One major difficulty is that Eliot himself helped dictate the rules for how critics interpret poetry. He did this through his many influential essays on poetry, beginning with those in The Sacred Wood, and through the way he transformed the style of modern poetry. Every young poet writing in English after Eliot has had either to imitate or to reject him often both.
Posted by interestingliterature A critical reading of a landmark modernist poem The Waste Land, first published inis arguably the most important poem of the whole twentieth century. It arguably remains a timely poem, even though its origins were very specifically the post-war Europe of ; nevertheless, the poem takes on a new significance in the age of Brexit.
Eliot, who was then beginning to make a name for himself following the publication and modest success of his first two volumes of poetry, The Waste Land has given rise to more critical analysis and scholarly interpretation than just about any other poem.
Critics and readers are still arguing over what it means. In this post, we plan to give a brief introduction to, and analysis of, The Waste Land in terms of its key themes and features.
We will then zoom in and look at the individual five sections of the poem more closely in separate posts. Poetry was mostly focused on nature imagery and rural settings.
The world of the early twentieth century is a world of motorcars, omnibuses, commuters on the London Underground, typists going to work in an office all day and then going home to canned food and gramophone records. The problem people like Eliot had with such poetry — especially as an outsider who had grown up in America — was that it had lost its ability to arrest us, to make us see the thing being described in a new way.
Images and metaphors, when overused, lose their force and vividness. It was something that a small number of poets in England had also started to address — poets such as T. So how could Eliot find out how to move poetry forward?
He would soon find his answer, while still an undergraduate, when he encountered the work of a number of nineteenth-century French poets, chiefly Charles Baudelaire and Jules Laforgue. In the city a poet could find a whole host of new images, a completely new language for poetry.
Somebody like Baudelaire found poetry in the everyday world of the city-dweller.
A good place to start with an analysis of The Waste Land is to examine the importance of literary allusion. He probably borrowed this idea from James Joyce, who had used it in his novel Ulysses, which was published in book form inthe same year as The Waste Land, but which had been appearing in instalments in the Little Review for several years prior to that.
Only the arrival of a pure-hearted stranger … permits the land to become fertile again. This is the modern world: Even the living seem to be suffering from some kind of spiritual wound. But how can we fix this society? By regaining spiritual and psychological enlightenment and making peace with our demons.
The literary allusions raise all sorts of questions about The Waste Land as a work of poetry itself. How should we interpret these? Good poetry, for Eliot, is impersonal: Eliot also argues in that essay that a new poet joins the poetic tradition by both being different from what has gone before, but also by suggesting a sense of continuum with the past.
How can we analyse The Waste Land and discover its true meaning? Is there a true meaning? Eliot was often notoriously unhelpful at providing clarification or elucidation to his poems. His notes to The Waste Land — added as an afterthought to the original poem — tend to confuse the reader as much as they assist.
When Eliot invites us in one of the notes to see the entire poem as focalised through the figure of Tiresias a man who is a mess of contradictions:The following quote was taken from T.
S. Eliot's poem "Little Gidding": "We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place. Welcome to The Literature Network! We offer searchable online literature for the student, educator, or enthusiast. To find the work you're looking for start by looking through the author index.
In the first of three lectures on T.S. Eliot, "The early poetry of T.S. Eliot is examined. Differences between Pound and Eliot, in particular the former's interest in translation versus the latter's in quotation, are suggested. Jun 06, · The Love Song of J.
Alfred Prufrock begins with a quote from Dante Alighieri's Inferno in the original Italian, the first of many outside literary references Eliot makes.
The poem seems to be steeped in allusions, which lends an air of authority to J. Alfred Prufrock's leslutinsduphoenix.coms: 5. Eliot’s wasn’t the first long modernist poem written about the War: an intriguing poem by Ford Madox Ford, ‘Antwerp’, had been written in and was a poem that Eliot himself admired.
But Eliot’s poem took the techniques of modernism to new heights. These are some of the many databases available to you as a member of Middletown Thrall Library: Artemis (now Gale Literary Sources) Searches the following databases (described below): Literature Criticism Online, Literature for Students, Literature Resource Center, and Something about the Author.