A Summary and Analysis of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

The Waste Land, first published in 1922, is arguably the most important poem of the whole twentieth century. It remains a timely poem, even though its origins were very specifically the post-war Europe of 1918-22.

Written by T. S. Eliot, who was then beginning to make a name for himself following the publication (and modest success) of his first two volumes of poetry, The Waste Land has given rise to more critical analysis and scholarly interpretation than just about any other poem. Critics and readers are still arguing over what it means.

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A Short Analysis of T. S. Eliot’s ‘Reflections on Vers Libre’

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

‘Reflections on Vers Libre’ is a 1917 essay by T. S. Eliot. Perhaps surprisingly, the essay begins with Eliot claiming that vers libre doesn’t exist, for reasons that Eliot goes on to outline in the course of the essay. You can read some of ‘Reflections on Vers Librehere before proceeding to our analysis of his argument below.

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A Summary and Analysis of T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Function of Criticism’

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

‘The Function of Criticism’ is an influential 1923 essay by T. S. Eliot, perhaps the most important poet-critic of the modernist movement. In some ways a follow-up to Eliot’s earlier essay ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ from four years earlier, ‘The Function of Criticism’ focuses on the role of the critic as opposed to the creation of new works of art, although Eliot also draws some valuable comparisons between creative and critical work.

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A Summary and Analysis of T. S. Eliot’s ‘Ulysses, Order, and Myth’

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

Ulysses, Order, and Myth’ is the title usually given to T. S. Eliot’s review of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Eliot’s short review was published in The Dial magazine in 1923, and can be read here; below, we offer a few words of analysis of this influential essay by one major modernist writer, about the work of another major modernist writer.

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The Meaning and Origin of ‘This is the Way the World Ends: Not with a Bang but a Whimper’

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle explores the meaning of T. S. Eliot’s ‘this is the way the world ends’

‘This is the way the world ends’, T. S. Eliot tells us at the end of his 1925 poem, ‘The Hollow Men’: ‘not with a bang but a whimper.’ The quotation has become famous and is known even to those who never read T. S. Eliot’s poetry, or have never encountered ‘The Hollow Men’.

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