Selected Poems Paperback – 1967
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This selection, which may be regarded as an introduction to his work, was made by T S Eliot himself.
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don't be misled by the 'product description', as I was, which you get when viewing the details for this book on Amazon, which states:
Introduction to the text
Summaries with critical notes
Themes and techniques
Textual analysis of key passages
Historical and literary background
Modern and historical critical approaches
Glossary of literary terms --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
This description DOES NOT describe the book - none of these are included (there are a few notes on The Wasteland, but that is it).
If you click on the word 'paperback' it takes you to another page showing a book of York Notes - this is what the 'product description' is describing.
I was right on both counts. But it was hard going. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" was difficult, but It took me four tries to get through the first section of "The Waste Land". I felt frustrated. I remember reading the whole poem through and simply saying "...What?" aloud to my room at three in the morning. But still, phrases leapt out at me: "A heap of broken images, where the sun beats...", "...I could not speak, and my eyes failed. I was neither living nor dead, and I knew nothing"... "Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison"... Although I didn't understand it, it was so beautiful that I had to keep reading, and gradually, meaning came. As I grew, so did my understanding of the poem, and my knowledge of the literature that Eliot slips into his work: when I first realised that "But at my back I always hear / the sound of horns and motors" was a reference to Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" I felt like an archaeologist discovering a link between two ancient cultures on opposite sides of the globe. The first time I spotted Hamlet in there it felt like coming home. And now, even though I can recite passages by heart and wrote my A-level coursework on "The Waste Land", I still find something new whenever I read it.Read more ›
However, there are some easier poems in here, with 'The Love song of J.Alfred Prufrock' coming in as one of my top pieces of poetry because of Eliot's striking word play.
I'd really recommend you read this because I think although it's rather personal to Eliot himself, I think it's equally personal to the individual reader, and there will be something in here that attracts you personally to his poetry.
We know Eliot had had a breakdown and had taken leave from work when he wrote The Waste Land. There is a merging of the personal and the political. With Eliot's desire to escape from his personality through detachment in his work, he uses impersonality. The technique where variations of mental state are depicted through various personae and voices is radically experimental. We have a fractured narrative, changing voices and tonal shifts and we cannot identify who the voices are: who `we' `us' or `I' is.Through the indolence of illness he tapped the depths of his subconscious.This also comes after the First World War.
We need to remember Eliot is a major dramatic poet(his most experimental work is Sweeney Agonistes)using dramatic monologue, dramatic meditation, striving to grasp a metaphysical condition that could be called religious in a world that knew nothing of it at a time when Eliot was non-Christian. He draws on the mythical method he admires in Ulysses, but the result is incoherent and messy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very high quality hardcover edition printed on high quality paper at a very nice price. Nice, manageable size, and a wonderful selection.Published 13 months ago by Stein Ra
What a great edition of Eliots work. the book itself is lovely and the presentation of his work makes it easy and even more enjoyable to readPublished 13 months ago by Scott
A book I can dip into and enjoy at any time. B. GallagherPublished 15 months ago by Brigid Gallagher
Brilliant book; really helpful reading aid to my English university course.Published 16 months ago by Abbie Williams