For this Thursday, we'll unpack section 1 of T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land." This poem is largely considered to have inaugurated 'modernist poetry,' some features of which include obscure allusions, a rich use of symbolism, usage of multiple (and unannounced shifts in) point of view, lines in foreign languages, and more. Taken together, you see the creation of a kind of poetry with nearly unrivaled interpretability, but also equal heights of impenetrability. Our goal will be a close analysis of section 1 of the poem. Not only will we strive to understand T.S. Eliot, but over and above this, we'll get a sense of the kind of effort necessary to engage with modernist and by extension postmodernist literature and poetry.
Level 1 reading:
- The Waste Land, full poem: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47311/the-waste-land
(We'll focus on section 1, but feel free to read the entire poem to get a sense of it in its entirety)
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Waste_Land
Level 2 reading:
- Interactive website that explores The Waste Land http://world.std.com/~raparker/exploring/thewasteland/explore.html