The Waste Land

waste landThe epigraph introducing the whole book is a line from T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land:

These fragments I have shored against my ruins

(although see the unfortunate typo that appeared in one of the early drafts of the book…)

The Waste Land is a very powerful poem, and is commonly quoted. For example, lines from Section IV have been borrowed for two book titles by one of my favourite authors, Iain M. Banks: Consider Phlebas and Look to Windward; and the opening line of the poem, ‘April is the cruellest month’ has been adopted as a lyric by electronic music band Hot Chip. It is an absolute joy to hear the poem read aloud with the due rhythm and performance. I would, therefore, heartily recommend The Waste Land app released by the publishers Faber. It offers recordings of the poem read in its entirety by Eliot himself, as well as Ted Hughs and Viggo Mortensen (who of course plays the father in the film adaptation of The Road), alongside reproductions of Eliot’s edited manuscript and a filmed performance by Fiona Shaw.

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