Dear Nancy,

By 'design' you mean themes? Eliot is still taught in terms of the Fisher King myth, the Grail quest, and other leitmotifs. Formal and stylistic considerations can of course be considered separately from thematic content, the way sentences can be diagrammed, or paintings considered in terms of composition. 'Design' in the sense of the design of a building.


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On Apr 24, 2010, at 10:05 AM, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

I have not read it, but attempts to define a design were the major way of reading it in the 1940s and 50s.  Does this say anything new?

>>> DIana Manister <[log in to unmask]>04/24/10 9:15 AM >>>
Dear CR,

"Design" in this title seems to mean "intention" rather than structure.  The jacket blurb suggests that the book focusses on thematic content, such as the quest element, etc. rather than the poem's architecture. Not that they can be completely separated, of course, but "Themes of The Wasteland" would seem to be a more accurate title.


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On Apr 23, 2010, at 10:40 PM, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

The Design of The Waste Land
By Burton Blistein
University Press of America, 2008.
Book overview

"The Design of "The Waste Land" offers a detailed, comprehensive explanation of
T. S. Eliot's enigmatic poem. It relates The Waste Land to earlier and later poems
by Eliot, demonstrating that the major poems describe a continuous spiritual odyssey
or quest undertaken by the same individual, initiated by the moment of ecstasy in
the Hyacinth garden." "Blistein's analysis of Eliot's sources reveals that the
protagonist's glimpse of "the heart of light" is equivalent to drinking from the Grail, or communing with God. The incarnate deity momentarily transforms the Hyacinth garden into the likeness of the Edenic paradise. With the inevitable passing of the moment of communion, the protagonist in effect is expelled from the paradisiacal garden as mankind was from Eden. By contrast, the familiar world appears to him a wasteland. The protagonist seeks to drink again from the divine Source and return again to the garden as it was when transfigured by the divine presence. His is a quest for grail and homeland."--BOOK JACKET.

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