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The Waste Land and Other Writings the Waste Land and Other Writings

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4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,345 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
First published in 1922, "The Waste Land" is T.S. Eliot's masterpiece, and is not only one of the key works of modernism but also one of the greatest poetic achievements of the twentieth century.A richly allusive pilgrimage of spiritual and psychological torment and redemption, Eliot's poem exerted a revolutionary influence on his contemporaries, summoning forth a rich new ...more
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Published August 16th 2009 by Modern Library (first published 1922)
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Steve
Sep 03, 2009 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My road trip read while visiting the in-laws. I've read most of these before, but in this case what I'm gaining from my previous Eliot readings are 1) Mary Karr's outstanding introductory essay, and 2) a number of the Eliot essays. To be honest, I don't know if I'll read all of the essays. But back to Karr, she sets up the "Wasteland" wonderfully, explaining the importance of Eliot in his time, while at the same time arguing for his accessibility -- and his continuing relevance. She counsels the ...more
Ken Moten
Well this is awkward. It turns out there ARE notes/annotations for The Waste Land after the poem, notes by no-less than Eliot himself! But, the catch is that much of it is non-english which means I still can't read it, which means Eliot in his modernist fashion has meta-trolled me, which means that despite the corrections of my original review the rating is unchanged. I will not take any words out but merely cross out the places were I feel I erred.

"The reason why I gave this 3 stars is NOT bec
...more
Jeff
Aug 09, 2016 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poultry, lit-crit, 2014
Q: If you want to read poetry criticism and poetry for 1 year solid, what could be better than an all-in-one like this?
A: Selected... or Collected Works of... would've been better because

#1
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is one of my favorite songs of all time. I'd love to read it once a day until it's recitable upon request. "The Waste Land," i can almost hear you, feel you, touch you: someday? The rest of his lines, however—even the pretty "Preludes"—seem like mere practice verses, or d
...more
Ronald Wise
Jul 25, 2016 Ronald Wise rated it really liked it
I found the poetry making up the first third of this book surprisingly very enjoyable – perhaps because of the attitude preparation I gained from Mary Karr’s introduction, “How to Read ‘The Waste Land’ So It Alters Your Soul Rather Than Just Addling Your Head.” I especially appreciated her perspective on Modernist poetry and how it relates to the culture of my existence.

The last two thirds of this book were critical essays. Starting with critiques of critics, great diligence was required to garn
...more
Robert Wood
Apr 05, 2014 Robert Wood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eliot's political views are repugnant to say the least, but this collection of poetry and literary criticism is worth your time. The collection includes some of Eliot's most notable early poetry and some literary criticism. I can't say much about the poetry other than I enjoyed it, but the literary criticism also was enjoyable, offering a narrow engagement with the English tradition of literary criticism. It would have been nice to have the volume translate some of the French passages, but overa ...more
Gordon McCullough
Jan 31, 2008 Gordon McCullough rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to read something by the polar opposite of Walt Whitman
Recommended to Gordon by: College Prof
Shelves: poetry
Why do I sense a link between the speaker/voice of The Waste Land and the character Pink in the movie The Wall? Perhaps it is the feeling that the soul is under seige from the powers that be, that we all are indeed robotic caricatures of ourselves because we are being manipulated to think and act in similar ways. We are indeed taught to be consumers, slaves to name brand products drummed into our brains from cradle to grave. I remember asking our 3rd grade why the history book said Columbus disc ...more
Sarah
Jun 16, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While reading about myth (Campbell) and also paying attention and suddenly finding references to "the Waste Land" in many places, I decided to sit down and read the whole thing, and in book form not online. I'm glad I did 1) because I wanted to enter the space of the poem, and not bring the poem up as one tab among so many on my browser space, 2) Because getting into the right headspace to read this poem was immensely helped by reading Mary Karr's introduction.
I had resolved that I wouldn't read
...more
Jamie
Apr 28, 2012 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
T.S. Eliot was a master of so many languages and always instilled a haunting theme into his writings. His imagery is certainly moving, but his scenes shift so quickly that I was not always able to grasp the intended messages. His criticism of other poets through time and his search for true artistic poetry and its origin demonstrates his superior level of intellect and insight. His definition of a poet's mind as a medium in which special feelings are at liberty to enter new combinations demonstr ...more
AK
Jul 02, 2012 AK rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, read-2012
Read this edition, because the Mary Karr introductory essay is great. I've spent too long in school and didn't feel comfortable just reading The Waste Land without any major prep work or whatever, and so I diligently read Karr's essay first (because somehow I made it to 30 years old without reading this poem, embarrassing) and she told me to just go ahead and read it and experience it and think about whatever it makes me think about. Modernism this modernist can really be alienating to people an ...more
Charles Bechtel
Jul 25, 2011 Charles Bechtel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Poets and essayists
Recommended to Charles by: No one
I've always preferred The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock to The Waste Land, but this little book brings me freshly to a worthy work I'd only seen in textbooks. I still think Lovesong is as gorgeous and stimulating as ever.

This is a small book, but not so easily read. In the critical essays, each sentence spawns a dozen thoughts, of which half one may discard, and half of the remaining arguable. Reading straight through develops a sense in the reader that this is a look into the mind of a brillia
...more
Debbie Howell
Dec 14, 2008 Debbie Howell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What the ...? Genius, unintelligible, meaningful, beautiful, crude, challenging, profound, nonsense, brilliant. I loved it and hated it, but in the end, I more loved it. I found the introductory essay very helpful--I took the suggested approach of just "listening" to the poems rather than trying to figure out line by line the meaning. But still, it was frustrating when Eliot broke into Latin or French or various other languages, as then I couldn't fully appreciate either the sound or the meaning ...more
Matt Beitel
Feb 13, 2009 Matt Beitel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had always seen this book when I walked into bookshops but had never bothered to pick it up and look at it. I see it now as I wasn't ready for it then. But over Christmas a very, very dear friend of mine bought it for me as a gift. I read it; and now am a devout Eliot follower. I think "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is the best in the collection, though "The Waste Land" does have its wonder "shantih, shantih, shantih" and "Ash-Wednesday" is to me, what "Phantastes" was to C.S. Lewis. I ...more
Kira
Oct 09, 2014 Kira rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I respect Eliot as a writer and understand the importance of his writing but I think to fully comprehend his messages I may have to come back to this at a little date in my life.
David
Nov 01, 2015 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the contrast between Eliot's poetry and criticism interesting. He almost seemed to be the kind of critic that wouldn't think highly of his poetry.
Sarah Wingo
Oct 18, 2010 Sarah Wingo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd only ever read bits and pieces of The Waste Land and a random assortment of his other works, so I figured I might as well sit down and properly read them.

I quite enjoyed myself. I know that The Waste Land is supposed to be massively depressing, and I understand that, I do. It's just that while the picture that Eliot paints is bleak, he paints it so vividly, and with such hauntingly beautiful colors.

*Also, just a note on Mary Karr who edited this volume. I really appreciated her introduction
...more
J.C.
Sep 21, 2012 J.C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, literature, banned
This is my second time reading The Waste Land, and this time i made sure to understand it- i took an english class that had the book as part of its curriculum. Luckily i didn't have to write any papers, and it was entirely discussion based.

The poem deserves the notoriety it has. Whether you love it or hate it, its a fine work of Lost Generation poetic art.

If youre gonna read it, be sure to read it with others or sparknotes or something, to make sure you can really grasp the poem. Also theres a
...more
Chester
Jul 18, 2007 Chester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Wasteland is the perfect encapsulation of the haunting and incalcuable effect of World War I on literature and life. From the opening lines which mock the jaunty lead to The Canterbury Tales to the final words, a sanskrit invocation to peace and possibly hope, "Shantih, shantih, shantih", Eliot weaves a tapestry of images, words and arresting moments that say so much and give away nothing.

And Prufrock is simply the best poem ever...in our poetic lives, we'd all like to be Byron, but we are m
...more
Misslapin
While I do enjoy poetry (I love Larkin, Petrarch, Baudelaire, Whitman, Dante, and Rimbaud), I just can't find a way into to Eliot. Perhaps it's because the poetry is SO intertextual (and Eliot is aware of that as he appended notes to the Wasteland) that I find it impossible to immerse myself in the actual poem. Instead, I get overwhelmed by the constant flux of languages and literary references.

His work certainly references and interweaves varies fascinating sources, but ultimately it's too den
...more
Olivia
Feb 22, 2009 Olivia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, painful-reads
Okay.
What?
I have no idea what went on here. Even after reading Sparknotes in hopes that it would help me out I just didn't get the meaning and point behind this poem.
Perhaps, once it's explained to me then I will appreciate it. But, until then, I will go on thinking that it is a confusing piece of overrated literature.
Maybe my professor though, will change my current feelings of the poem, once we analyze it in class. Until then though...
I guess modernism just isn't my cup of tea.
Cami
Aug 21, 2008 Cami rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I loved the all the poems under The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Didn't care for the next section: Poems and The Waste Land could have been very interesting if not for being chock-full of obscure references. I would not be opposed to exploring those references and understanding it better at another time in my life, but I simply don't have that kind of time.
I glanced over the literary criticisms also included in this book, but they're a bit too textbook for me right now.
Scotty
Aug 02, 2016 Scotty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1920-1929
i really shouldn't like eliot. he's as pretentious as poets get, and not only that, he's responsible for the musical cats. but he's good at what he does. so freaking good. i swear, prufrock was written from my thoughts and the waste land...well, that's just on its own planet. i don't care what cut you come from in life, if you have any artistic sense in your bones, there's something to be found in eliot's writing.
Red
Jun 14, 2014 Red rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
the poem contains a lot that comes from other poets. fragments put together. like a waste land with bits and pieces of things used in the past. it's not a collage skillfully designed. in the end we are invited to bring our own part to this holy ruin. here t.s. eliot describes the status quo we're in after WW l. we live in a culture of bits and pieces. so no worries. no great expectations either.
John
May 21, 2007 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read a lot of modern poetry but this was excellent. "The Wasteland" itself is intense and moving, and you can read it through and just start again at the beginning, over and over, and find new things to like about it. The collection also has some other great poems in it (Love Song of J. Alfred. Prufrock, notably) but it's missing "The Hollow Men" which is a bit disappointing.
Brian
Nov 11, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2008, nobel
I’m not sure what to say about this one… yet. This book contained many of Eliot’s poems, not just The Waste Land. I found his earlier work easier on the brain. I read The Waste Land twice and though it left me with distinct images, I’m still not sure what was going on. It’s strange to thoroughly enjoy a poem and yet not really know why. The essays in the book bored me.
anthony e.
Mar 11, 2008 anthony e. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm speechless. The amount of information packed into this poem, the allusion, the complexity of thought...its honestly like looking down Alice's rabbit hole and allowing your head to swim.

Maybe that makes me a little crazy, but I love stuff like that. I get the distinct feeling I can back to this poem again and again and find something new in it each time.
Chris Hayden
Dec 27, 2007 Chris Hayden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok, so TS Eliot doesn't have rock star status like Rimbaud, and he got all stodgy and Anglican probably because he couldn't handle all the intense existential angst and despair over society which reflect so nicely in his early works. But as a poet, he's pure magic, and the power of his works were, and still are, like fuel in my own drive for meaning.
matt
Feb 24, 2008 matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brillaint, haunting, forbidding, difficult, evocative, atmospheric, surreal, erudite, spooky.

About as good as poetry gets, in its best places and moments....

this is a wonderful collection, worth getting because of the inclusion of some of the essays which are deeply reasoned and pretty well written in their own right....
James Debruicker
Eliot (my partial namesake. My middle name is Elliot after him, which lead to a lot of "what the FUCK, mom?" when I was old enough to read and get Eliot) isn't necessarily as talented a poet as Pound, but he's also slightly less of an anti-Semite. These are the trades one must make when studying Modernist poetry.
Clare
Feb 24, 2009 Clare rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember ploughing through 'The Wasteland' and 'Love song of Arthur J Prufrock' at school, maybe resenting it a little at the time, but always remembering the poems. Lines from them appear to me at the most inopportune moments, so I thought it was time to read them again. Am loving the re-reading.
Kelsey
Sep 24, 2008 Kelsey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, poetry
I can understand why English professors make us suffer through poetry like this, but I would never willingly read this on my own. It is very tedious to get through all of the references and then spend even more time figuring out what in the world Elliot is trying to say, if anything at all.
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Thomas Stearns Eliot was a poet, dramatist and literary critic. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry." He wrote the poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets; the plays Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party; and the essay Tradition and the Individ ...more
More about T.S. Eliot...

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“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
They called me the hyacinth girl.'
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Od' und leer das Meer.”
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