Professor Stephen Adams
Winter Half Course.
According to many at the time, Eliot's Waste Land was the fulfillment of the promise of the new poetic Modernism. Having delivered the poem by "Caesarian operation" from the body of Eliot's typescripts, Pound wrote, "Complimenti, you bitch. I am wracked by the seven jealousies." Meanwhile, Allen Tate and Robert Penn Warren decorated the walls of their Vanderbilt dormitory room with scenes from the poem. On the other hand, Pound's friend William Carlos Williams regarded The Waste Land as "the great catastrophe to our letters" which handed poetry "back to the academics," while Tate's friend Hart Crane inquired in a letter, "What did you think of Eliot's The Wasteland? It was good, of course, but so damned dead." Marianne Moore praised the poem in a review, "Well Moused, Lion," while Wallace Stevens observed silence. This seminar will not be a course in Eliot, though familiarity with Eliot's touchstone poem will be assumed. Instead, it will explore some of the responses to the challenge of Eliot's modernist poetics in the 1920s by the poets mentioned, and perhaps some others as well. Texts may include, as time allows, Pound's Draft of XXX Cantos, Williams' Spring and All, Crane's The Bridge, Tate's "Ode to the Confederate Dead," Moore's Observations, Stevens' Harmonium.
View the syllabus here: English 9083B.