T. S. Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot

T. S.
Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot

American-born English Poet, Playwright, and Literary Critic

Author Quotes

It is impossible to design a system so perfect that no one needs to be good.

Let's not be narrow, nasty, and negative.

My life is light, waiting for the death wind, like a feather on the back of my hand.

Now that the lilacs are in bloom she has a bowl of lilacs in her room.

Our emotions are only incidents in the effort to keep day and night together.

Poetry, if it is not to be a lifeless repetition of forms, must be constantly exploring the frontiers of the spirit. But these frontiers are not like the surveys of geographical explorers, conquered once for all and settled. The frontiers of the spirit are more like the jungle which, unless continuously kept under control, is always ready to encroach and eventually obliterate the cultivated area.

So the lover must struggle for words.

The bad poet is usually unconscious where he ought to be conscious, and conscious where he ought to be unconscious. Both errors tend to make him personal. Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.

The fool, fixed in his folly, may think he can turn the wheel on which he turns.

The poet's mind is in fact a receptacle for seizing and storing up numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles which can unite to form a new compound are present together.

There are three conditions which often look alike, yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow: attachment to self and to things and to persons, detachment from self and from things and from persons; and, growing between them, indifference.

They speak better than they know, and beyond your understanding.

Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time.

Unreal friendship may turn to real but real friendship, once ended, cannot be mended

We must believe that emotion recollected in tranquility is an inexact formula. For it is neither emotion, nor recollection, nor without distortion of meaning, tranquility. It is a concentration, and a new thing resulting from the concentration of a very great number of experiences which to the practical and active person would not seem to be experiences at all; it is a concentration which does not happen consciously or of deliberation. These experiences are not recollected and they finally unite in an atmosphere which is tranquil only in that it is a passive attending upon the event.

Whatever you do ... do not complain, but take the consequences.

With their minds made up that they wouldn’t get thinner.

It is impossible to say just what I mean!

Life is long between the desire and the spasm.

My mind may be American but my heart is British.

O Lord, deliver me from the man of excellent intention and impure heart: for the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

Our high respect for a well-read person is praise enough for literature.

Politic, cautious, and meticulous; full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse.

So, while we believe that the same religion may inform a variety of cultures, we may ask whether any culture could come into being, or maintain itself, without a religious basis. We may go further and ask whether what we call the culture, and what we call the religion, of a people are not different aspects of the same thing: the culture being, essentially, the incarnation (so to speak) of the religion of a people.

The best of a bad job is all any of us make of it - except of course the saints.

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