CR Episode 125: The Waste Land, Part II

A Chessboard
A Chessboard

Download Link: Released on 2 May 2022

The panel continues with the second of a four-part series on The Waste Land, by T. S. Eliot, reading “A Game of Chess”, with special attention given to the idea of death and rebirth, and to the presence and significance of baptismal imagery.

One comment

  1. Hi Critical Readings Team,

    I’ve been really enjoying the podcasts on The Waste Land. It’s a long time since I read it in its entirety, and I must say I’d forgotten how good the second part is. As an English listener, though, I feel I should take issue with the Dick van Dyke cockney accents!

    You might want to tell your readers that Eliot’s original working title was ‘He Do the Police in Different Voices’, which I believe is a quote from Dickens. In a way I think I prefer that as it nicely captures the sense you mentioned of the poem tuning in and out of different conversations, just like turning the dial on an old radio. It’s also less portentous. I’ve always suspected the stuff about the grail legend was tagged on post hoc to give the impression of an underlying coherence which isn’t really there, though clearly that’s one of the keys to the poem’s success. I seem to recall Eliot admitting as much at one point, apologising for sending readers off on a ‘wild goose chase’ after tarot cards, etc.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to part three. Keep up the good work!



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