Into this world of modernist poetry stepped one brilliant yo…

Into this world of modernist poetry stepped one brilliant young man, Thomas Stearns Eliot. Many people believe that he was the single most important poet of the 20th century. You have already had a good look at one of Eliot’s poems “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”
The Waste Land is regarded as Eliot’s best work and the quintessential modernist poem.
Have a look at the first two stanzas of the poem, although you may read the entire work if you so choose. Read the stanzas once on your own and then listen to at least the first few minutes of The Waste Land provided below.
              The Waste Land, a Modernist Poem
Respond to these questions in your own notes in detail.

How might the poem be symbolic of modernist views? Find specific examples in the poem of the following modernist techniques:use of phrases, places or events in other languages
strong, clear visual images
interior monologues
no regular rhyme scheme
What is your personal reaction to it? What are your thoughts about The Waste Land? What lines do you think work best?
The epigraph of the poem is written in Latin. “Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Sibylla ti theleis; respondebat illa: apothanein thelo.” Roughly translated, the Latin reads: “I have seen with my own eyes, the Sibyl hanging in a jar, and when the boys asked her “What do you want?” she replied, “I want to die.” T.S. Eliot is using an allusion when he references Sibyl. This is an image of Michelangelo’s vision of Cumaean Sibyl as painted in the Sistine Chapel.

Who was Sibyl? What can you find out about Sibyl? Why would Eliot reference her?

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