Please help me find a  good critical research topic on Eliot's Waste Land?Please help me find a  good critical research topic on Eliot's Waste Land?

Expert Answers
thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scholarly research does not begin ex nihilo, but exists as part of a conversation with earlier scholarship. The way to find a good research topic is:

1) Find some gerneral theme or aspect of The Wasteland that interests you

2) Look at the past 10 years of the MLA International Bibliography to find existing scholarship on that theme

3) Find either (a) some gap in the scholarship or (b) some point about which you think existing scholarship is wrong.

As there is substantial existing scholarship, you need to choose a very narrow area, in order tomake a solid contribution.

If you wanted to do a new historicist approach, for example, you could look at actual fortune tellers in Edwardian England or the role of chess in the intellectual life of the period. A feminist approach might look at the fortune teller as female empowerment or chess as an area from which women were excluded, etc.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since this poem is usually regarded as one of the greatest works of twentieth century poetry, it might be perversely interesting to examine how and why the poem was attacked when it first appeared and how and why it has continued to be attacked since then. Many initial readers did not like the poem, and this is true of some subsequent readers as well.  It might be interesting to examine why this was the case.  Here's a link to a book that may be helpful to you:

http://books.google.com/books?id=pv8f6aic-DUC&pg=PA345&dq=t.+s.+eliot+fraud&hl=en&ei=-FqWToqGNs2ctwfNypnnAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=the%20waste%20land&f=false

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It would help if we knew exactly what type of research you have to do.  The following link might help you think of a topic if your project is literary research:

http://www.enotes.com/waste-land/critical-overview

This link can also be used if you want to select a topic of historical significance.  In this case, something related to the effects of World War I.

http://www.enotes.com/waste-land/historical-context

 

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another line you could take would be to examine the way the poem is an example of intertextuality. Eliot is famous in his poetry for making direct or less direct allusions to other works, and so a project that focused on this would yield some really interesting findings.

englishflower | Student

Since this poem is usually regarded as one of the greatest works of twentieth century poetry, it might be perversely interesting to examine how and why the poem was attacked when it first appeared and how and why it has continued to be attacked since then. Many initial readers did not like the poem, and this is true of some subsequent readers as well.  It might be interesting to examine why this was the case.  Here's a link to a book that may be helpful to you:

http://books.google.com/books?id=pv8f6aic-DUC&pg=PA345&dq=t.+s.+eliot+fraud&hl=en&ei=-FqWToqGNs2ctwfNypnnAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=the%20waste%20land&f=false

Thanks for the link... but can you help me understand Maud Ellmann, a critic of the Waste Land you takes a fruedian perspective as well as a feminist perspective on it... I would like to find something to argue against her about the poem... thanks :)

englishflower | Student

It would help if we knew exactly what type of research you have to do.  The following link might help you think of a topic if your project is literary research:

http://www.enotes.com/waste-land/critical-overview

This link can also be used if you want to select a topic of historical significance.  In this case, something related to the effects of World War I.

http://www.enotes.com/waste-land/historical-context

 

 

Thank You :)

 

englishflower | Student

Scholarly research does not begin ex nihilo, but exists as part of a conversation with earlier scholarship. The way to find a good research topic is:

1) Find some gerneral theme or aspect of The Wasteland that interests you

2) Look at the past 10 years of the MLA International Bibliography to find existing scholarship on that theme

3) Find either (a) some gap in the scholarship or (b) some point about which you think existing scholarship is wrong.

As there is substantial existing scholarship, you need to choose a very narrow area, in order tomake a solid contribution.

If you wanted to do a new historicist approach, for example, you could look at actual fortune tellers in Edwardian England or the role of chess in the intellectual life of the period. A feminist approach might look at the fortune teller as female empowerment or chess as an area from which women were excluded, etc.

I appreciate your response. I have decided to choose Maud Ellmann, a critic of the Waste Land, and I'm trying to find something that I can argue against her. but she is difficult to read... can give me any suggestions? I would appreciate that too

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The Waste Land

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