T. S. Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot

T. S.
Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot

American-born English Poet, Playwright, and Literary Critic

Author Quotes

The effect of a work of art upon the person who enjoys it is an experience different in kind from any experience not of art... Great poetry may be made without direct use of any emotion whatever: composed out of feelings solely... It is not the “greatness,” the intensity, of the emotions, the components, but the intensity of the artistic process, the pressure, to so to speak, under which the fusion takes place, that counts.

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.

No poet, no artist, of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead. I mean this as a principle of aesthetic, not merely historical, criticism. The necessity that he shall conform, that he shall cohere, is not one-sided; what happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it. The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new (the really new) work of art among them.

Human kind can not bear very much reality.

I take as metaphysical poetry that in which what is ordinarily apprehensible only by thought is brought within the grasp of feeling, or that in which what is ordinarily only felt is transformed into thought without ceasing to be feeling.

Each venture is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate with shabby equipment always deteriorating in the general mess of imprecision of feeling.

Culture is the one thing that we cannot deliberately aim at. It is the product of a variety of more or less harmonious activities, each pursued for its own sake.

Any religion... is for ever in danger of petrifaction into mere ritual and habit, though ritual and habit be essential to religion.

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, where the past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point , the still point, there would be no dance, and there is only the dance. I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where. And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time. The inner freedom from the practical desire, the release from action and suffering, release from the inner and outer compulsion, yet surrounded by a grace of sense, a white light still and moving...

We shall not cease from exploration and the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. We started and know the place for the first time. Through the unknown remembered gate where the earth left to discover is that which was the beginning. At the source of the longest river, the voice of the hidden waterfall and the children in the apple tree. Not known, because not looked for. But heart, half heard in the stillness between two waves of the sea. Quick now, here, now always a condition of complete simplicity costing not less than everything. And all shall beware and all manner of things shall beware when the tongues of flames are enfolded into the crown not of fire, and the fire and the rose are one.

A tradition without intelligence is not worth having.

Time present and time past are both perhaps time future. And time future contained in the time passed. If all time is eternally present, all time is unredeemable. What might have been is an abstraction remaining of a perpetual possibility only in a world of speculation. What might have been and what has been point to one end which is always present. Foot falls echo in the memory down the passage which we did not take towards the door we never opened to the rose garden. My words echo in your mind.

It is by no means self-evident that human beings are most real when violently excited: violent physical passions do not in themselves differentiate men from each other, but rather tend to reduce them to the same state.

Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.

Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important... they do not mean to do harm... they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.

In my beginning is my end... In my end is my beginning.

After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now history has many cunning passages, contrived corridors and issues, deceives with whispering ambitions, guides us by vanities. Think now she gives when our attention is distracted and what she gives, gives with such supple confusions that the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late what’s not believed in, or if still believed, in memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon into weak hands, what’s thought can be dispensed with till the refusal propagates a fear. Think neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices are fathered by our heroism. Virtues are forced upon us by our impudent crimes. These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.

Complete equality means universal irresponsibility.

Author Picture
First Name
T. S.
Last Name
Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot
Birth Date
Death Date

American-born English Poet, Playwright, and Literary Critic