Literary Criticism In The Wasteland, By T. S. Eliot

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T.S. Eliot was born in 1888; he was an essayist, poet, literary and social critic and is viewed as one of the greatest modernist writers of his time. His poem, “The Wasteland” is considered to be one of the most important modernist poems of the twentieth century and reflects the supposedly fragile psychological state of humanity in this time. Eliot wrote “The Wasteland” during an era in human history that was unlike any other that had come before. World War 1, also known as the Great War was one of the most devastating human catastrophes that the world had ever seen. Europe was left in a state of ruin, an entire generation was lost and millions of civilians died as a result of this “great war.” It left a scar upon the landscape, one that quite literally resembled a wasteland. For many people, who had never experienced this kind of devastation, World War 1 was like the apocalypse come to fruition; the world and its people were forever changed as a result of the war, but out of the ashes many great modernist writers emerged. Writers like T.S. Eliot, whose wasteland seemed to capture all that had been lost, not just physically, but culturally and spiritually. Divided into five sections and told through a kaleidoscope of voices that appear to travel across time and location, The Wasteland is filled with allusions to various myths and literary works that portray the declining human state, physically, spiritually and culturally, all as a result of urban apocalypse. The first

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