What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow If that is humanity’s common burden—to miss the forest for the trees, the rose for its odor— then Phlebas’s is humanity’s common fate.

If there were water Even so, the ability to make even that sort of a connection with Chaucer would require some familiarity with Chaucer to begin with. Miss Weston tells that each year at Alexandria an effigy of the head of the god was thrown into the water as a symbol of the death of the powers of nature, and that this head was carried by the current to Byblos where it was taken out of the water and exhibited as a symbol of the reborn god.

Or imagined out of the Apollo myth, mixed with the story of Tristan and Isolde? In describing how much of a joy the boy, Sloppy, has become for her, she says: “You mightn’t think it, but Sloppy is a beautiful reader of a newspaper.

“Are you alive, or not? The second of these passages is, “There is not even solitude in the mountains,” which looks forward to the reference to the Journey to Emmaus theme a few lines later: “Who is the third who walks always beside you?” The god has returned, has risen, but the travelers cannot tell whether it is really he, or mere illusion induced by their delirium.

Eliot, Notes from The Waste Land 1922. She finds that his card is that of the drowned Phoenician Sailor, and so she warns him against death by water, not realizing any more than do the other inhabitants of the modern waste land that the way into life may be by death itself. Damyata.

Soda water would have been a dyspeptic, the Alka Seltzer of its day for those who had indulged too heavily the night before.

Such a reader would think foremost, no doubt, of the Tiresias whom Odysseus, in Homer’s Odyssey, must visit in the Underworld in order to discover what perils still lie before him as he continues his homeward voyage to Ithaka. Not a cheery way to start the poem: the oracle Sibyl is granted immortality by Apollo, but not eternal youth or health, and so she grows older and older, and frailer, and never dies. And, importantly for Eliot, where was God in all this mayhem and alienation?

The scene, as Allen Tate puts it, is one of our most terrible insights into Western civilization.

This sidestep into history is no real shock but the next few lines take the burial and rebirth theme to its limit. Furthermore, Our Mutual Friend has an ostensible theme that also resonates with the ostensible theme of The Waste Land, that is, finding riches in the debris of the past.

However, such a vacillation between the one and the other—near the end of the Inferno, at the beginning of the Purgatorio— could be regarded as a more realistic rendering, by Eliot, of the stop-and-start, back-and-forth nature of spiritual or moral progress and growth, which is never a perfectly straight line.

Gathered far distant, over Himavant. If World War I was a war that depoeticized warfare by deromanticizing it, it was nonetheless not a war that did not produce poetry—but it was a changed poetry, one that was capable of rendering the paradoxes and ironies of a human and cultural tragedy of colossal proportions in terms of its impact on individuals rather than on nations. The following is a section-by-section if not quite line-by-line reading of The Waste Land. That approach is to think of The Waste Land as a verbal space, literally—a wilderness of words and word-images, allusions and literary sound bytes, nonsense syllables and foreign words and phrases, and anything else that may come to mind or eye or ear. Although a recent redevelopment of that impressive temple of trade and banking into an upscale dining and shopping mall now obscures the mural along with all the others depicting the economic history of the British peoples, it is hard to imagine that Eliot, as he made his workday excursions week after week in those very same environs of the “unreal” city, where he was himself employed, did not see that mural frequently. Line 427 is a direct quotation from Dante’s poem and one of those fragments that the speaker, with “the arid plain behind him,” now uses as “shor[ing] against my ruins.” The line from Dante in question reads, Poi s’sacose nel foco che gli affina (“Then he hid himself in the fire that is purging him”).

In the autumn he travelled to Lausanne in Switzerland where he was treated by a well known psychiatrist Dr Roger Vittoz. . The line means ‘Then he hid in the fire that refines them’.

[When April with his showers sweet “That corpse you planted last year in your garden, Most of your analysis is extremely helpful; however, I have to wonder why nothing is said in answer to “What the Thunder Said”, the title of Part V. You skip over that part completely.

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