The Waste Land

By T.S. Eliot

Words from the achiever

“I remember at the age of 15 going into the library and pulling down The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot and reading it, because I had heard that this was a modern masterpiece.”

About the book

The most celebrated poem of the 20th century, Eliot’s multi-layered, allusive epic of disillusionment with urban civilization is the one of the fundamental texts of modern literature. The Norton Critical Edition includes notes, background, and substantial excerpts from the literary and anthropological sources that influenced Eliot’s poem.

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.