T. S. Eliot


In his entry for The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (2012) on the “objective correlative,” Louis Menand notes that since 1980, the term has appeared in several hundred scholarly articles.[1] There’s also no shortage of forebears of Eliot’s concept, including Washington Allston, Arthur Fairchild, Pater, Coleridge, and Schiller. Robert Stallman’s The Critic’s Notebook (1950) is efficient in staging that conversation; in fact, The Critic’s Notebook in many respects is a textual performance that parallels the objective correlative.

Movements in 'The Unconditional' wasteland

An adventure in thinking

Simon Jarvis’s The Unconditional: A Lyric, a single poem spanning 242 pages, might very well be the Waste Land of our times — only unsung, and way longer. Any number of light-hearted parallels can be drawn between Jarvis’s venture and The Waste Land as its modernist predecessor as a cartography of urban/consumerist experience, but a closer look and such comparisons collapse to differences and distances.

'The Waste Land 'Seen'' (1999) comes to the iPad (2012)

Martin Rowson’s The Waste Land “Seen” was published in 1999 — a modernist hermeneutic detective story (hard-boiled) in comix form. Now Rowson and Michael Barsanti are bringing it back as an iPad app, which is to say, more simply, an e-version for easy tablet reading. “It takes a lot of detective work to decipher modernist literature.  Trying to figure how grail legends, the Upanishads, and vegetation myths all link up has left scholars chasing their tails for nearly a century, and has left us ordinary palookas in the dust.  Lucky for us we have private eye Chris Marlowe, cartoonist Martin Rowson, and scholar Michael Barsanti to help shake out some of the clues and make some hasty repairs to a heap of otherwise broken images.” There's more here and also, naturally, a link to iTunes where you can download the app. The image above gives you a sense of where I am in the “story” as I write this: section II, “A Game of Chess.” “I lost Idaho Ez,” it begins, “so I decided to look up the only other person I knew in these parts. I remembered the first time we'd met. She'd looked like a million dollars....”

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