T.S. Eliot e The waste land: riassunto in inglese

Riassunto della vita di Eliot, della sua opera "The waste land" e di un estratto "The burial of the death" (2 pagine formato pdf)

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T.S.Eliot (1888-1965).

He was born in America at St Louis, Missouri, but because of his will he became an English citizen. He was educated in Europe exactly at Merton College, in Oxford, and he began his career as a schoolmaster. Eliot was a poet, playwright and literary critic. He had an encyclopedic culture and a deep knowledge of all world literatures. He admired Dante because of his capacity to express personal feelings, to restraint, to find a balance between the personal and the impersonal. Eliot was influenced by French symbolist, such as Bergson (about the concept of time).
He had knowledge and he used as sources Homer, Ovid, the Indian philosophy ancient rites and civilizations.
Eliot’s work can be divided into two period: before and after his conversion to Anglicanism. In the first period his literary production was characterized by a pessimistic vision of the world, a world
without hope, love, friendship.


The waste land was written in this period. Purification, faith, hope, love are he keywords of the second period. “Journey of the Magi”, “The Hollow
Man”, “Murder in Cathedral”, “Ash-Wednesday” belong to the new phase. As a critic he explained his poetic vision in works such as “The Sacred Wood” and “On Poetry and Poets”. He shared, with Joyce, the idea that the artist must be impersonal. Central in his poetry is the notion of “objective correlative”. The poet doesn’t describe an emotion directly but he presents objects and actions in a certain way to produce the emotion more intensely. He was a very prolific writer, in fact he was a famous playwright as well. One of the main poems of his career was “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” and it was later transformed in an amazing musical called “Cats”. About his career he won the Nobel Prize in 1948, and he died in London 1965.


The complexity of modern civilisation. Eliot is convinced that poetry should represent the complexities of modern civilization, after the Secon world war. This complexity is the result of the fragmentation of the western cultural, religious tradition, mass production and consumerism. The only solution at his problem is to piece together this broken world fusing western traditions with those of other culture; he combines different sources because he wants to preserve the culture and poetry in particular from mass culture so that only literary people can access it.


The waste land was published in 1922; it was dedicated to Ezra Pound. This work represents a new type of poetry capable of expressing the post war sense of depression and collapse of values. It consists of five sections:
1) “The burial of the death”: it is centered on the opposition between sterility and fertility, death and life;
2) “A game of chess”: the opposition between the past splendor and the present squalor in historical terms;
3) “The fire sermon”: it deals with alienation through the description of a loveless, mechanical, sexual act;
4) “Death by water”: it describes spiritual emptiness.