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The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot Presentation Transcript

1. Dilip Barad Dept. of English M.K. Bhavnagar University

2. A Poem in Five Parts The Burial of the Dead A Game of Chess The Fire Sermon Death
by Water What the Thunder Said

3. A poem made of Collage of Images Apart from these titular images, the poem is nothing but
collage of seemingly distinct images.

4. A Burial of the Dead Landscape scene: April, Winter, Spring shower Marie in the
mountains after coffee Landscape scene: deserted place, rocks, no water, fear in handful of dust,
heap of broken images Hyacinth girl Madam Sosostris tarot cards, hanged man, drowned sailor
Unreal city; London bridge, death undone so many, Stetson, buried corpse, Dog.

5. A Game of Chess Xylograph in Ladys chamber Carvings of Nightingale Myth of


Philomela barbarous king Terues Dialogue / monologue between two person without identity
You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember Nothing? . . . Are you alive, or not? Is
there nothing in your head?" Scene in coffee-shop: Lil, her husband Albert. And we shall play a
game of chess, Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door

6. The Fire Sermon To Carthage then I came Burning burning burning burning O Lord Thou
pluckest me out O Lord Thou pluckest

7. Death by Water Phlebas the Phoenician A current under sea Picked his bones in whispers.
As he rose and fell He passed the stages of his age and youth Entering the whirlpool. Gentle or Jew O
you who turn the wheel and look to windward, Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as
you.

8. What the Thunder Said Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Shantih shantih shantih The Peace
that passeth all understanding

9. Thematic Reading Spiritual draught leading towards sexual perversion Sexual perversion
leading towards spiritual draught Good and Evil: . . . So far as we are human, what we do must be
either evil or good; so far as we do evil or good, we are human; and it is better, in a paradoxical way, to
do evil than to do nothing: at least, we exist (Baudelaire -1921) Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) was
a French poet, critic and translator

10. Thematic Reading Life in Death and Death in Life: Of hardly less importance to reader,
however, is a knowledge of Eliots basic method. The Waste Land is built on a major contrast a
device which is a favorite of Eliots and is to be found in many of his poems, particularly his later
poems. The contrast is between two kinds of life and two kinds of death. Life devoid of meaning is
death; sacrifice, even the sacrificial death, may be life-giving, an awakening to life. The poem occupies
itself to a great extent with this paradox, and with a number of variations upon it. ~Cleanth Brooks
The Waste Land: Critique of the Myth (1939)

11. Thematic Reading Western society had exhausted its spiritual and cultural legacy. The
socio-cultural malaise that affected Western Society in the 1920s is very effectively projected by Eliot
in his poem The Waste Land. In its epic sweep, it captures the near collapse of 2000 years of Western
civilization. I.A.Richards and Cleanth Brooks agree that this poem is essentially a religious poem a
Christian poem. The Christian material is at the centre, but the poet never deals with it directly.

12. Universality of Theme F.O.Matthiessen reveals the resembling contrast between the past
and present to give universality to this modern epic poem. Sexual sins, perversion of sex, have
always let to degeneration and decay. Examples of Fisher King, Oedipus and Thebes, Philomela,
Elizabeth and Leicester etc In all these respect, the present resembles the past. In past suffering
and penance resulted in spiritual regeneration and return to good spiritual health. The achievement
of T. S. Eliot: an essay on the nature of poetry ~ Francis Otto Matthiessen (1935)

13. Universality of Theme Although the Waste Land may begin with the dilemma of the
modern mind, it discovers that the modern dilemma is the historic dilemma, and to limit the poems
meaning to being primarily the expression of modern lack of faith is to mistake its form and scope.
The Art of T.S. Eliot ~ Helen Gardner (1949)

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14. Central Theme The gist of the poem is apparently a wild revolt from the abomination of
desolation which is human life, combined with a belief in salvation by the usual catchwords of
renunciation this salvation being also the esoteric significance of the savage fertility-rituals found in
the Golden Bough, a watering, as it were, of the desert of the suffering soul. The Waste Land
New Statesman 22 (3 Nov 1923) ~ F.L. Lucas

15. Unity of the Poem Tiresias: . . . though blind, throbbing between two lives, Old man with
wrinkled female breasts He is the thread of the rosary who knots various beads together gives
unifying effect seemingly disjointed mumbo- jumbo The Waste Land.

16. Unity of the Poem Tiresias Blind and spiritually embittered, old and impotent
Wandering about in great quest, stands for modern man in quest of true spiritual light and viable
moral values. What he sees in the substance of the poem The Waste Land is his stream of
consciousness, and embittered conscience of Human civilization

17. Unity of the Poem Mythical Technique: It provides a pattern, a way of controlling and
ordering and giving shape to what is shapeless and chaotic It provides a norm for measuring the
extent of degeneracy in contemporary Europe. It shows that the present spiritual predicament is an
ever-recurring phenomena and so a universal significance is imparted to it It emphasises the wide
gulf which separated the present godless humanity for the early human society when spiritual values
where intact. It helps poet to put together the time and space compress whole ages within a short
span and poem gains comprehensiveness. Thus, what requires 12 cantos to say, is effectively said in 5
small parts of poem. Myths form the part of collective consciousness. It helps poet in
communicating his meaning with minimal explanation.

18. Unity of the Poem: Oneness of Characters Aesthetically merging erudition and emotion
through a cacophony of diverse and often dissonant voices, The Waste Land serves as a microcosm of
the modern state of mind and the state of the world itself. The personality and experiences of
individuals are fused together, obscuring boundaries to form a richly layered paradigm of the
universal psyche The character are rather symbolic than individual. ~ Rebecca Howden

19. The Structure of the Poem The structure is that of spiral up and down. The poem proceeds
with deeper and deeper probing into the modern malaise. Throughout the poem we come back to the
same point, but at different levels. I.A. Richards The Principles of Literary Criticism (1926) calls it
Music of Ideas: Ideas of all kinds, abstract and concrete, general and particular, are arranged like the
musicians phrases not that they may provide information or tell us something but that their
effects in us may combine into a coherent whole of feeling and attitude and produce a peculiar
liberation of the will. They are there to be responded to, not to be pondered or worked out.

1. Thomas Stearns Eliot(1888-1965)Thomas Stearns Eliot.

2. T. S. Eliot 1. Life 1888: he was born in St. Louis, Missouri. 1910: he studied in Paris at the
Sorbonne. 1915: he married the British ballet dancer Vivienne Haigh-Wood. 1917: he established
himself as an important avant-garde poet. Thomas Stearns Eliot. Only Connect ... New Directions

3. T. S. Eliot 1. Life 1922: he edited The Criterion, an intellectual magazine. His professions
included being a poet, a critic and an editor. 1925: he became director for the publishers Faber &
Faber. 1927: he acquired British citizenship and converted to Anglicanism. Thomas Stearns Eliot.
Only Connect ... New Directions

4. T. S. Eliot 1. Life 1930: for the next thirty years he was considered as the most dominant
figure in poetry and literary criticism in the English- speaking world. 1948: he received the Nobel
Prize for literature. 1965: he died in London. Thomas Stearns Eliot. Only Connect ... New Directions

5. T. S. Eliot 2. Works Before the conversion 1917: Prufrock and other Observations. 1922: The
Waste Land. It is said to be the single most influential poetic work of the twentieth century. 1925:
The Hollow Men. Cover for the first edition of Prufrock and other Observations Only Connect ... New
Directions

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6. T. S. Eliot 2. Works After the conversion 1927: Ariel Poems. 1930: Ash-Wednesday. 19351942: Four Quartets. 1935: Murder in the Cathedral. A contemporary edition of Murder in the
Cathedral 1939: Family Reunion. Only Connect ... New Directions

7. T. S. Eliot 3. T. S. Eliots world and the 19th-century world Modern/T. S. Eliots world 19thcentury world Chaotic Ordered Futile Meaningful Pessimistic Optimistic Unstable Stable Loss of faith
Faith Collapse of moral values Morality/Values Confused sense of identity Clear sense of identity Only
Connect ... New Directions

8. T. S. Eliot 4. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Poetic form: a dramatic monologue.
Content: the protagonists realization of death within life, the lost opportunities in his life and the lack
of any spiritual progress. The speaker: a middle-aged passive, aimless man. He is linked to: 1. physical
and intellectual inertia. 2. inability to communicate with his fellow-beings. Style: juxtaposition of
poetic images with everyday phrases and images; objective correlative instead of direct statements.
Only Connect ... New Directions

9. T. S. Eliot 5. The Waste Land: content It is an autobiography written in a moment of crisis


in the life of the poet. It consists of five sections; it reflects the fragmented experience of the 20thcentury sensibility of the great modern cities of the West. A contemporary edition of The Waste Land.
Only Connect ... New Directions

10. T. S. Eliot 5. The Waste Land: content It is an anthology of indeterminate states of the
mind, hallucinations, impressions, personalities blended and superimposed beyond the boundaries of
time and place. The speaking voice is related to various personalities: Tiresias, a knight from the
Grail legend, the Fisher King. A contemporary edition of The Waste Land. Only Connect ... New
Directions

11. T. S. Eliot 6. The Waste Land: themes The disillusionment and disgust of the period after
World War I. Contrast between past fertility and present sterility. The mythical past linked to a
absence of rebirth. April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory
and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. (I section) Only Connect ... New Directions

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made universal. Use of Juxtaposition. First draft of The Waste Land, third section. Only Connect ...
New Directions

13. T. S. Eliot 7. The Waste Land: style Quotations from different languages and literary
works. Fragmentation. Technique of implication: the active participation of the reader is required.
Objective correlative. Repetition of words, images and phrases. First draft of The Waste Land, third
section. Only Connect ... New Directions

14. T. S. Eliot 8. The objective correlative: T. S. Eliot and Montale For Eliot, the objective
correlative is a pattern of objects, events, actions, or a situation that can serve effectively to awaken
in the reader an emotional response without being a direct statement of that subjective emotion. Only
Connect ... New Directions

15. T. S. Eliot 8. The objective correlative: T. S. Eliot and Montale What The Thunder said
Meriggiare pallido e assorto (Ossi di Seppia) Here is no water but only rock Meriggiare pallido e
assorto Rock and no water and the sandy road presso un rovente muro dorto, The road winding
above among the ascoltare tra i pruni e gli sterpi mountains schiocchi di merli, frusci di serpi. Which
landscape in Montale. Only Connect ... New Directions

16. T. S. Eliot 9. The Hollow Men Linked to The Waste Land. Main themes: despair and
desolation. No redemption is possible because of the lack of faith. Parallel between past and
present. Only Connect ... New Directions

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17. T. S. Eliot 10. Journey of the Magi (Ariel Poems) Written after his conversion to
Christianity. Content: the journey to the birthplace of Christ told by one of the Magi. No celebration:
the journey is painful and meaningless. At first there is the regret of the previous life characterised
by alienation. The Journey of the Magi fragment of a picture with the Adoration of the Magi, Sassetta,
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Only Connect ... New Directions

18. T. S. Eliot 10. Journey of the Magi (Ariel Poems) Written after his conversion to
Christianity. Content: the journey to the birthplace of Christ told by one of the Magi. End of
paganism in the last lines. The Magus cannot feel at home among an alien people clutching their
gods (line 42). This captures the awkwardness felt by the faithful among nonbelievers and The
Journey of the Magi fragment of a picture with the vice-versa. Adoration of the Magi, Sassetta,
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Only Connect ... New Directions
Eliot, T.S.
The Waste Land and criticism
T.S. Eliot.
Encyclopdia Britannica, Inc.
With the publication in 1922 of his poemThe Waste Land, Eliot won an international reputation. The
Waste Landexpresses with great power the disenchantment, disillusionment, and disgust of the
period after World War I. In a series of vignettes, loosely linked by the legend of the search for the
Grail, it portrays a sterile world of panicky fears and barren lusts, and of human beings waiting for
some sign or promise of redemption. The poem's style is highly complex, erudite, and allusive, and the
poet provided notes and references to explain the work's many quotations and allusions. This
scholarly supplement distracted some readers and critics from perceiving the true originality of the
poem, which lay rather in its rendering of the universal human predicament of man desiring
salvation, and in its manipulation of language, than in its range of literary references. In his earlier
poems Eliot had shown himself to be a master of the poetic phrase. The Waste Landshowed him to be,
in addition, a metrist of great virtuosity, capable of astonishing modulations ranging from the sublime
to the conversational.
The Waste Land consists of five sections and proceeds on a principle of rhetorical discontinuity that
reflects the fragmented experience of the 20th-century sensibility of the great modern cities of the
West. Eliot expresses the hopelessness and confusion of purpose of life in the secularized city, the
decay of urbs aeterna (the eternal city). This is the ultimate theme of The Waste Land, concretized
by the poem's constant rhetorical shifts and its juxtapositions of contrasting styles. But The Waste
Land is not a simple contrast of the heroic past with the degraded present; it is, rather, a timeless
simultaneous awareness of moral grandeur and moral evil. The poem's original manuscript of about
800 lines was cut down to 433 at the suggestion of Ezra Pound. The Waste Land is not Eliot's greatest
poem, though it is his most famous.
Eliot said that the poet-critic must write programmatic criticismthat is, criticism that expresses
the poet's own interests as a poet, quite different from historical scholarship, which stops at placing
the poet in his background. Consciously intended or not, Eliot's criticism created an atmosphere in
which his own poetry could be better understood and appreciated than if it had to appear in a literary
milieu dominated by the standards of the preceding age. In the essay Tradition and the Individual
Talent, appearing in his first critical volume,The Sacred Wood (1920), Eliot asserts that tradition, as
used by the poet, is not a mere repetition of the work of the immediate past (novelty is better than
repetition, he said); rather, it comprises the whole of European literature, from Homer to the
present. The poet writing in English may therefore make his own tradition by using materials from
any past period, in any language. This point of view is programmatic in the sense that it disposes the
reader to accept the revolutionary novelty of Eliot's polyglot quotations and serious parodies of other
poets' styles in The Waste Land.

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Also in The Sacred Wood, Hamlet and His Problems sets forth Eliot's theory of the objective
correlative:
The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an objective correlative; in other
words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula for that particular
emotion; such that, when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given,
the emotion is immediately evoked.
Eliot used the phrase objective correlative in the context of his own impersonal theory of poetry; it
thus had an immense influence toward correcting the vagueness of late Victorian rhetoric by insisting
on a correspondence of word and object. Two other essays, first published the year after The Sacred
Wood, almost complete the Eliot critical canon: The Metaphysical Poetsand Andrew Marvell,
published in Selected Essays, 191732 (1932). In these essays he effects a new historical perspective
on the hierarchy of English poetry, putting at the top Donne and other Metaphysical poets of the 17th
century and lowering poets of the 18th and 19th centuries. Eliot's second famous phrase appears
heredissociation of sensibility, invented to explain the change that came over English poetry after
Donne and Andrew Marvell. This change seems to him to consist in a loss of the union of thought and
feeling. The phrase has been attacked, yet the historical fact that gave rise to it cannot be denied, and
with the poetry of Eliot and Pound it had a strong influence in reviving interest in certain 17th-century
poets.
The first, or programmatic, phase of Eliot's criticism ended with The Use of Poetry and the Use of
Criticism(1933)his Charles Eliot Norton lectures at Harvard. Shortly before this his interests had
broadened into theology and sociology; three short books, or long essays, were the result: Thoughts
After Lambeth (1931), The Idea of a Christian Society (1939), and Notes Towards the Definition of
Culture (1948). These book-essays, along with his Dante (1929), an indubitable masterpiece,
broadened the base of literature into theology and philosophy: whether a work is poetry must be
decided by literary standards; whether it is great poetry must be decided by standards higher than the
literary.
Eliot's criticism and poetry are so interwoven that it is difficult to discuss them separately. The great
essay on Dante appeared two years after Eliot was confirmed in the Church of England (1927); in that
year he also became a British subject. The first long poem after his conversion was Ash Wednesday
(1930), a religious meditation in a style entirely different from that of any of the earlier poems. Ash
Wednesday expresses the pangs and the strain involved in the acceptance of religious belief and
religious discipline. This and subsequent poems were written in a more relaxed, musical, and
meditative style than his earlier works, in which the dramatic element had been stronger than the
lyrical. Ash Wednesday was not well received in an era that held that poetry, though autonomous, is
strictly secular in its outlook; it was misinterpreted by some critics as an expression of personal
disillusion
Eliot, T.S.
The Waste Land and criticism
T.S. Eliot.
Encyclopdia Britannica, Inc.
With the publication in 1922 of his poemThe Waste Land, Eliot won an international reputation. The
Waste Landexpresses with great power the disenchantment, disillusionment, and disgust of the
period after World War I. In a series of vignettes, loosely linked by the legend of the search for the
Grail, it portrays a sterile world of panicky fears and barren lusts, and of human beings waiting for
some sign or promise of redemption. The poem's style is highly complex, erudite, and allusive, and the
poet provided notes and references to explain the work's many quotations and allusions. This
scholarly supplement distracted some readers and critics from perceiving the true originality of the
poem, which lay rather in its rendering of the universal human predicament of man desiring

6|Page

salvation, and in its manipulation of language, than in its range of literary references. In his earlier
poems Eliot had shown himself to be a master of the poetic phrase. The Waste Landshowed him to be,
in addition, a metrist of great virtuosity, capable of astonishing modulations ranging from the sublime
to the conversational.
The Waste Land consists of five sections and proceeds on a principle of rhetorical discontinuity that
reflects the fragmented experience of the 20th-century sensibility of the great modern cities of the
West. Eliot expresses the hopelessness and confusion of purpose of life in the secularized city, the
decay of urbs aeterna (the eternal city). This is the ultimate theme of The Waste Land, concretized
by the poem's constant rhetorical shifts and its juxtapositions of contrasting styles. But The Waste
Land is not a simple contrast of the heroic past with the degraded present; it is, rather, a timeless
simultaneous awareness of moral grandeur and moral evil. The poem's original manuscript of about
800 lines was cut down to 433 at the suggestion of Ezra Pound. The Waste Land is not Eliot's greatest
poem, though it is his most famous.
Eliot said that the poet-critic must write programmatic criticismthat is, criticism that expresses
the poet's own interests as a poet, quite different from historical scholarship, which stops at placing
the poet in his background. Consciously intended or not, Eliot's criticism created an atmosphere in
which his own poetry could be better understood and appreciated than if it had to appear in a literary
milieu dominated by the standards of the preceding age. In the essay Tradition and the Individual
Talent, appearing in his first critical volume,The Sacred Wood (1920), Eliot asserts that tradition, as
used by the poet, is not a mere repetition of the work of the immediate past (novelty is better than
repetition, he said); rather, it comprises the whole of European literature, from Homer to the
present. The poet writing in English may therefore make his own tradition by using materials from
any past period, in any language. This point of view is programmatic in the sense that it disposes the
reader to accept the revolutionary novelty of Eliot's polyglot quotations and serious parodies of other
poets' styles in The Waste Land.
Also in The Sacred Wood, Hamlet and His Problems sets forth Eliot's theory of the objective
correlative:
The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an objective correlative; in other
words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula for that particular
emotion; such that, when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given,
the emotion is immediately evoked.
Eliot used the phrase objective correlative in the context of his own impersonal theory of poetry; it
thus had an immense influence toward correcting the vagueness of late Victorian rhetoric by insisting
on a correspondence of word and object. Two other essays, first published the year after The Sacred
Wood, almost complete the Eliot critical canon: The Metaphysical Poetsand Andrew Marvell,
published in Selected Essays, 191732 (1932). In these essays he effects a new historical perspective
on the hierarchy of English poetry, putting at the top Donne and other Metaphysical poets of the 17th
century and lowering poets of the 18th and 19th centuries. Eliot's second famous phrase appears
heredissociation of sensibility, invented to explain the change that came over English poetry after
Donne and Andrew Marvell. This change seems to him to consist in a loss of the union of thought and
feeling. The phrase has been attacked, yet the historical fact that gave rise to it cannot be denied, and
with the poetry of Eliot and Pound it had a strong influence in reviving interest in certain 17th-century
poets.
The first, or programmatic, phase of Eliot's criticism ended with The Use of Poetry and the Use of
Criticism(1933)his Charles Eliot Norton lectures at Harvard. Shortly before this his interests had
broadened into theology and sociology; three short books, or long essays, were the result: Thoughts
After Lambeth (1931), The Idea of a Christian Society (1939), and Notes Towards the Definition of
Culture (1948). These book-essays, along with his Dante (1929), an indubitable masterpiece,
broadened the base of literature into theology and philosophy: whether a work is poetry must be

7|Page

decided by literary standards; whether it is great poetry must be decided by standards higher than the
literary.
Eliot's criticism and poetry are so interwoven that it is difficult to discuss them separately. The great
essay on Dante appeared two years after Eliot was confirmed in the Church of England (1927); in that
year he also became a British subject. The first long poem after his conversion was Ash Wednesday
(1930), a religious meditation in a style entirely different from that of any of the earlier poems. Ash
Wednesday expresses the pangs and the strain involved in the acceptance of religious belief and
religious discipline. This and subsequent poems were written in a more relaxed, musical, and
meditative style than his earlier works, in which the dramatic element had been stronger than the
lyrical. Ash Wednesday was not well received in an era that held that poetry, though autonomous, is
strictly secular in its outlook; it was misinterpreted by some critics as an expression of personal
disillusion