the wasteland as a modernist poem pdf

Many of the quotations appear in foreign languages, such as the lines from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde (1857-59), a legendary story of adultery which helps Eliot to establish the theme of frustrated or misdirected sexuality. The first lines of the poem position it as a monument in a specifically English tradition by alluding to Geoffrey Chaucer, the first major poet of the English language, whom Dryden called “the Father of English Poetry.” Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales begins with a description of April’s “sweet showers,” which cause the flowers of spring to grow. Other quotations or translations come from writers of near-sacred status: Shakespeare (“Those are pearls that were his eyes,” line 48) and Dante (“I had not thought death had undone so many. Just as the one-eyed merchant, seller of currants, melts into the Phoenician Sailor, and the latter is not wholly distinct from Ferdinand Prince of Naples, so all the women are one woman, and the two sexes meet in Tiresias. In fact, often the formality of the language is inversely related to the seriousness of the material Eliot is describing. It was at 33, “in the middle of our life’s way,” that Dante had the vision of heaven and hell recorded in his Divine Comedy. For Eliot’s speaker, April’s showers are cruel, not sweet. T.S. and that is our first clue, along with the title, that the poem will be dark and dour. Eliot's enormously long poem does not fit any traditional structure, and in doing so, Eliot set the standard for modern poetry. Eliot’s frequent adaptation of lines from other poets, such as Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, John Webster, and Andrew Marvell, often reinforces this tendency to revert to the standard meter of English long poems, for example in the opening lines of the second section, “A Game of Chess.” Indeed Pound criticized these passages as “too penty,” that is, too close to iambic pentameter, or as Pound also put it, “too tum-pum at a stretch.” In addition to the many lines clearly written in blank verse, Eliot uses various rhyme schemes, often to comic effect. In other words, there is not a set form. It has no hero and no linear narrative. He taught grammar school briefly and then took a job at Lloyds Bank, where he worked for eight years. Eliot uses quatrains (rhyming units of four lines) to describe the tryst. Many myths attribute the death of winter and the rebirth of spring to the death and rebirth of a god with human attributes, who in some ancient practices is a man ritually murdered and in others an effigy buried or thrown into the sea to guarantee fertility or to bring rain. The section makes use of at least seven voices: the initial narrator, the nightingale, the neurotic woman, her companion, the gramophone, the maid, and the barkeeper. Eliot’s use of allusion and quotation seems in part a response to the dilemma of coming at the end of a great tradition. Eliot adopted these Old English poetic techniques from Pound, who had translated the Anglo-Saxon poem “The Seafarer” into alliterative modern English. the wasteland as a modernist poem pdf September 19, 2020 by However, the emotions are assumed in something like the way an actor takes on a role—Eliot, in Here, the first two lines seem to be made up entirely of stressed syllables, although they tend to fall into groups of three. Instead of granting perspective on history, they struggle to contain it in their irregular forms. The use of so many voices in this kind of collage allows the poet to distance himself from any single statement. And no rock The natural cycle of death and rebirth traditionally associated with the month of April appears tragic to Eliot’s speaker: April is the cruellest month, breeding Using the French term for free verse (vers libre), Eliot wrote that “no vers is libre for the man who wants to do a good job.” In particular, although he was happy to do away with standard rhyme schemes, Eliot claimed in an essay of 1917 that all verse (perhaps all language) made use of some kind of meter; what was distinctive about his work was the complexity of his use of meter: “the most interesting verse…has been done either by taking a very simple form, like the iambic pentameter, and constantly withdrawing from it, or taking no form at all, and constantly approximating to a very simple one. The poem ultimately does promise a new beginning, but Eliot’s speaker appears, perversely, to prefer winter to spring, and thus to deny the joy and beauty associated with rebirth.

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