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The Waste Land [Paperback]

T. S. Eliot , Michael North
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 28 2000 0393974995 978-0393974997
The text of Eliot's 1922 masterpiece is accompanied by thorough explanatory annotations as well as by Eliot's own knotty notes, some of which require annotation themselves. For ease of reading, this Norton Critical Edition presents The Waste Landas it first appeared in the American edition (Boni & Liveright), with Eliot's notes at the end. Contexts provides readers with invaluable materials on The Waste Land's sources, composition, and publication history. Criticism traces the poem's reception with twenty-five reviews and essays, from first reactions through the end of the twentieth century. Included are reviews published in the Times Literary Supplement, along with selections by Virginia Woolf, Gilbert Seldes, Edmund Wilson, Elinor Wylie, Conrad Aiken, Charles Powell, Gorham Munson, Malcolm Cowley, Ralph Ellison, John Crowe Ransom, I. A. Richards, F. R. Leavis, Cleanth Brooks, Delmore Schwartz, Denis Donoghue, Robert Langbaum, Marianne Thormählen, A. D. Moody, Ronald Bush, Maud Ellman, Christine Froula, and Tim Armstrong. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are included.

About the Series: No other series of classic texts equals the caliber of the Norton Critical Editions. Each volume combines the most authoritative text available with the comprehenive pedagogical apparatus necessary to appreciate the work fully. Careful editing, first-rate translation, and thorough explanatory annotations allow each text to meet the highest literary standards while remaining accessible to students. Each edition is printed on acid-free paper and every text in the series remains in print. Norton Critical Editions are the choice for excellence in scholarship for students at more than 2,000 universities worldwide.

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From Library Journal

Written when Eliot was working as a bank clerk and heavily edited by his friend Ezra Pound, 1922's The Waste Land could probably take the prize as the most important English-language poem of the 20th century. This 75th-anniversary edition includes the full text plus notes and an afterword by scholar/editor Christopher Ricks.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Michael North is Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of The Dialect of Modernism: Race, Language, and Twentieth-Century Literature, The Final Sculpture: Public Monuments and Modern Poets, Reading 1922: A Return to the Scene of the Modern, The Political Aesthetic of Yeats, Eliot, and Pound, and Henry Green and the Writing of His Generation, as well as many articles on various aspects of twentieth-century literature.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Poem, Great Edition Jan. 11 2004
It truly saddens me to see someone flaunt their idiocy like the previous reviewer ranting about how writers cannot write about social ills; meanwhile, second rate philosophers turned literary Critics can whenever possible.
Simply stated, the poem is one the true benchmarks for twentieth century literature. It is rather difficult in that it is highly allusive, some allusions fall on the rather obscure side (Middleton, Weston) but mostly they are rather well known (Augustine, Dante, the Bible, Baudelaire, Wagner). The experience will prove to be as didactic as well as expressive due to all these allusions in the text. As far as the poem itself goes, it has a definite effect on you when you read it. I remember the first time I read the lines, "I think we are in rats' alley where the dead men lost their bones," and although I couldn't really understand what was going on just yet in the poem, that line as well as many other lines and images, had an affect on me. On the whole the emotional tone of the poem (not to do it injustice and say what it is about) is the spiritual alienation and degradation everyone felt after WWI. It's a quest of sorts, taken on by a persona of Eliot to find meaning amidst "the stony rubbish" that is the world. It sets the philosophy of Buddha and Augustine side by side as it does with the Rg Veda and the Bible in a collage of different voices and arresting images.
A good guide though is imperative for undertaking this task and this edition is, to my knowledge, the best one out there. It gives many of the primary texts alluded to by Eliot in this poem as well as serving as a good introduction to the mountains of criticism that this poem has birthed. All in all, the book is a great buy for those who are interested in gaining a true appreciation and understanding of this poem and for twentieth century poetry which it influenced so much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Simply put, THE WASTE LAND is one of the strangest, most complicated, and interesting poems ever written. Try reading an unannotated version of the poem and you will see why even TS Eliot scholars need a little help with some of the images and literary references Eliot uses. This NORTON CRITICAL EDITION of THE WASTE LAND is an essential book for any Eliot fan, new or old. It provides you with practically every single piece of literature, history, and music that inspired Eliot to write his manifesto of the Lost Generation. If you have any questions concerning THE WASTE LAND, this is the book you need...this is the book you want. Buy it and realize how well-read you are not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Waste Land in this edition Feb. 21 2003
By A Customer
Do I really need to say how important Eliot is? Simply put, this is the dividing line. Poetry has never been the same since. Beyond that, the Norton Critical edition does an excellent job assisting us by providing the reader with many of the sources this excellent poem was based on, as well as many responses to this poem in one neat and nifty book! Plus the poem is thrown in just for kicks. Buy the book! Love the book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great poem, comprehensive edition May 13 2001
The Waste Land is undoubtedly the most contentious and possibly the greatest poem of the 20th century. The reactions to and interpretations of the poem are as diverse as the multiple voices Eliot conjurs throughout the work. This edition is useful because it presents the variety of critical responses to the poem; historical and contemporary. The extensive bibliography points the reader to other important critical material. The edition is ultimately successful because of these virtues.
North's emphasis on source materials is the edition's greatest liability. In his introdution, North alludes to the controversy over Eliot's notes, but the edition never discusses the problem that the critical reliance on the notes pose. It takes Eliot's notes as a reliable and critically uncontroversial guide to source material and spends a considerable part of the book elaborating these sources. Sometimes the source material that the notes point to provide insight into the poem and oftentimes they reveal a misplaced credulity in Eliot's ultimate critical authority.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Like a map for finding the Grail . . . . April 15 2001
Literature scholars universally recognize Eliot's "Waste Land" as one of the most influential poems of the 20th century. The poem draws on a wealth of images, everything from classics of Western literature to Tarot cards, from anthropology to Eastern sacred texts. The title refers to the barren land of the Fisher King in Arthurian legend; both the king and the land eventually find redemption through the Holy Grail. Through a masterful use of language and symbols, Eliot brilliantly portrays the problem of meaning in the modern world --- and the way to deeper meaning!
Unfortunately, many of Eliot's references are arcane, and not easy for the lay reader to pursue. For example, few modern readers happen to have a copy of Webster's play "White Devil" or excerpts from Shackleton's account of the Antarctic expedition readily available on their shelves. Hence, the virtue of this particular edition: in addition to Eliot's original poem and original notes, this book includes the relevant passages from every single work Eliot quotes in the "Wasteland", all translated into English. For the first time I have seen in print, this book allows the reader to understand this magnificent poem in light of the full scope of its allusions. A triumphant achievement!
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