T.S. Eliot


Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, of an old New England family. He was educated at Harvard and did graduate work in philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and Merton College, Oxford. He settled in England, where he was for a time a schoolmaster and a bank clerk, and eventually literary editor for the publishing house Faber & Faber, of which he later became a director. He founded and, during the seventeen years of its publication (1922-1939), edited the exclusive and influential literary journal Criterion. In 1927, Eliot became a British citizen and about the same time entered the Anglican Church.  Eliot’s poetry from Prufrock (1917) to the Four Quartets (1943) reflects the development of a Christian writer: the early work, especially The Waste Land (1922), is essentially negative, the expression of that horror from which the search for a higher world arises. In Ash Wednesday (1930) and the Four Quartets this higher world becomes more visible; nonetheless Eliot has always taken care not to become a “religious poet” and often belittled the power of poetry as a religious force. However, his dramas Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Family Reunion (1939) are more openly Christian apologies. In his essays, especially the later ones, Eliot advocates a traditionalism in religion, society, and literature that seems at odds with his pioneer activity as a poet. But although the Eliot of Notes towards the Definition of Culture (1948) is an older man than the poet of The Waste Land, it should not be forgotten that for Eliot tradition is a living organism comprising past and present in constant mutual interaction. Eliot’s plays Murder in the Cathedral (1935), The Family Reunion (1939), The Cocktail Party (1949), The Confidential Clerk (1954), and The Elder Statesman (1959) were published in one volume in 1962; Collected Poems 1909-62 appeared in 1963. Source

The Song of the Jellicles

              Jellicle Cats come out to-night

              Jellicle Cats come one come all:

              The Jellicle Moon is shining bright—

              Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball.


Jellicle Cats are black and white,

Jellicle Cats are rather small;

Jellicle Cats are merry and bright,

And pleasant to hear when they caterwaul.

Jellicle Cats have cheerful faces,

Jellicle Cats have bright black eyes;


They like to practise their airs and graces

And wait for the Jellicle Moon to rise.


Jellicle Cats develop slowly,

Jellicle Cats are not too big;

Jellicle Cats are roly-poly,

They know how to dance a gavotte and a jig.

Until the Jellicle Moon appears

They make their toilette and take their repose:

Jellicle Cats wash behind their ears,

Jellicle dry between their toes.


Jellicle Cats are white and black,

Jellicle Cats are of moderate size;

Jellicle Cats jump like a jumping-jack,

Jellicle Cats have moonlit eyes.

They're quiet enough in the morning hours,

They're quiet enough in the afternoon,

Reserving their terpsichorean powers

To dance by the light of the Jellicle Moon.


Jellicle Cats are black and white,

Jellicle Cats (as I said) are small;

If it happens to be a stormy night

They will practise a caper or two in the hall.

If it happens the sun is shining bright

You would say they had nothing to do at all:

They are resting and saving themselves to be right

For the Jellicle Moon and the Jellicle Ball.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Humor & Satire


Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences

End Rhyme

when a poem has lines ending with words that sound the same


a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times