Eliot was a very peculiar man.

That's one source of his greatness.
He used to like going on holiday to really bland commuter towns in the suburbs I think. Like people would say to him "no one ever goes there" and he'd be impelled to get straight on the train

I think many of us on dissensus can prob relate to that at least
 

luka

Moderator
'Stetson!
'You who were with me in the ships at Mylae.'
What you get in the waste land (& ulylesses) is what you get in Phillip k dick. So for instance, this notion that the empire never ended. That we are still playing out the events of the early Christian years. That our lives have this submerged mythic-historic dimension. This is all fundamental to the major monuments of literary modernism.

This is why Mark fisher talked about 'pulp modernism'

It's the concepts of modernism with a pulp engine. Burroughs and Dick. Mark E Smith.
 

sadmanbarty

New member
i put on the alec guinness reading and thought "what a load of bollocks".

just double checked now by reading it myself and its much, much better.
 

luka

Moderator
It's a very London poem though. A very recognisable London as a major foggy character and presence. I think that's one reason I found it so easy to connect with.
 

sadmanbarty

New member
It's a very London poem though. A very recognisable London as a major foggy character and presence. I think that's one reason I found it so easy to connect with.
there's a bit where he's just listing loads of place names and it sounds like southside allstars
 

luka

Moderator
There's something about introducing the concrete into a poem that is very potent I think.

Mary Woolnoth. Cannon st hotel. Lower Thames street. Greenwich reach.
 

luka

Moderator
I like also how just snatches of conversation or little, luminous details give you a sense of an entire historical social construct.

The enervated, neurotic voices of the pre war European aristocracy on the first page. That feeble, fragile sickly thing. Idle and obsolete.
 

luka

Moderator
I know that. It's on a hardcore tune. Corpsey can you contribute to your own thread please? what do you like about it?
 

catalog

Active member
From the other thread, which I'm reading back:

QUOTE=Corpsey;414901]I was reading the wasteland last night and it seems to me that I can't really get as much out of it as I could because I simply don't believe in his miserable vision of life.

But that vision of life (as Helen Gardner argues) was the necessary prelude to Eliot's conversion. He was such a depressed alienated figure that he needed to believe in God to not go absolutely crazy.

I suppose it's still worth reading for the language/technique and also just as an insight into the mind of the profoundly alienated.[/QUOTE]
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I was reading it last night. Stoned out of my nut and on ketamine too actually. I suppose what obviously appeals to me is the Poetic bits, the Biblical bits, "stirring dull roots with spring rain", "I will show you fear in a handful of dust", "unreal city"... What has always tripped me up is the interjection of apparent irrelevancies, which now I recognise are deliebrately in contrast to and dialogue with the grander parts. And all of it binded together with the imagery of water, mountains, rocks.

I don't know if I like all of it though - e.g. the parody of Antony and Cleopatra when describing the woman, it goes on for so long (relatively) I don't know what I'm supposed to be getting out of it.

But reading it last night in a drugged gallop I did think "this is great". I've had bits explained to me by footnote so I know when he's quoting Tristan and Isolde or Baudelaire, which helps smooth the path. But it's definitely worth reading it headlong.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
The parody of the pub talk - with the reference to an abortion - this reminds me of "Brighton Rock", a lofty Catholic perspective on commonplace, thoughtless sin. Which is where it can be off-putting, Eliot describing the "carbuncular" young man "on whom assurance sits / As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire".

"Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass..."

Hard not to read this stuff as snobbery, especially given Eliot's gentlemanly affectations. But perhaps that's some sort of PC policealarm going off in my brain.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
The transition between stanzas here is amazing - the dull, aimless but pleasant routine of the rich, then this intense, apocalyptic rhetoric. A violent contrast. And then the rhythms of that stanza "where the sun beats, /
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, /
And the dry stone no sound of water."

I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water.
 
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