A central work of modernism, "The Waste Land" evokes a world of moral, sexual and spiritual decay. In it Eliot gives voice to the deep intellectual uncertainty that had existed from the 1870s and to his own sense of the collapse of civilization. Stephen Coote's critical study outlines the historical background that led Eliot to his bleak vision of humanity. He gives a close account of the development of the poem and disucsses fully its arguments, allusions, poetic techniques and patterns of imagery. There is also a chapter on the crucial role played by Ezra Pound in editing the manuscript. Above all, he seeks to elucidate the way in which Eliot drew upon the rich tradition of past centuries, bringing together myth and life-enhancing poetry to create a work that has become a seminal part of our heritage.
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