ENG 308 Seminar: One Big Book- The Waste Land

Michael Thurston, T 1:00 PM-2:50 PM

There are many ways in which a book may be “big.” In this course, we will explore the vastness contained in the relatively few pages of T.S. Eliot’s 1922 poem, The Waste Land. We will frame our discussion of that poem with some attention to other work by Eliot, especially the earlier “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and the later “Burnt Norton,” but the bulk of our time will be spent on a careful and layered reading of The Waste Land. This will include some reading of (usually parts of) many of the texts to which Eliot alludes or from which he quotes, and will involve reading criticism of the poem to see how it becomes a new work for each new generation of readers. Main written work will be an article-length critical research paper.


Eliot, The Waste Land (ed. Michael North, Norton Critical Edition)

The Waste Land: Facsimile and Transcript

Southam, A Guide to the Selected Poems of T.S. Eliot

Gordon, T.S. Eliot: An Imperfect Life


Brooker and Bentley, Reading The Waste Land: Modernism and the Limits of Interpretation