The Wasteland – A Game of Chess (excerpt)
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
“Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?”
O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag—
It’s so elegant
“What shall I do now? What shall I do?”
“I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street
“With my hair down, so. What shall we do tomorrow?
“What shall we ever do?”
The hot water at ten.
And if it rains, a closed car at four.
And we shall play a game of chess,
Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the
— T.S. Eliot, from The Wasteland (Norton Critical Editions)
T. S. Poetry
This poem is offered as part of our October theme: Games
The text of Eliot’s 1922 masterpiece is accompanied by thorough explanatory annotations as well as by Eliot’s own knotty notes, some of which require annotation themselves.
For ease of reading, this Norton Critical Edition presents The Waste Land as it first appeared in the American edition (Boni & Liveright), with Eliot’s notes at the end. “Contexts” provides readers with invaluable materials on The Waste Land’s sources, composition, and publication history. “Criticism” traces the poem’s reception with twenty-five reviews and essays, from first reactions through the end of the twentieth century. Included are reviews published in the Times Literary Supplement, along with selections by Virginia Woolf, Gilbert Seldes, Edmund Wilson, Elinor Wylie, Conrad Aiken, Charles Powell, Gorham Munson, Malcolm Cowley, Ralph Ellison, John Crowe Ransom, I. A. Richards, F. R. Leavis, Cleanth Brooks, Delmore Schwartz, Denis Donoghue, Robert Langbaum, Marianne Thormählen, A. D. Moody, Ronald Bush, Maud Ellman, and Tim Armstrong. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are included.