Lecture Points—The Waste Land—First Day

Lecture Points—The Waste Land—First Day

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Lecture Points—The Waste Land—First Day “Modernism” is a catch-all term for a broad cultural movement in Europe and America, circa 1900-1950. It featured a radical break with the (Victorian) past. “make it new” was a hallmark slogan (Ezra Pound) of Modernism. It was invested in images, stream-of- consciousness narration, and myth. Important figures behind modernism were Sigmund Freud (psychology) and Sir James Frazer (anthropology), among others. The artist was now a teacher, even bomb-thrower, rather than a servant. James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) was, with Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922), one of the two monuments of literary modernism. Ulysses describes a single day in Dublin, using Homer’s Odyssey (and many other books) for its (ironic) template. it was banned, early on, for its gleeful obscenity. The Waste Land
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Unformatted text preview: is encyclopedic, challenging, bewildering. Imagine a Shakespearean drama with no speech prefixes: Who is speaking? will be an important, and repeated, question for every reader. It has been seen as a lament concerning the decay of Western civilization, an indictment of the sterility of modern life (there is no water). Its sometimes a syllabus for you: these fragments I have shored against my ruins. He wants you to read the same books he has. Five parts, moving from earth to air to fire to water. Heavily formalistic: title, epigraph, dedication, text, notes . . . A heavily collaborative effort: Ezra Pound edited it severely, making it what it is today: a highly compressed gem with glinting facets. Lots of echoes of and allusions to earlier workshe wants you to know these....
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This note was uploaded on 12/17/2009 for the course ENG English taught by Professor Bruster during the Spring '09 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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