The Waste Land (1922) is a poem by T.S. Eliot. After suffering a nervous breakdown, Eliot took a leave of absence from his job at a London bank to stay with his wife Vivienne at the coastal town of Margate. He worked on the poem during these months before showing an early draft to Ezra Pound, who helped edit the poem toward publication. The Waste Land, dedicated to Pound, includes hundreds of quotations of and allusions to such figures as Homer, Sophocles, Virgil, Ovid, Dante, Saint Augustine, Chaucer, Baudelaire, and Whitman, to name only a few.
Divided into five sections--"The Burial of the Dead;" "A Game of Chess;" "The Fire Sermon;" "Death by Water;" and "What the Thunder Said"--The Waste Land is a complex poem that translates Eliot's fragile emotional state and increasing dissatisfaction with married life into an apocalyptic vision of postwar England. The poem begins with a meditation on despair before moving to a polyphonic narration by figures on the theme. The third section focuses on death and denial through the lens of eastern and western religions, using Saint Augustine as a prominent figure. Eliot then moves from a brief lyric poem to an apocalyptic conclusion, declaring: "He who was living is now dead / We who were living are now dying / With a little patience." Both personal and universal, global in scope and intensely insular, The Waste Land changed the course of literary history, inspiring countless poets and establishing Eliot's reputation as one of the foremost artists of his generation.
With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land is a classic of English literature reimagined for modern readers.
From the Back Cover
"April is the cruellest month." This observation, echoing Chaucer, opens the most important poem of the twentieth century. As often imitated as it has been parodied, T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land introduced a new poetry to the world. Fragmented, polyphonic, multilingual, and mythical in scope, The Waste Land is a haunting vision of postwar Britain and a powerful excavation of self.