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English 1022 Lecture on "The Wasteland"

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English 1022E
David Bentley

Second Lecture on TS Eliots The Wasteland March 10 2011Eliot is hiding behind Tarisius Dante suggestion is that the typist and the young man are among the lowest inhabitants of the wastelandTarisius is a detached observer someone with knowledge of the past present and future He is blind but capable of insight because of this gift from Job He can see the deep structures that are operating here operating beneath the surface This links us to another modernist impulse which weve seen in Freud the idea that all people have the Oedipus complex All literature fits into the same patterns we saw with Northrop Frye That the fisher King is a universal figure All places have the same kind of mythsYes but lets step back from that Tarisius experienced the sex life of a woman and a man but at the end of the day hes still a man although it claims that he has a double perspectiveHow detached is it from Eliot Not very If you think about Eliot you can easily see that Tarisius is a projection of his anxieties the way he came to think of himself as a writer Eliot is purported to have some homosexual experiences we know that he had an extremely unhappy marriage to his first wife He liked to think of himself as prematurely old He invented the persona of old possum so he liked to think of himself as a wise old manTheres a lot of Eliot we can see in Tarisius and why Eliot picked this character over other charactersModernism was aggressively openly interested in sexuality Lawrence is obsessed with heterosexuality This was the era still of coersive heterosexuality if you found that you had other desires you did your best to conceal that EM Forster and Virginia Woolf did precisely that Eliot viewed homosexuality as part of the mulez of the Wasteland Saw it as something that was infertile at heart and part of the issue of infertility sterility of the Wasteland How does Eliot go about depicting the sexual mulez that he takes as a symptom of a larger mulez in society as a whole He does this through Two techniques Focuses on unhappy relationships in the past and present He puts them into a montage relationship asks us to see whats the connection between that story and the one told right after itTristram and Isolde Unhappy love story that they both die in the end Little snatch of German that translates to Fresh blows the wind to the homeland my Irish child where are you waiting song sung by the sailor taking Isolde and Tristram to meet her betrothed But its about his girlfriend that hes leaving behind in Ireland so theres another love story there The next cut is stitched in here and we need to see the
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