EducationGuardian.co.uk | Research | How The Waste Land was done
You'd have thought it would be difficult to say anything new about The Waste Land but Prof Rainey appears to have done the impossible. In doing so, he has managed to confirm what I suspect many people have felt - that the poem is not a magisterially organised organic whole, but really is "fragments shored against my ruins". The paradox in much criticism of the poem has been that in celebrating its quintessentially modernist attributes of ambiguity, uncertainty, provisionality, writers have then suggested that the unfinished feel of the poem is all part of Eliot's master plan. Not so, according to Prof Rainey. Not sure whether I should point my students in the direction of these findings, as they could suggest that the poem really is what it appears to be - a rattle bag of half-finished bits and pieces. They are very superior bits and pieces, though.