The Waste Land Criticism

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From the time it was published until the twenty-first century, The Waste Land has inspired both passion and hatred. Jewel Spears Brooker sums it up best in her entry on Eliot for Dictionary of Literary Biography: "The Waste Land was taken by some critics as a tasteless joke, by others as a masterpiece expressing the disillusionment of a generation. As far as Eliot was concerned, it was neither." As many critics have cited, Eliot viewed the poem as a catharsis, a way to release much of his frustration and stress that had ultimately led to his nervous breakdown.

Yet, while this is what Eliot said, his decision to include extensive notes with the poem, which identified the source of many of the poem's obscure or confusing references, seemed to ascribe great meaning to the poem. The author notes also invited negative criticism. Many critics, like Conrad Aiken, felt...

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This section contains 617 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Poetry for Students
The Waste Land from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.