Okay, so I did talk about The Waste Land in a blog post during my summer semester. I almost decided not to write about it again, feeling almost as if that was cheating. But then I thought well, we didn’t also discuss Ezra Pound last semester, and decided to do it anyway.

T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound are intimately linked as poets, not surprising considering Pound greatly edited (as we can see in the image above) and influenced The Waste Land, and is who Eliot dedicated the poem to, calling Pound the “better craftsman” (something we are not here to debate, but I personally take issue with). Other than that, there are also links in their poetic styles, as we can see if comparing The Waste Land and Pound’s Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, which share some certain similar aspects. Both were published post-World War I, and deal with the aftermath. They also share some themes. Both poems question the fragmented modern world, a much-changed place after the War, and look to the ancient past as a source of inspiration. Pound questions in his poem whether or not we should look to the past, aspire to it, instead of continuing rapidly along the path of change and development. Eliot looks to the past in what can be seen as an attempt to find sense in the world, after the horrors of war. Both seem to honestly prefer the past, particularly that of ancient Greece. But they also both know that there is no going back. There is only moving forward, and possibly outward. Pound comes to the conclusion that even the past had its problems, and that neither is better than the other, though no particular solutions seem to be offered. Eliot ends his poem with a quite long reference to Buddhism, perhaps suggesting that the modern Western world needs to look outwardly for answers, instead of within.

Both Eliot and Pound were writing in a drastically changing world and trying to find any sense or meaning where they could. They come to different conclusions, but both are trying to answer the question of: where do we go from here?

2 thoughts on “The Waste Land of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

  1. I agree that Pound and Eliot shared similar point of views. I love the humility in which T.S. Eliot not only dedicates but honors Ezra Pound. I think your speech is appropriately colloquial (in fact, I’m not sure how to do that for my own. I guess I would have to look up an urban dictionary and try it that way.)

    I think adding some actual quotations would have made the post quite a bit stronger. For instance, maybe talk about the ways they depicted Greece in their poetry. I believe there was a line in Hugh Selwyn Mauberley that talks about “plaster” and “alabaster.” I think something like that would have been a good part of your post.

    Anti-war poetry tried to make sense of the tragedies of war – even though there is no sense to be made – and I think you have portrayed that fact beautifully with your question: “where do we go from here?” In fact, there seems to be a common theme in post war poetry: they are all wondering what is next after these atrocities.


  2. I think it’s awesome how you formatted this post, comparing T.S. Elliot and Ezra Pound. It was a unique way to go about comparing the two and their influences on each other and their writing. You used their similarities to segue really well into the ideas and themes behind their poems and post-war poetry. I also liked that you ended the blog with something for us to ask ourselves and our opinions.


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