
Eliot’s body of work includes poems and essays with anti-Semitic content. Over the years, certain writers and critics have shone a light on these offensive pieces (in 1951, poet Emanuel Litvinoff confronted Eliot with a defiant response poem), while others have chosen to minimize their importance in relation to the rest of his writing.