I think Pound called it that partly because he helped to impose (or
provide) a kind of unity. The poem was originally many poems and
fragments from which a series emerged. I am not saying it is not
one poem since modern poetry does not assume that kind of all or
nothing form. I am saying that "unity" is not, in this case, definable
by looking for a continuing narrative or theme or idea or whatever.
And I go back and forth on whether there is a unifying
consciousness. I claimed there was in the TWL book I did, and I
still think there is a voice that reiteratively asserts a way of thinking
or perceiving. But I cannot any longer decide if I see it as
monologic or dialogic.
On the other hand, I do not at all see why "unity" is held up as
either necessary or aesthetically superior.
On 2 Oct 2003, at 13:15, Richard Seddon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> So then what is it? or are they?
> Are you denying "The Waste Land" unity based on how it was written and its
> lack of traditional narrative structure?
> I am well aware of the many early attempts at describing a traditional
> structure for TWL. I am not aware of "everyone" denying all those attempts.
> I am aware that most have given up trying to define a structure and I assure
> you I am not trying to come up with another attempt.
> I seem to have much trouble with people reading what I write. I am not
> trying to debate your declarations concerning structure. I am asking what
> it is that seems to contain the poem as a unity if it is not structure. It
> was not simply TSE who described the poem as a unified entity. EP saw it as
> such and Vivien saw it as such. "The Dial" published it as such.
> Translators have translated it as a single poem. I know of no where that it
> is referred to as "a collection". For some reason a large amount of
> critical ink was spent trying to find a "structure" because the critics saw
> it as a unified whole and "knew" that it therefore had to have a structure.
> Perhaps they were wrong about "structure" but are you calling them wrong
> about its unity?
> The question is why do we read TWL as a single poem?
> Rick Seddon
> McIntosh, NM