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Ways In To The Text

Thomas Stearns Eliot was an American-born writer who moved to London in 1914 and remained there for the rest of his life, working as a poet, cultural and literary critic, editor, and financier. The Sacred Wood came out in 1920 and is a collection of 13 of T. S. Eliot's early essays of literary criticism. When Eliot was writing The Sacred Wood, the people who produced literary criticism tended to be writers. But Eliot's ideas about the role of the critic- and the qualities of the critical mind- helped to change that. In The Sacred Wood Eliot writes primarily about poetry. He says that poems should display integrity and "impersonality". Beyond poetry, Eliot's ideas have also been important in certain religious debates. In The Sacred Wood, he argues that literature flourishes within particular intellectual cultures. These cultures, he says, are bound together by clear religious and philosophical values.