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The Waste Land and Other Poems

The Waste Land and Other Poems

by T. S. Eliot

Paperback(New Edition)

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“This splendid new edition of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land will elucidate his legacy for a rising generation of students, teachers, and general readers. The inclusion of poems from Eliot’s first two collections, a substantial selection of background material and scholarship, expert annotation, and Michael North’s learned and incisive introduction detailing the development of Eliot’s poetic coming-of-age make this an invaluable resource.” —Anita Patterson, Boston University 

This Norton Critical Edition includes:

The first American edition of The Waste Land, with Eliot’s notes, joined by Prufrock and Other Poems (1917) and Poems (1920).

Updated and expanded introductory materials and footnotes by Michael North.

Extensive contextual materials on sources for The Waste Land, its composition, and publication history for all three featured collections. Eleven reviews and reactions to Eliot’s works include those by Ezra Pound, Virginia Woolf, and Ralph Ellison.

Five new critical essays examine the themes and legacy of Eliot’s hallmark poems alongside eight classic literary critiques.

A chronology and a selected bibliography.

About the Series

Read by more than 12 million students over fifty-five years, Norton Critical Editions set the standard for apparatus that is right for undergraduate readers. The three-part format—annotated text, contexts, and criticism—helps students to better understand, analyze, and appreciate the literature, while opening a wide range of teaching possibilities for instructors. Whether in print or in digital format, Norton Critical Editions provide all the resources students need.

“This splendid new edition of T. S. Eliot’s landmark poem provides an authoritative 1922 edition of the text, the most vital materials for understanding it, and, for this supremely allusive poem, a collection of essential sources. It also brings together Eliot’s most pertinent essays and all the English poems in his earlier books, as well as an illuminating array of reviews and criticism published over the last hundred years.” — Jahan Ramazani, University of Virginia

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420953800
Publisher: Neeland Media
Publication date: 09/07/2016
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 62
Sales rank: 676,914
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.15(d)

About the Author

T. S. Eliot (1888–1965) was one of the fathers of modernism and a defining voice in English-language poetry. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948.

Michael North is a 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.

Read an Excerpt

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

S’io credessi che mia risposta fosse
a persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
questa fiamma staria senza più scosse.
Ma perciocchè che giammai di questo fondo
non tornò vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherised upon a table;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:

Streets that follow like a tedious argument

Of insidious intent

To lead you to an overwhelming question . . .

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”

Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,

The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,

Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,

Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,

Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,

Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,

And seeing that it was a soft October night,

Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time

For the yellow smoke that slides along the street

Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;

There will be time, there will be time

To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;

There will be time to murder and create,

And time for all the works and days of hands

That lift and drop a question on your plate;

Time for you and time for me,

And time yet for a hundred indecisions,

And for a hundred visions and revisions,

Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time

To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”

Time to turn back and descend the stair,

With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—

(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)

My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,

My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—

(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)

Do I dare

Disturb the universe?

In a minute there is time

For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all—

Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;

I know the voices dying with a dying fall

Beneath the music from a farther room.

So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—

The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,

And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,

When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,

Then how should I begin

To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?

And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—

Arms that are braceleted and white and bare

(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)

 Is it perfume from a dress

That makes me so digress?

Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.

And should I then presume?

And how should I begin?

* * * *

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets

And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes

Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? . . .

I should have been a pair of ragged claws

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

* * * *

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!

Smoothed by long fingers,

Asleep . . . tired . . . or it malingers,

Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.

Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,

Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,

Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,

I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,

And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat,

and snicker,

And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,

After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,

Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,

Would it have been worth while,

To have bitten off the matter with a smile,

To have squeezed the universe into a ball

To roll it towards some overwhelming question,

To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,

Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—

If one, settling a pillow by her head,

Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.

That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,

Would it have been worth while,

After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,

After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—

And this, and so much more?—

It is impossible to say just what I mean!

But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:

Would it have been worth while

If one, settling a pillow by her head,

Should say, “That is not what I meant at all;

“That is not it, at all.”

* * * *

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;

Am an attendant lord, one that will do

To swell a progress, start a scene or two,

Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,

Deferential, glad to be of use,

Politic, cautious, and meticulous;

Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;

At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—

Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old . . . I grow old . . .

I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?

I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves

Combing the white hair of the waves blown back

When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea

By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown

Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Table of Contents

Prufrock and Other Observations (1917)

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock 5

Portrait of a Lady 11

Preludes 16

Rhapsody on a Windy Night 19

Morning at the Window 22

The "Boston Evening Transcript" 23

Aunt Helen 24

Cousin Nancy 25

Mr. Apollinax 26

Hysteria 28

Conversation Galante 29

La Figlia Che Piange 30

Poems (1920)

Gerontion 33

Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar 36

Sweeney Erect 38

A Cooking Egg 40

Le Directeur 42

Mélange Adultère de Tout 43

Lune de Miel 44

The Hippopotamus 45

Dans le Restaurant 47

Whispers of Immortality 49

Mr. Eliot's Sunday Morning Service 51

Sweeney Among the Nightingales 53

The Waste Land (1922)

I The Burial of the Dead 57

II A Game of Chess 59

III The Fire Sermon 63

IV Death by Water 68

V What the Thunder Said 68

Notes on The Waste Land 73

The Hollow Men (1925) 81


A wonderful collection of poems. Some are comical and playful, others satirical and serious, each exemplifying Eliot's titanic influence on modernist literature.

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