Talk:The Waste Land

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Dante and the Great Refusal[edit]

To whoever wrote on the Great Refusal, I am pretty sure that Dante is referring to Pontius Pilate here, and the great refusal was Pilate's refusal to save Christ from his unjust execution. At least, that is what Hollander has in his Inferno footnotes.

  • The Great Refusal in Dante is a reference to Celestine V resigning as pope a few years before Dante wrote Inferno.--ColonelHenry (talk) 23:04, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Allusions in Burial of the Dead[edit]

I am a student at Athens State University and new to Wikipedia. I added a section on the Burial of the Dead and a couple of additional sources.


who has the copyright on the waste land?

No one. It was first published in 1922, anything published before 1923 is in public domain. [1]
I believe this is incorrect. The Harvest/HBJ edition of The Waste Land And Other Poems is copyright 1930, with extensions in 1958 and 1962. After Eliot's death, his second wife, Valerie, extended the copyrights. --Theoldanarchist 03:40, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
TWL with the notes was first published in the U.S. in 1922. That makes it public domain in the U.S. now. However, it might still be under copyright protection elsewhere. TWL still could have been included with other poems later and a new copyright given to the collection. WikiParker 10:55, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Ivory men line[edit]

What is the source of the information about Vivien requesting deletion of the ivory men line? There is no mark in the manuscript and she has marked other sections. The article is not entirely clear about which line or lines she wished deleted. — Stumps 12:15, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

On page 126 of the Facsimile And Transcript, note number four for page 13 of A Game Of Chess, it says 'This line was omitted at Vivien Eliot's request.' It gives no other information, other than Eliot restoring the line, from memory, for a copy sold in aid of the London Library in 1960.--Theoldanarchist 03:09, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

added note about dedication[edit]

I've added a bried note about Eliot dedicating the poem to Ezra Pound. Freddie deBoer 19:23, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Analysis / Interpretation?[edit]

Could someone please write an "Analysis" or "Interpretation" section (e.g. using this as a source)? I think it'd be helpful but I can't write it myself. --Zoz (t) 16:14, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Thank you Zoz for the link to my website but I think that the article on The Waste Land would be better if it didn't have an interpretation of the poem in it. There are way too many of them. I think that a short history of interpretations over time would be better. For that I think that Columbia Critical Guides' "T.S. Eliot: The Waste Land" edited by Nick Selby would be useful. WikiParker 11:14, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

The Waste Land is Eliot's romantic personal history. I am aggrieved to read the Wikipedia entries for The Waste Land and T.S. Eliot, as they represent the scale to which the deception of the public about the life and work of a famous public figure has dared to aspire. I intend to have these entries changed. I feel rather sick that so many people could contribute to an entry while not having the faintest idea of the substance of the poem. And none of you are in the least ashamed of yourselves. Well, carry on. --Lithole (talk) 05:56, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I came here looking for information on this poem and I was also appalled to find so much (good) information with NOTHING regarding the substance of the poem. What the heck is it about? If an analysis/interpretation is too difficult, at least a more elaborate description of the various sections could surely be included? Alas, I am not the man to do it myself... some kind soul perhaps... thanks in advance. :-) Callmepgr (talk) 18:09, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

The most impressive "close reading" of The Waste Land that I've ever read is by Cleanth Brooks in his book Modern Poetry and the Tradition. Check it out. Jpcohen (talk) 02:43, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the tip, I will look into it. Googling after your suggestion, I came across this page: which contains a dozen interpretations of The Waste Land, done by scholars (including Cleanth Brooks), with proper citations at the bottom of each. It seems like a wonderful source for someone to write up a synthesis for this Wikipedia article... Callmepgr (talk) 11:34, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Unreference material[edit]

Stumps queried this addition by an anon editor and asked for citations. I have removed it from the article to here, until citations are provided. Addition follows:

Many critics have suggested that the composition of "The Waste Land" rather closely mirrors the early chapters of James Joyce's "Ulysses" in terms of thematics and imagery. Joyce himself considered Eliot nothing short of a plagiarist . He commemorates his impression of Eliot by referring to him as 'ildiot' in "Finnegans Wake."

Tyrenius 23:36, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Thank you, I was actually coming to delete this as well, because here: ildiot means worm, or warm. The statement was very misleading, and almost "ildiot" within itself. Might I add, this is why people don't trust Wikipedia. I myself wasn't too sure of this statement and looked it up, because I know of no times T.S. Eliot is mentioned in bad terms with Joyce. willsy May 12 2006 28:34

Just an outsider's comment (sorry if this in some way fails to follow Wikipedia's conventions, with which I am not familiar). I am the maintainer of the Fweet website, which was used as a corroborating reference a few lines above. Unfortunately, it seems willsy has misunderstood the non-trivial conventions of the Fweet website. When one searches for a word (e.g. "ildiot") in the Finnegans Wake text, one receives all the notes (called elucidations) for the entire line located, in this case page 037 line 14, not just those for the word searched. Thus, "warm" is an elucidation for "worm", not for "ildiot". This said, Fweet elucidates "ildiot" as a portmanteau word composed of "Danish ilden: light" and "idiot". I currently would not read "Eliot" into this portmanteau word, but others may. Now for the Eliot/Joyce controversy. The source for the statement that started this discussion is probably William York Tindall's 1969 book A Reader's Guide to Finnegans Wake, that reads on page 60: "But the Cad is also "ildiot" or T.S. Eliot [...] (Joyce, as we have also noticed, always insisted that Eliot stole The Waste Land from Ulysses)". The centrepiece argument for this theory about Joyce's view of Eliot as expressed in Finnegans Wake is Nathan Halper's long article "Joyce and Eliot" which appeared in A Wake Newslitter, volume II, numbers 3 (June 1965), 4 (August 1965) and 6 (December 1965). 11:34, 13 May 2006 (UTC) Raphael Slepon (

This is interesting ... perhaps we should make some reference to this in the "Sources" section of the article? — Stumps 12:14, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Eh, I don't know. I don't mind, but it just seems off topic and a opinion of an essayist. Sorry for the link and harsh judgement. Someone has brought to my attention similarities of other Wake lines and the Waste Land though, but not in negative terms. It seems as though Joyce used and parodied some of the Waste Land to actually compose some of the Wake, ironic? Well, that's really all I have to say. Peace. willsy May 13 2006 23:00

In 'A Student's Guide To The Selected Poems Of T.S. Eliot' the editor, B.C. Southam, notes a couple of instances in Finnegan's Wake which refer to Eliot. From memory, 'Wibfrufrocksfull of fun' is one of them (parodying Prufrock), and another, again from memory I'm afraid, is 'My shemblable, my freer!' (parodying the last line of Part I of The Waste Land). From the surrounding passages in Finnegan's Wake I personally suspect some homosexual inferences in the mockery. Joyce knew of course that Eliot had stolen Phlebas The Phoencician's appearance with 'pearls for eyes' from a passage in Ulysses, in which Joyce had also quoted Ariel's song, in describing a drowned man in Dublin harbour: 'High water at dublin bar...five fathoms out there. Full fathom five thy father lies...He now shall leave me...a brother soul: Wilde's love that dare not speak it's name.' That's obviosuly just one of the thefts from Ulysses. One suspects it was dreadfully queering to have someone come along and borrow your own ideas, even exact literary references, and steal your thunder. Might want to give him a bit of his own medicine. What do you think? --Lithole (talk) 06:32, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Aldous Huxley?[edit]

The article stated that Eliot makes allusions to Aldous Huxley. The Waste Land was published in 1922, and at that time Huxley had written one novel, a few short stories, and a few poems, but nothing so important and noteworthy that Eliot would have been likely to reference it and by doing so place it on the same level as all these other (for the most part) incredibly important works. I find it highly implausible to think that this reference exists. So, until such time as it can be proven that Eliot directly references Huxley, I have removed Huxley's name from the list of allusions. Superunknown373 18:42, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

In Aldous Huxley's Crome Yellow (1921) a fair is thrown and the Mr. Scogan character (generally seen to be a not very sympathic protrayal of Bertrand Russell) volunteers to be a fortune teller. He dresses as a gypsy woman and takes the name Sesostris, the Sorceress of Ecbatana. Eliot once said about TWL "To me it was only the relief of a personal and wholly insignificant grouse against life; it is just a piece of rhythmical grumbling." Part of the grumbling surely is Russell's relationship with Mrs. Eliot. See, for example: Grover Smith, "T.S. Eliot's Poetry and Plays: A Study in Sources and Meanings," chapter 6, paragraph 8. WikiParker 23:01, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, WikiParker is absolutely correct. I am glad you caught that allusion and included it in the article. The Bertrand Russell comparison is especially interesting given Eliot's relationship with Russell (he and Vivienne had rented a room from "Bertie") and the falling out they had. One wonders if that did not have something to do with Eliot's decision to include the Huxley material. --Charles 05:20, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I have reinserted Huxley's name in the section on allusions. --Charles 05:27, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
It would be good to put a brief summary of this point in a footnote. Fascinating. Tyrenius 10:27, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Agree ... I didn't know this. Actually I think it is worth more than a footnote. BTW, I find the simple list of names in the sources section particularly uninteresting ... a short paragraph on each of them would be far better. Stumps 11:09, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree about that list---not interesting or inspiring. As soon as I have some time, I'll start making improvements. I hope that I will have help. --Charles 17:39, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

In fact in a letter to his mother before the publication of Chrome Yellow in 1921, Eliot tells her that he had been for a picnic with Huxley, so the two authors knew each other quite well. That certainly would add credence to the supposition that Eliot borrowed the name Sesostris from his friend's first novel - especially if Huxley was portraying Russell, who had an affair with his own wife. In Chrome Yellow Sesostris is a sleeze dressed as a fortune teller in order to seduce younger women. However, I have not seen absolute proof that Huxley meant this as a joke aimed at Russell in particular. Can anyone provide it? Rather fascinatingly, B.C. Southam quotes Eliot as having said that he read Chrome Yellow on its publication, but that he did not deliberately borrow the name; then Southam claims that Eliot had 'forgotten' how closely he had read Chrome Yellow, 'as his annotated copy survives'. What is in that annotated copy to convict Eliot (in Southam's eyes) of deliberately borrowing the name, in spite of the denial? Also interestingly, Lawrence Rainey of Yale university attempts to 'prove away' the connection with Chrome Yellow, by saying that Eliot wrote this section of The Waste Land before the publication of Chrome Yellow. One suspects the astonishing coincidence of the names, and personal relationships of those involved, rather discounts Rainey's 'scholarship'. Perhaps Eliot even read Chrome yellow in manuscript. (He read Ulysses and Pound in manuscript and borrowed from them). --Lithole (talk) 06:48, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Hypertext link[edit]

I have added a new link to a page that offers a hypertext version of the poem. This is a great idea, especially for a poem like TWL that is so full of allusions and references to numerous sources. However, this particular hypertext version does not work correctly 100% of the time, and seems not to have been well designed. Does anyone know of any other such site? ---Charles 21:11, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Why use "The New American Bible"?[edit]

I think that the quotations in the section on allusions in "The Burial of the Dead" should not be from The New American Bible as that version, published in 1970, was most certainly not the one that influenced Eliot. Why not use the King James version? Does anyone know what English version of the Bible Eliot most likely used and relied on? Interlingua talk email 13:49, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Great point! Eliot probably used the King James Version of the Bible. I went ahead and changed the quotations and referenced that version. --JHarbin 02:31, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
I posted a query to the TSE discussion group. Although I didn't get a definitive answer I did get a reply that the English Revised Version authorized by the Church of England (1881) and the American Standard Version (1901) were much like the King James bible; only changing obsolete words. WikiParker 00:16, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Fabbro = liar?[edit]

Does anyone have respectable sources for the interpretation of "fabbro" as "liar"? As it is, it seems to be original research (and not very convincing, really). RodC 17:52, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

No, I have seen that somewhere. I will look it up when I am back at home in my office. That is a legitimate interpretation (kind of a stretch), but it should be referenced. ---Charles 17:57, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Remember that this should be in Dante's Italian. Stumps 19:41, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
I've read a LOT about The Waste Land and I've not seen this "liar" bit presented anywhere else. I think it would need a citation to indicate that fabbro = liar. Then did Eliot know of this meaning? His Italian came from reading Dante face to face with an English translation. Then, even if those tests were met, does it add anything to understanding TWL? And, if so, is it worthwhile to put into a short encyclopedia article? I think you can guess that I would prefer that the "liar" section be deleted. WikiParker 22:48, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, now that I am looking again, I cannot find the reference. In answer to your concerns, WikiParker, I would have to say that I agree with you. If the translation is legitimate, and as I say, it is, according to my reading, a stretch, it is still not entirely relevant. By all interpretations, that was not Eliot's meaning when he dedicated the poem to Pound, so it is really beside the point. In the final analysis, it is not needed, and to quote Pound, "One don't miss it at all as the thing now stands." ---Charles 03:13, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm also in favour of removing the 'liar' speculation. Stumps 10:11, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
Done. RodC 01:10, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Publishing history[edit]

In this article a reference is made to the first 1923 UK book edition of the wasteland. It states that the type was handset by Virginia Woolf. Can anyone corroborate or verify that information? Did it come from a book source?

Thanks in advance for any help. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mrsradcliffe23 (talkcontribs) 12:00, 30 March 2007 (UTC).

Gallup, Donald. T.S. Eliot: A Bibliography (A Revised and Extended Edition) Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1969. Listing A6c on page 61 states: "The book was hand-printed by Leonard and Virginia Woolf and several misprints were not corrected." WikiParker 21:02, 30 March 2007 (UTC)


I deleted as being too detailed the following paragraphs from the more general article T. S. Eliot. Perhaps they could be modified and used here.

When the facsimile edition of the original manuscript for The Waste Land was published in 1971, it was revealed that Ezra Pound's redaction of the work was quite substantial. The poem is dedicated to Pound, whom Eliot calls il miglior fabbro "the better craftsman", a quotation from Dante.

Eliot's work was hailed by the W.H. Auden generation of 1930s poets. On one occasion Auden read out loud the whole of The Waste Land to a social gathering. The publication of the draft manuscript of the poem in 1971 showed the strong influence of Ezra Pound upon its final form, before which it had been titled "He Do the Police in Different Voices". Part IV, Death by Water, was reduced to its current 10 lines from an original 92 — Pound advised against Eliot's thought of scrapping it altogether. Eliot thanked Pound for "helping one to do it in one's own way". Critic Robert Brustein claimed in 1957, "It's doubtful any greater poem can be written in this century or any century. Eliot inspires all to cease attempting."[1]

WikiParker 23:32, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree that this can be of use here. The Auden part can probably go---or, if kept, should be moved elsewhere as it makes no sense in its current location. But, certainly, the details about Pound's editing of the original poem, and the other revelations that came with the publication of the facsimile and transcript are very enlightening. ---Cathal 23:38, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Importance Ranking[edit]

I am slightly concerned that this text has not been ranked in the Importance Rankings carried out on most literary works. Obviously I appreciate that there are an almost limitless number of literary texts to judge but The Waste Land is one of the most important and influential poems of the Twentieth Century and should therefore be ranked quickly so that those who do not know of its importance can be enlightened. When it is eventually ranked it should be placed in the 'Top' category of importance. Is there a general agreement on this? Robsonm 14:20, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

There is a WikiProject for poetry and their project page references this one, but I don't see any direct signs of activity. So I've add the template they suggest on their proejct page. I don't see a fancy template for poems either. They could easily steal from the Novel project (unless that is too prosaic). (John User:Jwy talk) 00:26, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Deletion of mention of Lewis/Schiff correspondence[edit]

Today I removed the sentence "On 7 February 1921, Wyndham Lewis told Sydney Schiff that he had seen a new long poem of Eliot's, in four parts, and marking a new departure in style." The four part poem shown to Lewis could not have been TWL as the writing hadn't progressed that far. See T.S. Eliot: The Making Of An American Poet, 1888-1922 by James E. Miller, pp.366-367. WikiParker (talk) 16:51, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Interpretation Section[edit]

This is often used on a philosophical basis. I believe an interprtetation section should be added. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:44, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

As I wrote earlier in the 'Analysis / Interpretation? section of this page:
I think that the article on The Waste Land would be better if it didn't have an interpretation of the poem in it. There are way too many of them. I think that a short history of interpretations over time would be better. For that I think that Columbia Critical Guides' "T.S. Eliot: The Waste Land" edited by Nick Selby would be useful.
WikiParker (talk) 20:35, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you, Parker. An interpretations section would end up being entirely too long. But, a history of interpretations, as you suggest, would be more managable, and probably more helpful. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 04:04, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
The history of interpretations is a good idea, it is genuinely encyclopedic, whereas a straight interpretation section runs the risk of descending into original research. We should not worry about size of the section as we can always fork off a separate Interpretations of The Waste Land page if needs be, and summarize it on the main page. Stumps (talk) 04:38, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Why is part 1 given special treatment?[edit]

There is a section, "Allusions in Burial of the Dead". What about the other 4 parts? Each section should be treated equally or none at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:18, 7 August 2008 (UTC)


I added something to the style section which I think is pretty helpful in elaborating on exactly what the style of The Waste Land is all about. If you have a problem with it please let me know. --Lithole (talk) 05:43, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

"Revolutionary, highly influential"[edit]

Reverting a good faith edit without comment is extremely bad form from an experienced user. I removed these words from the opening line on the grounds that it makes the introduction sound opinionated. On the word "influential" I refer to WP:OPED:

Putting this language in the opening sentence is especially bad and "revolutionary" is much, much worse. -- (talk) 12:26, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Revolutionary and highly influential was the view at the time it was published. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 17:21, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
There were different views, not one single view called "the view". The poem was also ridiculed by some. Why do you insist on reporting opinion as fact? And why do you think this presents a neutral point of view, when it so obviously doesn't? If this view was held, why don't you attribute it rather than presenting your own POV? Also, why do you think it's ok to revert good faith edits without explaining and mark your reversion as minor? -- (talk) 17:31, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
I've rewritten this and I've provided a similar sourced quote that doesn't editorialise in the way that the "Revolutionary, highly influential" thing does. -- (talk) 18:04, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

I think that "revolutionary, highly influential" should stay in the lead without citations and, as a compromise (and an important addition to the article), a section be added about the influence of the poem and how revolutionary it really was. There would be cited references in this section. The section "Critical reception" appears to be mostly about the immediate reaction to the poem. Perhaps the new section and that could be subsections of a fuller section.
On Wikipedia long articles are written on minor characters on mediocre television shows not aired in 50 years (okay, maybe I exaggerate a little.) TWL is not just a poem and this should be stressed up front to keep it out of the same class as say, Eliot's "Practical Cats."
We were directed to read WP:OPED but I think the more appropriate page is WP:Avoid peacock terms where use of the word "influential" is brought up. The terms here are to be avoided unless a lot of thought is given about their use. I think "revolutionary, highly influential" is thoughtful. WikiParker (talk) 12:58, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Hi, I think my sourced quote in the next sentence solves the problem of implying that TWS is just another minor poem (It has been called "one of the most important poems of the 20th century"). I don't really see the necessity of adding more. What WP:PEACOCK doesn't say is that you can use the terms whenever you like as long as you put a lot of thought into them. I also think the opening should stick to the facts. Value judgements and matters that are subject to opinion don't belong in the intro, or indeed anywhere, except where they are reported by other sources. On its own, "influential" can have a factual, uncontroversial meaning. It can mean that there are many other writers who were influenced by the Waste Land. The ambiguity of the term might be problematic, but it is still perhaps passable. What does stray into peacock territory is "revolutionary, highly influential", which basically seems to state as fact that TWL is one of the most important poems ever written. That may be the case but it can be implied in more neutral language. The problem isn't going to be rectified by a section at the end that clarifies the meaning of "influential". In the end, if the language is POV, a new intro needs to be written. I do agree, however, that a section on the poem's influence would be useful. In fact I'm surprised there isn't one because far more obscure works have such sections.-- (talk) 14:38, 2 September 2009 (UTC)


I am not sure how the $/£ translations are calculated (exchange rate then, now or on day of edit). I think current values would be more informative:

The prize carried an award of $2,000 ( 2009: $25,630)
Eliot, whose 1922 salary at Lloyds Bank was £500 ( 2009: £20,360)

Þjóðólfr (talk) 18:07, 20 November 2009 (UTC)


In another section, there is talk about James Joyce calling Elliot a plagarist. Well, Elloit basically was a plagarist at least with this (early?) poem of his. Hence maybe he had such liberity because he published his own material? I do not know. Here is my reference: _The Little Book of Plagiarism_ by noted public intellectual Richard A. Posner. He says that the opening scene from the second section of the poem was taken from Shakespeare ... who was also a plagarist and stole it from "North" who was also a plagarist who stole it from Plutarch (Page 55, Posner) .... Note I don't know the references of what "North" nor Plutarch wrote. However, "The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne" is almost exactly the same as Shakespeare's Act 2, Scene 2 of _Antony and Cleopatra_ which says "The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne." The total uncited/unreferenced quote of that is longer than that (page 55, Posner).

Posner talks about a quote from Eliot. Posner says that "As Eliot explained in an essay on the Jacobean playwright Philip Massinger that describes Eliot's own practice in the 'The Waste Land' and elsewhere." Then, Posner quotes what Eliot said. Elliot said the following: "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different frmo that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest." (Page 56, Posner).

Note: the contention here was whether or not citing other authors say in the past was common practice ... especially for people like Elloit, Shakespeare and the other great writers. It is not necessarily about whether they steal; it is about if they cite or reference or at least give homage to those who they steal from. Sp0 (talk) 05:57, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

So, what does this mean to the article? What do we say? The quoting of lines from elsewhere, directly and modified, occur in other poems too so is this something the should be mentioned in every Eliot related article, the main Eliot article or just TWL as the most blanat example (or some combination?) How long and detailed should the article discussion be? Other than being Eliot's style what is the significance? Did it effect anyone else's writing style? And was Eliot an "immature poet" imitating (bad) or a "mature poet" stealing (good)? Did he pull off what he was trying to do? If not, did he change his method of this for future poems. WikiParker (talk) 12:25, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Reference to broken DOI[edit]

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Added message back in Spanglej (talk) 15:58, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Intimidating and Elegiac?[edit]

Both the words 'intimidating' and 'elegiac' in the very first section are more unsourced opinion than fact. I have also added a 'citatıon needed' where it says that a vague 'some' regard the poem as obscure. Do people agree that it would be good if someone could re-write this introductory section? If no-one does I'll have a stab at a re-wrıte myself when I'm less busy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Youngpossum (talkcontribs) 12:08, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

The Shakespeherian Rag[edit]

I just added a reference and link to the Broadway composer Dave Stamper and his song "The Shakespeherian Rag" -

O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag—
It's so elegant
So intelligent

I've been building the article on Stamper and was surprised to see this particular connection. But I am not particularly knowledgeable about Elliot. Please re-phrase the inclusion as necessary. K8 fan (talk) 18:43, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

The Waste Land removal[edit]

Cyrillic and "latinnate" are not languages. Moreover, I didn't see any cyrillic script in the poem. Then again, I've read a web-version. Obviously, Latin script is used. I did see Greek script used, but again it's no language on its own. I can write English in cyrillic etc. Please show me the cyrillic and a mention of it is due. I hope you respond to this instead of just forget about it. (talk) 17:55, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

I'll respond. It's an awful sentence and uncited. It should be removed from the article. Truthkeeper (talk) 19:25, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it necessarily needs to be removed, but it would have to be rewritten to be more sensible. ---RepublicanJacobiteTheFortyFive 21:37, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
I'd like to see it have a source to tie it with Pound. It's one thing to say it mimics Pound, but why? At the moment it's just uncited, so at the least that should be taken care of. I prob have something - I have a fair bit of stuff on these guys but if a source can't be found it should be removed. Truthkeeper (talk) 21:58, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Done. I changed it to a list of the languages without adding too many bytes and certainly making things more informative. WikiParker (talk) 22:06, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
It's still uncited. Do you have a source for it? Truthkeeper (talk) 22:13, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Maybe The Cambridge Introduction to Ezra Pound, p. 32? See and search for the word foreign there and on other pages. WikiParker (talk) 03:34, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
I've have the book and it's not in there. All it says is that Eliot used an Italian phrase to thank Ezra in the publication of the 1925 edition. I'll read the entire essay, but won't be for a few days. I've put a fair number of edits into the Ezra page and have read quite a bit about this and to be honest it doesn't sound familiar. Searching a source for keyword isn't always the best way to go - it's better to let the sources lead us instead trying to pick out something we want to find. When I have time I'll have a look at the poem too, and I have other sources at hand. I can't back to this until the weekend though. Truthkeeper (talk) 03:53, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks guys! (talk) 01:20, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

John Quinn and Eliot's influence on Irish writers[edit]

Something I'm noticing for the first time in this article is that John Quinn (collector) seems to have been close (a patron?) to Eliot at this time. Quinn was also a notable patron of writers in Ireland. But the reason I'm here in the first place is because Máirtín Ó Direáin's 'Ár Ré Dhearóil' (Our Wretched Times) is famously inspired by Eliot's Wasteland. Likewise, Seán Ó Ríordáin, the foremost modernist in poetry in Irish, was highly influenced by Eliot. The Quinn link to Eliot and the Irish literary tradition makes me wonder is there more to it or is just coincidental. (talk) 13:29, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

What's it about?[edit]

After reading this page (though, admittedly, I scanned over some of the text) I still have no clue what this poem is actually about. Surely this is among the most important information this page should provide. If it's in there, it's hidden pretty good. Ieneach fan 'e Esk (talk) 16:56, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

@User:Ieneach fan 'e Esk: When Eliot was asked throughout his career if the poem meant certain things, he would say the equivalent of "it's in there, read the words" and dismiss such questions.--ColonelHenry (talk) 17:09, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Okay, that's no help at all. Anyway, I read the poem now, and I still don't know what it's about. I can't for the life of me understand why this poem is rated so highly. I will go on record to say that I think it's rubbish: some random sentences all thrown together willy-nilly. It does make some sense now that this page offers no description of the contents of the poem: I guess the people who wrote this article don't know what it's about either. Or maybe it's just me. Wouldn't be the first time. Anyway, I can only conclude that modernism is not for me. Ieneach fan 'e Esk (talk) 17:41, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
I am an Eliot fan, and I've studied this poem for 10 years, and I keep on seeing/learning something new each time. I will disagree that the poem is rubbish, and offers tremendous opportunities for interpretation. I've wanted to rewrite this article for a year now because of how bad this article is. Even knowing more about this poem than most English or Comparative Literature graduate students, it's an overwhelming task. The problem with Eliot is you need to know a lot of literary references, English culture, things about eliot's personal life and his wife's insanity (the conversation at line 111 and following: "My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me. / Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak. / What are you thinking of? What thinking? What? / I never know what you are thinking. Think.” and “What is that noise?” / The wind under the door.), the legend of the Fisher King, Greek myth (see my article at Philomela), references to old Hindu legends from the Upanishads, about into the various vignettes that eliot adds (i.e. the pub scene discussing an abortion in lines 156-161: You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique. / (And her only thirty-one.) / I can’t help it, she said, pulling a long face, / It’s them pills I took, to bring it off, she said. / (She’s had five already, and nearly died of young George.) / The chemist said it would be alright, but I’ve never been the same.) In this, Eliot changed the language, he came close to how disorganized minds see the world around them and try to organize and compartmentalize it...this article needs to reflect this, but it is a monumental task that literature scholars have failed at in 200-300 pages dissertations.--ColonelHenry (talk) 18:52, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Even though the content is very modernist, open, disconnected, subtle, it does have a content. I really believe this page should have more about the content. I see two things that could be done without gigantic dissertations: 1) describe the sections, and sub-sections or episodes. Just say what's in there making a map of the poem. 2) Grab some literary critique (somebody did all the work for us! Grab all the citations you need here: ) and place it in the appropriate points of the "map". Even all those scholars put together do not take care of everything that could be said about the poem, but the point is to include _some_ comment that helps the Wikipedia reader get a grasp of the kind of things that lurk in there. Callmepgr (talk) 21:07, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Se the section Analysis/Interpretation in this Talk Page, above.Callmepgr (talk) 21:10, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
@User:Callmepgr, the UIllinois list is a very good list, I actually have it bookmarked as part of the accumulation of material I've hoped to add to the article. Slowly though, I think the way the Four Quartets articles are structured are a the start of a good guide on how to proceed (they are GAs, but if I reviewed them for GA, I would have sought some improvement especially on the citations and analysis), and I would probably use some of the ideas on how I organized the articles on Rilke's Duino Elegies (an FA), Kilmer's "Trees" (having a hard time getting through FAC now) and my vision for Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock or Donne's Holy Sonnets (both a work in progress). We should as you pointed out above, describe the sections and the scenes, but also one of greater themes--the philosophical questions posed by the work (especially with the abject impotence of the Fisher King legend as the frame for the poem)--with a better analysis of how the various literary and cultural allusions fit into the poems narrative arc. Ultimately, we forget, the poem is a collection of images.
We would need to aim on discussing the piece on a four-fold front: (1) The writing and publication history, including popular and critical reception (2) an analysis of the structural elements of the poem, scansion, techniques (3) discussion as to the themes and content, analysis and interpretation of how they fit into the narrative--what we gain from reading and comprehending Eliot's message, (4) its legacy on the world of literature since. This is a sticky wicket because of how complex the work is--especially in balancing the need for a summary with necessary and unending detail that begins to open the poem's myriad meanings. Unlike "Trees" or Rilke's Elegies which are both rather obvious.--ColonelHenry (talk) 21:26, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
You know a lot more about this than I do. Your proposed structure looks fine to me, but can you (or we) pull it off? It is very hard to do, as you explained above... Why not start with going to the current article, flawed and disorganized as it is, and just expand on that "Structure" section, where it lists the five parts of the poem. You if you've studied the poem in depth, you could easily expand that to include subsections and episodes. That would be a starting point for discussing the content... Callmepgr (talk) 21:55, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Maybe the questions surrounding 'what's it about' are 'why is it important?' and 'what makes it Modernist?'. These helpful responses still don't get to the crux. The intro section ought to give some account for the poem's importance to Modernism. Is it Elliot's daring in raising the contemporary urban issue of alienation and using the illogic of free association and anxiety in structuring the work? Will someone more expert than I (any who have responded above) be bold and put together such an explanation in the summary/intro please? JamesMcArdle 05:31, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

Proposal regarding revision and citation format (per WP:CITEVAR)[edit]

I'd really like to revise this article and for a while now have been preparing the materials to do so. However, one of the things that has kept me from doing so is the citation format. I am not a fan of cite templates, and quite frankly, I tend to avoid articles that use them because while I know how to use them, they are just a bitch to edit around, and I find that the template format doesn't give me the necessary ability to put as much information into a citation as I'd want, or think a citation might need.

Per WP:CITEVAR, I must first seek consensus among the article's other contributors for such a conversion from templates to manual citations.

If I am to add considerable material to this article, I would only do so if I were free to rewrite the article using manual citations. I would employ the (1) <ref> tag for citations, (2) {{efn}} for notes. If I have to deal with cite templates to add my material, I'll focus my efforts on other articles and save the material I've accumulated for "The Waste Land" (after 10 years of studying it) for a book.--ColonelHenry (talk) 14:34, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

  • If I don't receive any comments to this request, or if I receive one or two that are not negative to this proposal, I'll consider that there is no objection and proceed as I intend.--ColonelHenry (talk) 14:38, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Please ColonelHenry be bold! JamesMcArdle 05:35, 22 May 2016 (UTC)
I've no problem with 1 and 2 (ref tag and efn template). I like the cite template because it makes it easier for me to do citations but I should be able to adjust. Go for it. WikiParker (talk) 20:05, 10 September 2013 (UTC)