We will meet on December 5 (Note new meeting day, this month only) to discuss Peter Farnum’s selection,
T. S. Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land.
Peter provides the following information about his selection:
This attachment gives some ideas as to how to approach this difficult poem.
You have many options as to how to obtain a copy to read. It is available for free on the Internet, you can find Eliot or others reading it on youtube.com, you can buy a collection of Eliot’s poems in which it is included, or you can do as I did, which was to buy a study book on it, which includes the text. What you do depends on what you want to get out of it.
The book I used is listed in a footnote on the first page of document in the above attachment.
This is one of two additional “handouts,” which I am asking you to read before our meeting. This one contains quotes from The Waste Land that have to do with the motif of lovemaking without love that occurs throughout the poem. I’ve added footnotes to put the scenes in some context.
My intention is to completely debunk the idea, common to many reviewers, that The Waste Land has no structure, no plan, and consists of disconnected images. Reading this you will see that the image, or motif, if you will, of loveless lovemaking, occurs repeatedly throughout the poem.
It also connects, and stands in contrast, to the Sanskrit philosophy that Eliot gives us to help restore the waste land to health.
Here is an attachment that I hope will give you a perspective on one possible interpretation of the poem. It tracks images of wetness and dryness through the whole poem. Not surprisingly they occur in a clear pattern that helps to reveal what Eliot may have been trying to do. In the footnotes I attempt to tell how these motifs fit into one idea of his plan.
I hope you find it interesting and helpful (if that’s what you want.)