Corpsey

call me big papa
That's one of the reasons I like Eliot reading it - he's got a strange and sinister voice. A hint of the serial killer about him, like Dr Crippen.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
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.
I thought at first you meant literal concrete but you mean the real, specific, located?

I think what makes the wasteland difficult for many is the shift between layers of reality (the concrete of London vs the stone of the wasteland), allusion, imagination - and voice. Often without warning, abruptly, violently or just bemusingly.
 

Simon silverdollarcircle

Well-known member
I thought at first you meant literal concrete but you mean the real, specific, located?

I think what makes the wasteland difficult for many is the shift between layers of reality (the concrete of London vs the stone of the wasteland), allusion, imagination - and voice. Often without warning, abruptly, violently or just bemusingly.

Yeah but may be now in the era of sampling, channel hopping, multiple tabs open on your browser, following link after link on a Wikipedia binge, this makes more sense to us?

Coil had this thing that they were not the creators of their music but merely conduits of stuff hanging round in the ether. You've just got to keep your antennae open, they said, and it comes.

I get a similar feeling reading the snatches and splurges of speech in the wasteland.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I hadn't thought of it as being about that but that's an interesting way to look at it.

Eliot in Four Quartets

"Only a flicker
Over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration"
 

Simon silverdollarcircle

Well-known member
There's some humour in the wasteland as well I think, like in all great art.

Gallows humour

That bit about a nice hot gammon is like a Pete and Dud sketch.

The Game of Chess section is a pisstake of Victorian decadent poetry right? Swinburne and that lot?
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
The image of walking in circles

A heap of broken images

Disassociated quotations to hand

Buddhist palliatives

It's all eventually recognisable
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
As Luka said we're in the wasteland (the world wide waste land) - including us (would be) "intellectuals" with scraps of knowledge to hand and no clear path to making use of it. Nobody has a clear path actually.

I suppose the idea is that all this activity is covering up a desert waste. Which is a bleak view.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I suppose the idea is that all this activity is covering up a desert waste. Which is a bleak view.
No. The desert moves in. It happens, nothing else. No djinn in the boy, no treachery in the wall, no hostility in the desert. Nothing [...]

Soon, nothing. Soon only desert. The two goats must choke on sand, nuzzling down to find the white clover. He, never to taste their soured milk again. The melons die beneath the sand. Never more can you give comfort in the summer, cool abdelawi, shaped like the angel's trumpet! The maize dies and there is no bread. The wife, the children grow sick and short-tempered. The man, he, runs one night out to where the wall was, begins to lift and toss imaginary rocks about, curses Allah, then begs forgiveness from the Prophet, then urinates on the desert, hoping to insult what cannot be insulted.

They find him in the morning a mile from the house, skin blued, shivering in a sleep which is almost death, tears turned to frost on the sand.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Yeah but may be now in the era of sampling, channel hopping, multiple tabs open on your browser, following link after link on a Wikipedia binge, this makes more sense to us?

Coil had this thing that they were not the creators of their music but merely conduits of stuff hanging round in the ether. You've just got to keep your antennae open, they said, and it comes.

I get a similar feeling reading the snatches and splurges of speech in the wasteland.
Pulp modernism.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
As Luka said we're in the wasteland (the world wide waste land) - including us (would be) "intellectuals" with scraps of knowledge to hand and no clear path to making use of it. Nobody has a clear path actually.

I suppose the idea is that all this activity is covering up a desert waste. Which is a bleak view.
I don't think so as it is just the description of a stage. One of the 36 chambers you have to pass through. (Albeit the one we have been stuck in for 100 years or whatever) Read the grapejuice stuff. He's great at explaining this with reference to the relevant grail legends.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Been reading some sources tonight - The Golden Bough, From Ritual to Romance...

http://world.std.com/~raparker/exploring/books/hesse_hudson_brothers.html

Herman Hesse on the "downfall of Europe" as prophesysed (according to Hesse) in Dostoevsky. Greatly impressed Eliot when he read it in 1921 (when he was writing the Wasteland).

https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/the-brihadaranyaka-upanishad/d/doc122189.html

The three disciplines from the Upanishads (explaining "Da", what the thunder says).
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
"Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass..."

@luka
This was one of the lines Pound complained about Eliot being too flipfloppy because there was a "maybe" in there.

"Make up yr mind you Tiresias if you know know damn well or else you don't"

There's a fascinating essay about Pound's role in the wasteland by Helen Gardner in this Norton edition. Very much recommend it, full of very helpful material.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
For hewers and axemen like myself, looking at Pound's manuscript with editorial suggestions is endlessly fascinating.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I just listened to the whole Alec Guinness reading - what's beginning to dawn on me that I didn't spot before, and couldn't believe in, is the poignancy of the poem. It has always seemed chilly, misanthropic to me, but there is a sense of waste and melancholy to it all - and pity for many of the people in it, if not the self assured clerk and the barmaid(?).

I think Guinness does well, although his German accent is unfortunately comical. What an actor can bring to a reading of it is that ventriloquist facility - 'He do the Police in Different Voices' was Eliot's original title for the first two parts, which is taken from Dickens's 'Our Mutual Friend'.
 
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