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The Wasteland.docx

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Nick Mount

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The Wasteland Published in 1921/22, difficult time in England (economically, politically) Employment collapse after war, 5 million people unemployed, coalition (?) government 10 million dead and much of western Europe in ruins following Great War Much of countryside that poets/writers/musicians wrote about literally a wasteland Wasteland, attempt to answer question from old man in poem two years earlier 5 parts/fragments Montage/collage of western literature, fragments from culture, broken up by war and reassembled in a frame, much like Hart House stained glass window No single view, voice, narrator Eliot wrote down ideas in journal as it came to him, fragmented poems If we perceive world as order/assessable/meaningful, respond to art that is the same If world in ruins, or perceived to be, respond to art in same way Wasteland is product of its time, in form and message, reflected its time World is a mess wrote a poem that is a mess Eliot is a fan of pop culture, but not of democracy in politics or art Eliot purposely made work inaccessible to most Perception of reality is fragmented Wanted to unsettle the unified perspective of the world None of the voices in Wasteland are his, anonymous/collective voice, speaking through them to us Eliot developed ‘impersonal theory’ of poetry , became less personal poetry, ‘ continual extinction of personality’ Tap into experiences/emotions of world by not speaking through individual consciousness Pop culture is ‘shared culture’, ritual, shared consciousness Wasteland is many pieces/fragments of truth Looking for order in life, through literature and myth ‘Land of Fisher King’ references (allusion) throughout Wasteland, pseudostructure for poem Gave him idea for narrative
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