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The Waste Land

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  23,606 ratings  ·  471 reviews
The Waste Land is a highly influential 433-line modernist poem by T. S. Eliot. It is perhaps the most famous and most written-about long poem of the 20th century, dealing with the decline of civilization and the impossibility of recovering meaning in life. Despite the alleged obscurity of the poem—its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes o ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1922)
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You know, one of the greatest poems of the 20th century and that kind of thing. I must know a fair amount of it by heart.

Here's a story about "The Waste Land" that some people may find amusing. Many years ago, when I was an undergraduate in Cambridge, a friend of mine asked me for advice on how to impress female Eng Lit majors. Well, I said, you could do worse than use The Waste Land. Just memorise a few lines, and you'll probably be able to bluff successfully.

We did some rehearsals, and eventu
I'm trying to write a term paper on this poem (key word is "trying") and then I realized, hey, I should waste some time by writing a review of the poem on Goodreads! So here we are.

Here's my thing about T.S. Eliot: the man is ungodly brilliant and I love almost everything he's written. Does this mean I understand a single goddamn word of it? Of course not. But (and this is the great part) that doesn't matter. Eliot has been quoted as saying he's perfectly aware that no one has any idea what his
Hannah Eiseman-Renyard
This Pisses Me Off and Makes Me Feel Like a Moron

I've had to read this twice in the course of my education, and I don't like it one bit, though I thoroughly appreciate its status and importance. Sort of like my attitude to atomic weapons. You wouldn't dismiss atomic weapons as 'crap', but you could legitimately say 'I appreciate their significance but I don't like them at all.'

I don't think there has ever been more literary masturbation about any other piece of writing than The Wasteland, and I
Chiara Pagliochini
“Ho i nervi a pezzi stasera. Sì, a pezzi. Resta con me.
Parlami. Perché non parli mai? Parla.
A che stai pensando? Pensando a cosa? A cosa?
Non lo so mai a cosa stai pensando. Pensa.”

Penso che siamo nel vicolo dei topi
Dove i morti hanno perso le ossa.

Mi sento sola stasera. Le lacrime premono sulla punta degli occhi. E c’è un piccolo nodo di nausea là in fondo, che non si vuol sfogare in nessun modo. Forse è la stanchezza, è tutto il giorno che sto sui libri con questo piccolo entusiasmo frenetico
i think this might make me an anti-intellectual, but i enjoyed this poem so much more when i read this outside of the classroom and infused it with my own tenuous understanding of what was going on in the poem. in class, explicating every single obscure reference effectively killed it. still such a powerful opening though. his poems have lines you want to taste in your mouth, and repeat over and over like magical intonations, or write down covertly in a secret book of quotes.
Emily  O
Jun 29, 2011 Emily O rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poetry lovers, English majors
Recommended to Emily by: ENG 252 (American Lit Post-1800s)
What can one say about The Waste Land that hasn't already been said? It's disjointed, difficult, long, and brilliant. Parts of it are confusing and grotesque (I'm looking at you, carbuncular young man) while other parts are strikingly painfully beautiful. It is laden with symbolism and references to everything under the sun. The only interpretation people can agree on is that something is terribly broken, though no-one can seem to agree on exactly what that thing is. If you like poetry, and are ...more
Sono pochi gli scrittori che sono riusciti a concepire opere letterarie che esprimessero con grande intensità emotiva lo spirito ed il pensiero del loro tempo e a dare con queste opere espressione ad un’esperienza di carattere universale. A mio modesto avviso ci sono riusciti Dante con “La Divina Commedia” e Eliot con “The Waste Land”. Quest’ultima è un’opera sperimentale alla quale manca l’azzardo, caratteristica principale di ogni esperimento. All’azzardo si sostituisce un’incommensurabile sol ...more
Reading THE WASTE LAND by T.S. Eliot is like sitting in a French cafe without the benefit of the language. Among the characteristics of the French is the allusion to their nihilism, yet they are said to be great lovers of language, art and diverse culture.

You sit under an awning, sipping cafe au lait, listening to the beauty of feelings expressed by higher or lower intonations. Without understanding any of the words, you have absorbed the wonder of related expressions of being human.

An experien
"Abril é o mês mais cruel, gera
Lilases da terra morta, mistura
A memória e o desejo, agita
Raízes dormentes com chuva da primavera.
E vou mostrar-te uma coisa ao mesmo tempo diferente
Da tua sombra quando ao amanhecer te segue
E da tua sombra quando ao entardecer te enfrenta;
Vou mostrar-te o medo num punhado de poeira."

Ken Moten
Oct 07, 2014 Ken Moten rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ken by: Ralph Ellison (i.e. "Shadow and Act")
One of my early Goodreads reviews was of the anthology of Eliot The Waste Land and Other Writings where I reviewed the structure of the book more than I did any of the poems. I have looked back since writing it and am unsatisfied. This is one of my favorite poems, if not my favorite and it deserves better, so I will review it by itself.

Now this is a *cue sudden dramatic music* modernist work. It was released in THE year for literature 1922 (Ulysses anyone). I think it would be wrong and pretent
In summary: the poem is aptly titled if ‘waste’ is the colloquial ‘to poop on’, and ‘land’ means ‘my time’.

Okay, so this has been on my reading list for a while. It was supposed to be so good. Its legend preceded it, and it had a lot to live up to, judging from many literature buffs . Some have referred to this poem as an embodiment of the zeitgeist of the 20th century. Besides being a poet and writer, T.S. Eliot was a literary critic whom any author of his time would have begged on all fours to
Jason Gignac
Original Review

To be perfectly honest, I really expected not to like this poem. I was really kind of expecting to hate it, in fact. I've read a little bit of Ezra Pound, a jillion years ago, didn't like it, and I guess just figured this would be the same. Here's the thing - I didn't hate it. And I don't know why. It was obtuse, it made no sense at times, it deliberately obscured itself, it had all the things I hate in modern poetry.

Except for one little, tiny thing: It wasn't talking to itself,
Stephanie Sun
Among many other firsts during my first month at Worldreader, David Risher is the first boss I've had bold enough to rewrite T.S. Eliot. Donate to Worldreader's annual fund this April and win a chance to appear in a novel by James Patterson, Ayelet Waldman, Chris Bohjalian, or Pat Conroy.

April is the Cruelest Kindest Month:



This poem brings more questions than it answers. Written in a time of disruptive change similar to our own, The Waste Land spea
aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot)
I read that hundreds of thousands of young male aristocrats, many who were officers, who would have been the next generation of governing leaders, died in WWI along with millions of 'ordinary' people, which I guess hastened the end of leftover centuries-old medieval-class relationships which probably had given comfort, continuity and stability to most European people of the early 20th century. But Leadership didn't die, just the generation educated to rule by maintaining class divisions benefici ...more
I read this about 30 years ago, but have since revisted it because of my son's school project on Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." For an Eliot fan, it's a must-have. Like most here, I agree with Pound's edits. Still, I've always liked the first major "cut" from the poem: "He Do the Police in Different Voices, Part I." But more importantly, I've always wanted to know the backstory behind Eliot's interest in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." I'm fascinated by the fact that Eliot originally intended to ha ...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
I read this a decade ago. It didn't do much for me. I think I enjoyed Four Quartets more, but I'm not much of an Eliot fan on the whole.

Oh, and an annotated version can be read here:
Unreal City, 60
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet. 65
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying “Stetson!
You who were with me in the ships at Mylae! 70
That corpse you planted l
Paul Muldoon, poetry editor of The New Yorker and professor of Humanities at Princeton, tells a story of how Horace Liveright, a thirty-year old American publisher with the then new publishing house of Boni & Liveright, was on an acquisition tour of Europe when, on January 3, 1922, he (Liveright) had dinner in Paris with Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and T.S. Eliot. "In the course of one evening," Muldoon writes, "he managed to offer Pound a translation contract, Joyce a contract for 'Ulysses,' a ...more
I surprised myself by liking this. Sure, Eliot is elitist and supercultured [french italian latin german, quoting many works by other authors] and I understand that someone cought is just a little obsessed so that perhaps influenced my own opinion but I liked it!
The language, the style, is poetic prose in poetry - that makes no sense - hey but neither did this poem without footnotes and reading other sources - but the language flowed. and I liked how it was a mix of different works combined with
No Books
T.S. Eliot legge The Waste Land:

I frammenti con cui Eliot ha puntellato le proprie rovine provengono dalla letteratura europea, classica medioevale e moderna. Brandelli orfani e dispersi in quella Babele che a prima vista è il poema: una mezza dozzina di lingue, antiche e moderne. Il poema speaks in tongues.
Molte sezioni sono alla prima persona singolare, ma a dire “io” è una voce sempre diversa, e questo può trarre in inganno. Un’
Amir Mojiry
Jun 04, 2013 Amir Mojiry rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amir by: Zahra Saedi
Shelves: poetry
سرزمین هرز از جمله کتاب هایی بود که باید می خواندم. به خاطر شهرتش و این که به نوعی کلاسیک محسوب می شد.
اما این که نتوانستم با این کتاب خوب ارتباط برقرار کنم می تواند چند دلیل داشته باشد:
1- کتاب در فرهنگ و بافت خود، کتاب بسیار خوبی است اما وقتی ترجمه می شود برای من که در آن فرهنگ و بافت زندگی نمی کنم، بی معنا می شود.
2- کتاب در زبان اصلی خود (فارغ از فرهنگ مرتبط با زبان) کتاب خوبی است اما وقتی ترجمه شده است، مترجم نتوانسته (یا اصلن نمی شده) حرف شعر را منتقل کند.
3- کتاب را روشنفکران بزرگ کرده اند!
أحمد سعيد البراجه
والثلاثة نجوم ليست للقصيدة، بل للدراسة التي أعدها نبيل راغب والتي لولاها لما استطعت فهم (جو) القصيدة.

أما القصيدة نفسها، فلم أفهمها ولا استمتعت بها.


صورة بالقمر الصناعي لأرض الضياع:
 photo map_201351122383_zps6952aa76.jpg
Laurel Hicks
Ars Poetica

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit

As old medallions to the thumb

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown -

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind -

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

A poem should be equal to:
Not true
I felt exhausted after I read this long poem for ENG 342. I have conflicted feelings about the whole thing. I was tempted to give it one star, but I do appreciate the way in which Eliot typifies the Lost Generation, and felt that he should get at least one star for using symbolism/allegory/metaphor so completely. That being said, it is one of the most difficult works to get through, not because you can't catch the tone and intent, but because he makes you work so hard to get it. It is an experin ...more

If you want to read "The Waste Land", you can't get around it: you need a whole lot of cultural background. For students who only have this kind of knowledge to a modest degree (at least in comparison to the formidable Mr Eliot), it is extremely useful to have ALL the references explained to you. All Eliot's sources, ranging from Greek mythology to opera to contemporary English literature, are explained concisely and in a way which satisfyingly elucidates the mind-boggling density of this poem.
Eliot is one of those poets I cannot get out of my head. The sound of him lingers--I love listening to poets read their own work, love reading them out loud. His is a voice that's found a permanent home in my bones. It emerges in all my novels, though you might not recognize it, you're hearing him when I write. All of human failing is here. The nobility of that failure. The Waste Land, Prufrock, the Four Quartets, no library is complete without him.
محمد  حسين ضاحي
درستها فى الجامعة، وكنا أخذنا فكرة عن الشاعر فى المدرسة الثانوية، فلما درستها، مع أعمال أخرى له، انبهرت بها وأعجبتني، ولو كنت قومتها حينها لربما أعطيتها خمسة نجوم، لكن اليوم بعد هذه السنوات فقد تغيرت رؤيتي.
درست أهم قصائده، وهي قصائد: أغنية حب جي ألفرد بروفروك، والأرض الخراب، والرجل الأجوف.
وجه إعجابي الأساسي بها ليس مما قاله النقاد فى قيمتها الأدبية المستمدة من قيمة الشاعر الكبير، من دراسته لأساطير البلاد المختلفة وخاصة الشرق (اليابان تحديدا)، وتأثره بها واستخدامها فى أعماله لتكون ما يشبه حصيلة و
First, my disclaimer is that I didn't actually read the poem in this edition, I read it in a Norton Anthology of English Literature (shorter 6th edition).

In the past I've never really appreciated "The Wasteland" because, while I grapsed the notion of "fragments shored against my ruin," I had trouble moving beyond the densely allusive nature of the poem. It is a poem whose meaning is not obviously evident; the poem does not tell a clear story. However, on this reading I was much more appreciative
I read this as part of a long list of material for an American Lit. exam, probably a similar introduction for most people who have read it. First, I listened to the poem. I didn't get it. Then I gave it another try. I stil didn't get it. I am determined to understand my American Lit. after all, so I read the poem myself and well, I can't describe it. I love this poem.

I read through Eliot's annotations, other peoples' interpretations, and I looked at the long list of works that Eliot steals from
Charmaine Vannimwegen
I've read The Waste Land a few times over the course of my education. I would love to state that I have a profound understanding of it after so many reads, but I don't. I can say that until this last reading I had relegated the work to brilliant but not anywhere near my taste of literature category. It's funny how one idea, one line, can change your view of a larger piece. What's even more intriguing is that it isn't the line or the idea that is new but you. The you who is reading right now is d ...more
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  • The Bridge: A Poem
  • Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow (Faber Library)
  • Harmonium
  • In Memoriam
  • Spring and All
  • The Prelude
  • The Cantos
  • Selected Poems
  • Duino Elegies
  • W.H. Auden: Selected Poems
  • Helen in Egypt
  • The Collected Poems
  • Illuminations
  • Life Studies and For the Union Dead
  • The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience
  • John Donne's Poetry
  • Selected Poems
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...
The Waste Land and Other Poems Collected Poems, 1909-1962 The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Other Poems Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats Four Quartets

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“April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.”
“A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”
More quotes…