The Waste Land

Burial of the Dead: The Death of Christ's Ressurection

When T. S. Eliot wrote The Waste Land in 1922 he was a self-proclaimed atheist. Some six years later, he described himself as an adherent to anglo-catholic Christianity and thus wrote the Four Quartets. As is possible to postulate, some scholars believe that there is an innate Christian-ness in The Waste Land and have hence tried to speculate and interpret the text in such a style. However, in order to do such would require two dramatic steps to be taken. First, one must define Christian poetry as a genre, and secondly the poem must actually be interpreted with that first principle of genre definition.

In Western literary interpretation there has always been an undertone of the Christian ethic. Since Christianity has dominated for the most part all of Anglo-Saxon culture, innately there must exist in any interpretation of Western literature an assumption of a Christian backdrop in the audience. When applying this concept to genre, specifically here Christian poetry, it is plausible to speculate that atheistic poetry is in its own sense “Christian” in that it is a response to a first principle, namely that of the Christian backdrop. An analogy for illustration: Aristotle wrote his philosophical treatises as a response to...

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