Posts Tagged ‘The Waste Land’

Alison’s Bridge to the Blog

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

             Today, we spent the majority of our time discussing genre and movements. While genre theory is definitely worth discussing, we have already read quite a bit of information on the subject, and there isn’t much that I’d like to say that Jen didn’t already do a good job covering this morning. I decided to look more at the Decadent Movement and Modernism.

What I found when I examined these movements, is that I could definitely see “The Waste Land” fitting into both of them. First I looked at some basic definitions of the Decadence Movement, since I wasn’t as familiar with this movement as I was with Modernism. What I gathered is that the Decadent Movement was centered around stylized language being used to describe themes such as depression, war, moral concerns, and death. Right away, I noticed many similarities between the definitions I found on the Decadence Movement, and the list we created about the uncertainty that goes alone with Modernism.

The word that kept coming back to me this evening was “aesthetic” (Interestingly enough, some even define Aestheticism as its own artistic movement, so there’s another we can add to out list!). Based on how I’ve looked at aesthetics in terms of literary movements before now, “The Waste Land” felt like aestheticism being turned on its head. Until now, I had thought of it as the celebration of beauty, but also just an extreme focus on beauty above everything else. Obviously, there is not much that is beautiful about the land described by Eliot in “The Waste Land.” However, Eliot does use beautiful language, he just doesn’t paint a pretty picture. For example, right at the beginning, Eliot intersperses images of a blooming spring with feelings of depression. In fact, “April is the cruelest month,” and the lines that follow it have stood out to me since I first read this poem. Other than the meanings we have discussed in class already, the picture it paints for me is of an individual who is missing a loved one who has died- watching the world come back alive, and knowing that they will never have that loved one back. I just think that it is so worth noting, that amidst all buds of spring, there is such sorrow in this waste land created by Eliot.

Of course, works generally have to meet certain criteria in order to fit into a movement. However, sometimes these criteria differ from critic to critic. That’s one of the reasons I feel the discussion of movements is interesting to consider. What movements do you feel The Waste Land falls into? Are there maybe even some we haven’t considered yet?

The Waste Land Interpretive Art Day

Thursday, January 31st, 2013
One of the best classes ever that led to some awesome discussion of a rather difficult, yet significant, poem by T.S. Eliot.

One of the best classes ever that led to some awesome discussion of a rather difficult, yet significant, poem by T.S. Eliot.