Religious Commitment and Marriage Breakdown
The Waste Land created a stir, but was not received with rapturous applause. The criticism it provoked, whether favourable or denunciatory, could do nothing but call attention to a work which communicated its poetry, and was destined to attract new readers year by year, whatever difficulties it posed. Academic interest in it was to grow rapidly with the expansion of higher education; otherwise the reactions which followed its publication were not uncharacteristic of those which prevailed during the inter-war period which followed. Sympathetic elucidations soon flowed from Edmund Wilson; he doubted whether any contemporary American poem of equal length displayed ‘so high and so varied a mastery of English verse’, and he was confident that, despite its complicated correspondences and its recondite references and quotations’, it was intelligible from the first by force of the emotion conveyed by its images. For Elinor Wylie The Waste Land presented with ‘little less than miraculous’ skill the ‘power of suggesting intolerable tragedy at the heart of the trivial or the sordid’; she could sense that the poem was conceived in personal suffering.
KeywordsReligious Commitment Personal Suffering English Verse Allotment Garden Human Affection
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.