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P. 1
The Waste Land and Other Writings

The Waste Land and Other Writings

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4.18

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First published in 1922, "The Waste Land" is T.S. Eliot's masterpiece, and is not only one of the key works of modernism but also one of the greatest poetic achievements of the twentieth century. A richly allusive pilgrimage of spiritual and psychological torment and redemption, Eliot's poem exerted a revolutionary influence on his contemporaries, summoning forth a rich new poetic language, breaking decisively with Romantic and Victorian poetic traditions. Kenneth Rexroth was not alone in calling Eliot "the representative poet of the time, for the same reason that Shakespeare and Pope were of theirs. He articulated the mind of an epoch in words that seemed its most natural expression."As influential as his verse, T.S. Eliot's criticism also exerted a transformative effect on twentieth-century letter, and this new edition of The Waste Land and Other Writings includes a selection of Eliot's most important essays. In her new Introduction, Mary Karr dispels some of the myths of the great poem's inaccessibility and sheds fresh light on the ways in which "The Waste Land" illuminates contemporary experience.From the Hardcover edition.
First published in 1922, "The Waste Land" is T.S. Eliot's masterpiece, and is not only one of the key works of modernism but also one of the greatest poetic achievements of the twentieth century. A richly allusive pilgrimage of spiritual and psychological torment and redemption, Eliot's poem exerted a revolutionary influence on his contemporaries, summoning forth a rich new poetic language, breaking decisively with Romantic and Victorian poetic traditions. Kenneth Rexroth was not alone in calling Eliot "the representative poet of the time, for the same reason that Shakespeare and Pope were of theirs. He articulated the mind of an epoch in words that seemed its most natural expression."As influential as his verse, T.S. Eliot's criticism also exerted a transformative effect on twentieth-century letter, and this new edition of The Waste Land and Other Writings includes a selection of Eliot's most important essays. In her new Introduction, Mary Karr dispels some of the myths of the great poem's inaccessibility and sheds fresh light on the ways in which "The Waste Land" illuminates contemporary experience.From the Hardcover edition.

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Publish date: Jul 29, 2009
Added to Scribd: Apr 08, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9780307425041
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h_d_3 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I have never taken an instant like to a poet before. Not even Dorothy Parker, whom I adored reading. I don’t know what it is about Eliot, but the language just grabs you and snogs you and holds you. I just kept going back over verses, again and again, because some of the writing is just so damn pleasurable. My love for Ash Wednesday was so strong and so immediate that half a day later I was in a bookshop thumbing through the complete works.

It’s a doomed love affair. I’m sure soon enough I’ll find out he was a religious nutter who hated women or something. Until then, I’ll read a few more poems and enjoy them while I can.
sallowswine reviewed this
Rated 5/5
So far I've only read "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", but wow. Amazing. I had so many moments of sheer pleasure and fascination reading this. MOAR."I should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas"EDIT: I've read a few more. Eliot has the ability to paint a vivid, confusing picture in your mind that--for me--catches up with you a few lines later. I found myself slowly realizing a grin and having to leaf back to find what I had read that I found so warm and wonderful."The Waste Land" - I would definitely echo Ralph Ellison's sentiments: I don't get it, but damned if it isn't badass (paraphrase).
tloeffler_3 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I like Eliot's work in general, and I was not aware that The Waste Land was a World War I poem, which gave it a different perspective than I had the first time I read it.
thedivineoomba reviewed this
This is my first serious volume of poetry I read that is not required by a class. And... I'm not sure what to think. I know the poetry is well written, but I didn't get it. I think I need to read this again.
gbill_7 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
My understanding is that The Waste Land (1922) is a landmark in poetry and a very influential collection. Eliot assembled it in a Swiss sanitarium while recuperating from a nervous breakdown; among other things his marriage was deeply unhappy and beset by his wife’s many sicknesses. Eliot writes like a jazz musician plays, coming at the reader from many lyrical angles and from a wealth of cultural, philosophical, and religious references. Unfortunately, I’m not a huge jazz fan, and I had the same thing feeling reading this as I do listening to jazz. I desperately wanted to like it, but was unable to fully appreciate it. There are some flashes of brilliance and this is undoubtedly writing that will elicit a wide variety of responses. From “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, my favorite from the collection:…Do I dareDisturb the universe?In a minute there is timeFor decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.For I have known them all already, known them all: -Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;I know the voices dying with a dying fallBeneath the music from a farther room.…Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,I am no prophet – and here’s no great matter;I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,And in short, I was afraid.…It is impossible to say just what I mean!But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:Would it have been worth whileIf one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,And turning toward the window, should say:“That is not it at all,That is not what I meant, at all.”…I grow old … I grow old …I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.…From Preludes:…I am moved by fancies that are curledAround these images, and cling:The notion of some infinitely gentleInfinitely suffering thing.…From The Waste Land (III. The Fire Sermon)…The time is now propitious, as he guesses,The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,Endeavours to engage her in caressesWhich still are unreproved, if undesired.Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;Exploring hands encounter no defence;His vanity requires no response,And makes a welcome of indifference.…From The Hollow Men:…This is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsNot with a bang but with a whimper.
gcamp_8 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
T. S. Eliot, in his poetry, makes reference to many other sources such as Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare, Dante, the Bible, Wagner, etc. The man was very well read and truly a genius in putting together his poems. His poetry is a veritable citation of 'Who's Who,' however you also need to be well read to understand most of his references. Without his notes and a study guide to assist you, it is very difficult to understand the meaning behind his poetry.
joririchardson reviewed this
Rated 5/5
T.S. Eliot is truly a master of poetry. His style of dark, depressing prose, gorgeous description, veiled mysterious hidden meaning, and sharply witty satire is amazing.While some of my favorite poets have earned my respect from pretty writing, T.S. Eliot twists blackness, madness, and desperation into shining beacons of lyrical beauty.I also love how Eliot so frequently references other literary characters, especially Shakespeare. He also shows echoes of Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Marlowe, Emerson, the Bible, Arthurian Legend, Classical Greek, Shelley, Middleton, even Chopin, amongst others. These reflected acknowledgments to his heroes influence his writing deeply, and make it seem far more literary and relevant.His satire is clear and intelligent. I especially admired his short poem "The Hippopotamus," in which he compared the animal to the Roman Catholic Church.I cannot say that I had a favorite poem, as they were all brilliant. This is a perfect collection of Eliot's work.One of my favorite poets and thinkers of all time.
iayork_1 reviewed this
a good edition of Eliot for the casual reader: I found this edition by Penguin to be very useful for a casual reading. The notes on the poems, in particular "the Waste Land," are detailed enough to give the reader a perception of Eliot's vast literary knowledge and its effect on his poems. However, the notes are inadequate if your purpose is to deeply understand the background of Eliot's complex and difficult poetry. So if you are looking for deep insights, I would recommend the Norton Critical Edition. For the normal reader, this is satisfying and straightforward.
elfortunawe reviewed this
Rated 4/5
~~~On First Reading~~~There's not much to be said about these poems on first reading. For the most part they're too cryptic to be properly understood right off the bat, with one exception being "Journey of the Magi"."Journey of the Magi" is a monologue, assumedly from one of the famous Magi from the East who came looking for Jesus in the wake of a star. Basically (and I say this with a reserve of irony, since Eliot's poetry can hardly be described as basic) it concerns the effects, on one, of a religious experience.The rest of the poems will have to wait on a second reading.
keylawk reviewed this
The Waste Land refers to _____.Published in 1921, just 2 years after the unreconciled death of his deeply Unitarian father, an emotional breakdown of both TS and his wife Vivian, and ending a writer's block that had silenced him for years, this poem is an assemblage of vignettes from Eliot's life in London. The poem is intense in the sense of psychologial nuance and ironic elegance. He fuses fairly diverse images into a skilfully rhythmic whole. While similar to such academic set pieces as Milton’s "Lycidas," The Waste Land is also like jazz -- syncopated, sometimes running parallel arpeggios of ideas, and in its post-War context, essentially iconoclastic. Eliot seems to indulge a horror of life, while immersing in it, so you come away with a sharp clearly cut sense of disillusionment. The "symbolist" influence of Arthur Symons, and even the daring of the Italian futurist Tamaso Marinetti, are projected. It intrudes.My own response is that this is a kind of reaction to his bad marriage; making "art" out of those mad and mad-making conversations. I recall that Virginia Wolf, not unkindly, described TS as a poet who lived to scratch, and Vivian was his itch.

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The Waste Land and Other Writings