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The Waste Land and Other Poems by T. S.…

The Waste Land and Other Poems

by T. S. Eliot

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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.
  iayork | Aug 9, 2009 |
"April is the cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire ..." So begins The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot's most famous, if not notorious, poem--a work which still surprises and excites with its technical ambition, its range and complexity, its startling images. One of the iconic works of Modernism and one of the great 20th-century poems in English, The Waste Land places the spiritual emptiness of modern urban existence within an intricate, allusive montage which draws on history, literature, myth, and world religions: "These fragments I have shored against my ruins". Difficult, yes, but also powerful: you don't need to get the references to get the poetry.

Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and studied at Harvard and the Sorbonne in Paris before settling in London (the city that provided much of the urban detail of his post-1920 writing): a shift evidenced by his repeated allusions to the European literary inheritance (from Dante to Baudelaire and beyond) and by his refusal of the American poetic sensibility of writers like William Carlos Williams. The result was a body of writing both curiously nostalgic for a sense of "tradition" and highly inventive, suffused with an acute and perceptive sense of contemporary life and the anxieties of turn-of-the-century modernity.

This selection of his verse is a useful introduction to the range of his poetics, from the early pieces which bear the influence of French symbolist poets--most notably Jules Laforgue--to the later works which are marked by his turn towards Christianity. The nervous, amourous hesitancy delineated in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"; the memory fragments of "Gerontion"; the impressionistic canvas of "Landscapes: II. Virginia" ("Red river, red river / Slow flow heat is silence ...")--all give ample evidence that Eliot's poetry is always worth revisiting. --Burhan Tufail

The poems that "established T.S. Eliot decisively as the voice of a disillusioned generation".
  antimuzak | Jan 24, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 057109712X, Paperback)

After sitting through T.S. Eliot's reading of "The Waste Land," listeners may be inclined to hang up the earphones for a spell. There are no flaws to Eliot's steady-toned interpretation; in fact, his delivery is quite remarkable in its ability to match the poem's constant, somber mood. It's just that 25-plus minutes of Eliot's desolate landscapes--rendered even more real by the author's incessant tones--can wear on the emotions.

In addition to the full-length version of "The Waste Land," this recording includes Eliot's stirring narration of "The Hollow Men," "Sweeney Among the Nightingales," and "Macavity the Mystery Cat." Listen to Eliot read from "The Waste Land." Visit our audio help page for more information. (Running time: 47 minutes, 1 cassette) --Rob McDonald

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:11 -0400)

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