The Waste Land is the most important poem of the twentieth century which defined modernity after the First World war, forever transforming our understanding of ourselves, the broken world we live in and the literature that was meant to make sense of it.

Iran (IMNA) - Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, of New England stock. He entered Harvard in 1906 and was influenced there by the anti-Romanticism of Irving Babbitt, Jacobean literature, the Italian Renaissance, and Indian mystical philosophy. His philosophical studies included intensive work on the English idealist philosopher, F.H. Bradely, on whom T. S. Eliot wrote his Harvard dissertation. Later Eliot studied literature and philosophy in France and Germany after the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Moreover, he studied Greek philosophy at Oxford. He had learned from the Imagists the necessity of clear and precise images and also, he learned from the philosopher-poet, T.E. Hulme and Ezra Pound to fear romantic softness and to regard the poetic medium rather than the poet’s personality as the notable factor.

The Waste land is widely regarded as T.S Eliot’s great masterpiece and central work of modernist poetry in a series of scenes and images first published in book form in 1922. In this poem there is no author’s voice intervening to tell us where we are, but multiple implications developed through contrasts and analogies with older literary works in a distorted quotation or half-concealed allusion. According to The Norton Anthology of English Literature “this is a poem about spiritual dryness, about the kind of existence in which no regenerating belief gives significance and value to men’ daily activities, sex brings no fruitfulness, and death heralds no resurrection.”

I. The Burial of the Dead

April is the cruelest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

Winter kept us warm, covering

Earth in forgetful snow, feeding

A little life with dried tubers.

Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee

With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,

And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,

And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.

Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.

And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,

My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,

And I was frightened. He said, Marie,

Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.

In the mountains, there you feel free.

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. Only

There is shadow under this red rock,

(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),

And I will show you something different from either

Your shadow at morning striding behind you

Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

Frisch weht der Wind

Der Heimat zu

Mein Irisch Kind,

Wo weilest du?

“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;

“They called me the hyacinth girl.”

—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,

Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not

Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither

Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,

Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

Oed’ und leer das Meer.

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