Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Annotated Wasteland with Eliot’s Contemporary Prose, edited, with annotations and introduction by Lawrence Rainey (2006)

I offer my great thanks to Max u for The Amazon Gift Card that allowed me to acquire this book.

T. S. Eliot, was Born 1888 in Saint Louis, died in London in 1965 and is buried in Westminister Abbey.  

The Wasteland by T. S. Eliot (1922) is by far the most influential poem of the 20th century.  After a hiatus of way too long, I reread it last month.  I read it several times and listened to five different readings of the poem, including Eliot’s (on YouTube).  You cannot begin to understand modern literature, not just English language poetry, without this poem.  First time readers may feel intimidated or feel the poem is beyond their comprehension.  Forgot this. Once I got into I loved how strange it was, how dramatic and I knew many if not most of the allusions were lost on me.  Lawrence Rainey’s book was exactly what I needed, it is a literary autodidacts perfect book.  

Rainey begins with a very well done introduction taking Eliot from St. Louis to Studies at Harvard, Oxford and the Sorbonne.  Rainey talks about the seven years he worked in London at Lloyd’s Bank, in the foreign accounts department, his marriage, and his very important relationship with Ezra Pound.  Rainey’s annotations were fascinating and detailed.  We see the works that influenced Eliot, his descriptions of the city of London, meaning the financial district, we follow the Eliot’s as they move around.  I was gratified to learn that Bertrand Russell helped Eliot with financial aid and provided he and Vivian with a very nice place to live, giving Eliot the peace of mind to write.  Rainey talks a good bit about the business side of publishing poetry in the early 1920s.  

I very highly recommend this book to all with a serious interest in modern 
Poetry, which probably began with The Wasteland.  I Will return to it often.  

                                              From Yale University 

“One of the twentieth century’s most powerful—and controversial—works, The Waste Land was published in the desolate wake of the First World War. This definitive edition of T. S. Eliot’s masterpiece presents a new and authoritative version of the poem, along with all the essays Eliot wrote as he was composing The Waste Land, seven of them never before published in book form. The volume is enriched with period photographs and a London map of locations mentioned in the poem.
Featured in the book are Lawrence Rainey’s groundbreaking account of how The Waste Land came to be composed; a history of the reactions of admirers and critics; and full annotations to the poem and Eliot’s essays. The edition transforms our understanding of one of the greatest modernist writers and the magnificent poem that became a landmark in literary history.

Lawrence Rainey is professor and chair in modernist literature, Department of English, University of York. He is the author of Institutions of Modernism: Literary Elites and Pub. From the website of Yale University Press

Mel u


Fred said...

Mel u--it's also been too long since I last read The Wasteland and other poems, especially The Hollow Men, by Eliot. Thanks for reminding me. If I decide to dig deeper into the work, I will certainly look around for Rainey's book.

Buried In Print said...

I have only read this as part of a school study some years ago and I am one of those to whom you have referred, who thinks she's not up to the task of revisiting/rereading/reading it now. However, I have really enjoyed your coverage of it, and I do think I might give it a go another time, especially with a book like this one to add to my comprehension. You raise many good points here!

Mel u said...

Fred, I will, I hope be going deeper into to Eliot in 2018. Thanks as always for your comments

Mel u said...

Buried in Print, I think it helped me a lot to listen to various readings on YouTube, I especially liked that of Fiona Shaw, there is also a very good six part BBC documentary