431 – Whither The Waste Land: A Colloquium on T.S. Eliot’s Most Famous Poem

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Term: February 20 – March 27 (No class March 13 for spring break)
Class Time: Mondays, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET
Credits: Seminar (for-credit or not-for-credit options)
Instructor: Tracy Lee Simmons

Is The Waste Land the world’s greatest poem? That is how the intelligentsia has judged it for several generations. But T.S. Eliot did not think so: he himself would have given that laurel to The Divine Comedy. But as no literary education can be deemed complete without a knowledge of this work, we shall come together in this seminar to explore why The Waste Land has enjoyed such good press, from both religious and secular alike, delving into its atmosphere and landscape—into its images, references, allusions, and unique music. Together we shall try to discover why this poem, a full hundred years after its first publication in 1922, still haunts the Western imagination. What does it reveal? What does it portend? And why have we as a culture not grown out of it?