T, R 11:00-12:15, CH 256
Instructor: Prof. Drouin
Office Hours: M, W 3:30-4:30 and by appointment

This course will contextualize the most important poem of the twentieth century, T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922), in light of the cultural traditions upon which it draws and the traumatic rift that resulted from the First World War. Readings will include plays by Shakespeare, Middleton, and Webster, selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Eliot’s sources in Frazer’s The Golden Bough and Weston’s From Ritual to Romance, as well as some history of WWI and its affect upon Eliot’s generation. These investigations will allow us better to plumb the depths of The Waste Land itself as well as its relation to Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth and the popular culture of Eliot’s day, refracting them through a lens that sheds light inward as well as outward toward modernism and the Lost Generation.

Students will complete eight short (1-2 paragraph) blog posts in response to prompts about readings, a midterm paper of about seven pages, and a final research paper of about 12-15 pages.

Participation   15%
Blog                 25%
Papers             60%

  • T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land (Norton Critical Edition) 978-0393974997
  • Dante, The Divine Comedy (Oxford World’s Classics) 978-0199535644
  • John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi and Other Plays (Oxford World’s Classics) 978-0199539284
  • Thomas Middleton, Five Plays (Penguin) 978-0140432190
  • Shakespeare, The Tempest (Folger Shakespeare Library) 978-0743482837
  • Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra (Folger Shakespeare Library) 978-0743482851
  • Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus (Folger Shakespeare Library) 978-0671722920
  • Jessie Weston, From Ritual to Romance (Dover) 978-0486296807
  • James George Frazer, The Golden Bough (Oxford World’s Classics) 978-0199538829