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.
About the Author
T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) was one of the fathers of modernism and a defining voice in English-language poetry. He is the author of some of the best known poems in the English language, including "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," The Waste Land, "Ash Wednesday," and Four Quartets. The leading poet of the modernist avant-garde, Eliot radically reimagined the possibilities for literature in the twentieth century and beyond, and was also renowned as a playwright and as a literary and social critic. Eliot's books of criticism include The Sacred Wood, while his theatrical works include Murder in the Cathedral. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948.
Mary Karr is the author of three award-winning, bestselling memoirs: The Liars' Club, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Cherry, which was selected as a "notable book" by book reviews nationwide; and Lit, which was one of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of the Year (and made virtually every other Best of the Year list) and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. A Guggenheim Fellow in poetry, Karr has won Pushcart Prizes for both verse and essays. She is the Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University.