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The Annotated Waste Land with Eliot's Contemporary Prose Hardcover – 11 Apr 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (11 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300097433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300097436
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,220,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St Louis, Missouri in 1888. He was educated at Harvard, at the Sorbonne in Paris, and at Merton College, Oxford. His early poetry was profoundly influenced by the French symbolists, especially Baudelaire and Laforgue. In his academic studies he specialised in philosophy and logic. His doctoral thesis was on F. H. Bradley.

He settled in England in 1915, the year in which he married Vivienne Haigh-Wood and also met his contemporary Ezra Pound for the first time. After teaching for a year or so he joined Lloyds Bank in the City of London in 1917, the year in which he published his first volume, Prufrock and Other Observations.

In 1919 Poems was hand-printed by Leonard and Virginia Woolf. His first collection of essays, The Sacred Wood, appeared in 1920. His most famous work, The Waste Land, was published in 1922, the same year as James Joyce's Ulysses. The poem was included in the first issue of his journal The Criterion, which he founded and edited.

Three years later he left the bank to become a director of Faber and Gwyer, later Faber and Faber. His Poems 1909-25 was one of the original titles published by Geoffrey Faber's new firm, and the basis of his standard Collected Poems 1909-1962. In 1927 he was received into the Church of England and also became a British citizen. Ash Wednesday was published at Easter 1930.

His masterpiece Four Quartets began with 'Burnt Norton' in 1936, continued with 'East Coker' in 1940, 'The Dry Salvages' in 1941 and 'Little Gidding' in 1942. The separate poems were gathered together as one work in 1943.Eliot's writing for the theatre began with the satirical 'Sweeney Agonistes' fragments.

In 1934 he wrote the London churches' pageant play 'The Rock', the choruses from which are preserved in Collected Poems, and the next year he was commissioned by the Canterbury Festival to write Murder in the Cathedral, about the martyrdom of St Thomas à Beckett. The Family Reunion followed in 1939, when he also published his children's classic, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, the jacket drawn by Eliot himself. (The Possum was Eliot's alias among friends). He later wrote three more verse plays, all of which were premièred at the Edinburgh Festival: The Cocktail Party, The Confidential Clerk and The Elder Statesman. A film of Murder in the Cathedral was shown at the Venice Film Festival in 1951.

Eliot's most important literary criticism is collected in Selected Essays 1917-1932, which he enlarged in 1951. There are a number of other volumes of lectures and essays, among them The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism, For Lancelot Andrewes, On Poetry and Poets, and two works of social criticism - The Idea of a Christian Society and Notes Towards the Definition of Culture. Eliot was appointed to the Order of Merit in January 1948 and in the Autumn was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He married for the second time in 1957, to Valerie Fletcher.

Eliot died in January 1965. There is a memorial to him in Westminster Abbey, beside those to Tennyson and Browning. His ashes are in St Michael's Church, East Coker, the Somerset village from which his ancestor Andrew Eliot emigrated to America in 1667.

After his death his widow edited the long-lost original manuscript of the The Waste Land and a volume of his letters. She also commissioned editions of his early poems Inventions of a March Hare and his Clark and Turnbull lectures The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats provided the lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber's dance musical Cats, which has been performed all over the world for the past 25 years.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. B. Hamilton on 6 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am not in a position to criticise one of the great literary achievements of the twentieth century. Everyone should read it, and make what they can of it.
The introduction and prefatory notes are good. The layout, by which I mean the typography of the poem is quite dreadful. I am aware of some of Eliot's own unusual directions in this respect, but (for example) he never intended certain passages to be set so small as to be almost unreadable. I take it this edition was not proof-read.
Sorry, but I am going out to buy a Penguin, which will almost certainly cope with Eliot's typographic intentions.
E.B. Hamilton.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S.R. on 29 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The text is good, but as a digital book it is very poor. There are a lot of notes, but can they be accessed digitally? - absolutely not!! Reading it is therefore quite hard work - the most disappointing e-reading experience I've had so far.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. D. Birks on 7 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gave me a greater understanding of T S Eliots poems and the translations were very usefull
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Burns on 15 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The text of the poem itself 'The Waste Land' is in tiny print which will not respond to the Kindle's enlarging facility
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22 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Nov. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Rainey's introduction is lucid and highly accessible. In delineating the stages of production and publication of The Waste Land he guides the 21st century reader towards a more comfortable and natural reading of the text. It enabled me to approach The Waste Land with a fresh eye, unencumbered by the need to impose an overarching structure. Fascinating and illuminating.
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