Eliot's notes to the poem reveal that the corpse is a reference to one dug up by a wolf in John Webster's play The White Devil. Further discussion can be found in, among other sources,

Gilbert, Sandra M.
"Rats' Alley": The Great War, Modernism, and the (Anti)Pastoral Elegy
New Literary History - Volume 30, Number 1, Winter 1999, pp. 179-201

"The Burial of the Dead: Eliot's Corpse in the Garden in a Christian Context" by Jeffrey L. Spear in JStor





From:  Tom Gray <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To:  [log in to unmask]
Subject:  The Yoruba and TSE
Date:  Sat, 2 Jun 2007 07:32:24 -0700
From today's issue of the Guardian:

From a description of a talk by Wole Soyinka - Nobel

'He reserved a sideswipe for TS Eliot, for stealing a
Yoruba saying for The Waste Land. According to
Soyinka, the original line was: "That corpse that you
buried in your garden: its toes have begun to poke

Full article at:


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