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Revisiting "The Waste Land"

Revisiting "The Waste Land"

LAWRENCE RAINEY
Copyright Date: 2005
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1njn0m
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  • Book Info
    Revisiting "The Waste Land"
    Book Description:

    This groundbreaking book of literary detective work alters our understanding of T. S. Eliot's poetic masterpiece,The Waste Land. Lawrence Rainey not only resolves longstanding mysteries surrounding the composition of the poem but also overturns traditional interpretations of the poem that have prevailed for more than eighty years. He shines new light on Eliot's greatest achievement and on the poem's place in the modern canon.Far from the austere and sober monument to neoclassicism that admirers have praised,The Waste Landturns out to be something quite different: something grim and wild, unruly and intractable, violent and shocking and radically indeterminate, yet also deeply compassionate. Rainey looks at how Eliot went about writing the poem and at the sequence in which he composed the parts. Arriving at new insights into the poet's intentions, Rainey unsettles tradition-bound views of the poem and shows us thatThe Waste Landis even stranger and more startling than we knew.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12979-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xiii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
  5. CHAPTER ONE With Automatic Hand: WRITING THE WASTE LAND
    (pp. 1-70)

    TO STUDENTS OF TWENTIETH-CENTURY modernism, 1971 was the year when Valerie Eliot published a facsimile edition ofThe Waste Land’s prepublication manuscripts. The event invited new accounts of the poem’s development and fresh assessments of how that might bear on our understanding of the poem.¹ One year later Hugh Kenner and Grover Smith published essays which, while differing sharply in premises and procedures, reached a consensus that part III, “The Fire Sermon,” was the earliest portion of the poem to have been written, probably around midsummer 1921, followed first by parts I and II and then by IV and V...

  6. CHAPTER TWO The Price of Modernism: PUBLISHING THE WASTE LAND
    (pp. 71-101)

    “HISTORY IS A NIGHTMARE,” wrote James Joyce. “History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors / And issues,” murmured T. S. Eliot. It distinguishes the epic, declared Ezra Pound, in a transparent reference to his own life’s work,The Cantos.¹ The modernists were obsessed with history. They mourned it and damned it, contested it as tenaciously as Jacob wrestling with the image of God: “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Yet if the deity of history had ever deigned to reply to them, it might have said: “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and...

  7. CHAPTER THREE IMMENSE. MAGNIFICENT. TERRIBLE.: READING THE WASTE LAND
    (pp. 102-128)

    TO BE YOUNG, TO BE RICH, and to be in Paris—perhaps enough to turn anyone’s head. Certainly it had some such effect on John Peale Bishop (1892–1944), an aspiring poet who had graduated in 1917 from Princeton University, where his best friends had included F. Scott Fitzgerald and the soon-to-be distinguished critic Edmund Wilson. After a brief stint of service in the armed forces, Bishop had become the managing editor ofVanity Fair,a job he gave up in early 1922 when he married Margaret Hutchins, a young woman of independent wealth. Having turned over his position at...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 129-152)
  9. DOCUMENTING THE DOCUMENTS:: SYNOPTIC BIBLIOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF ELIOT’S WRITINGS, 1898–1922

    • TABLE ONE LETTERS, 1898–1922
      (pp. 155-192)
    • TABLE TWO STUDENT PAPERS, 1910–1915
      (pp. 193-195)
    • TABLE THREE POETRY AND PROSE, 1910–1922
      (pp. 196-199)
    • TABLE FOUR WASTE LAND MANUSCRIPTS
      (pp. 200-202)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 203-205)