A copy of the well-known poem has been put on sale in London with an inscription to Eliot’s therapist expressing his “enduring gratitude” for helping him through his nervous breakdown whilst he was writing. This copy is one of TS Eliot’s 460 handwritten editions.

It is an English literature lover’s dream – a first edition copy of The Waste Land by TS Eliot. Published in 1922, The Waste Land is arguably one of the most influential poems of the 20th century and central to Modernist poetry. However, this poem is far from short; 433 lines and split into 5 different sections, Eliot put his heart and soul into this piece of work. With different voices that are often referred to as monologues, the poem is far from simplistic and has been a large influence for many authors.

The Waste Land will go on sale this week alongside a first edition copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s highly acclaimed The Great Gatsby. In my eyes, the two go hand in hand as The Great Gatsby uses Eliot’s influence to create ‘The Valley of Ashes’. This setting in between West and East Egg that Gatsby and his friends have to pass through suggests the ominous and melancholic land that The Waste Land projects. The Waste Land, much like ‘The Valley of Ashes’ has nothing but death, deterioration and depression circulating from it.

With many interpretations, Eliot’s poem has left many critics divided on its meaning, yet, what is certain is this first edition copy will not be brought at a bargain price!

Jessica Rushton

Image Credit: Ky via Flikr

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