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The Waste Land and Other Writings (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – January 8, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

First published in 1922, "The Waste Land" is T.S. Eliot's masterpiece, and is not only one of the key works of modernism but also one of the greatest poetic achievements of the twentieth century. A richly allusive pilgrimage of spiritual and psychological torment and redemption, Eliot's poem exerted a revolutionary influence on his contemporaries, summoning forth a rich new poetic language, breaking decisively with Romantic and Victorian poetic traditions. Kenneth Rexroth was not alone in calling Eliot "the representative poet of the time, for the same reason that Shakespeare and Pope were of theirs. He articulated the mind of an epoch in words that seemed its most natural expression."
As influential as his verse, T.S. Eliot's criticism also exerted a transformative effect on twentieth-century letter, and this new edition of "The Waste Land and Other Writings includes a selection of Eliot's most important essays.
In her new Introduction, Mary Karr dispels some of the myths of the great poem's inaccessibility and sheds fresh light on the ways in which "The Waste Land" illuminates contemporary experience.

From the Back Cover

“I can only repeat, but with the urgency of fifty years ago: READ HIM.”—Ezra Pound --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; 2002 edition (January 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375759344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375759345
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Anthony D. Barnstone on August 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
I generally like Mary Karr's work, but I have to say that I was terribly disappointed when this book arrived.

Issue 1: POOR SELECTION. I chose it to teach to my undergraduates in a Modern Poetry class, thinking it would have the essential Eliot poems, plus a good collection of his essays. In fact, it has Eliot's early poems and The Waste Land, but has nothing after that, no "The Hollow Men," no "Four Quartets," no "Ariel Poems." I'm guessing that the press decided to put out a cheap edition of those Eliot poems that were in the public domain and that they could therefore get for free. For anything published later, you are out of luck.

Issue 2: NO FOOTNOTES. Eliot is a very difficult poet, and undergraduates need some help in understanding him. This edition has no notes of any sort outside of those that Eliot appended to "The Waste Land."

Issue 3: NO TRANSLATION OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE PASSAGES. Outside of the fact that readers will miss many of Eliot's diffucult references and allusions, Eliot's poems and essays assume that the reader can read French, Greek, and Latin, and those passages are presented to the reader without a translation.

All in all, this feels like a quickly-thrown-together edition that is poorly selected and reader unfriendly.
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I have several books of T.S. Eliot's works and I prefer this one over the rest. It is a nice compilation of his oeuvre, with his poetry and prose, and most importantly this book does not clutter up his writings with some other person's reflections on what Eliot is saying. This is a great book for reading The Waste Land, one of his true master works. I ordered another book that had The Waste Land broken down with commentary throughout, and it detracted from reading it. This book does have an introductory section that explains how to read The Waste Land, which is nice, and commendably is not stuck in the middle of the actual work so that it interrupts it. This book has a nice smattering of his poems like Morning At The Window and Whispers of Immortality, then gives you some of his great essays like Tradition And The Individual Talent. I applaud the publisher for putting together this great collection.
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T.S. Eliot was a major poet and one I'm never sure I have ever really understood though I have read his poems many times. This is a fine selection of important poems and some major interpretive essays in an easy package to buy and read.
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Yeah, "The Waste Land" is one of those poems that everyone has to read because it so forms our current cultural milieu. And it should be read for that reason. I think, however, that most people, because they read it for that reason, only respect the poem (and Eliot) and don't necessarily like it. They don't always feel it.

I'm one of that other kind of reader, though, that just loves this poem. I love it because I find in it such a profound articulation of a lostness, a despair, that I think we all, at times, feel. And I'm one of the readers that see Eliot in the poem as working through the despair, sewing a couple of small seeds of hope. "The Waste Land" is a poem that I find myself reaching for to keep me going.

I particularly love this edition of Eliot's poems because it contains Mary Karr's essay that is essential for anyone who reads this poem "with the soul."

The rest of the selection of poems is excellent as well. The inclusion of many of Eliot's most important essays, particularly "Tradition and the Individual Talent," also makes this edition valuable. For multiple reasons, this is a must-have.
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