"The Wasteland", first published in 1922, is one of Eliot's most influential works and has long been on the syllabus for A-Level English Literature.
"Four Quartets" consists of four long poems, first published between 1935 and 1942. They are linked by common themes, and are individually "Burnt Norton", "East Coker", "The Dry Salvages", and "Little Gidding".
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"Complex, erudite, cryptic, satiric, spiritually earnest, and occasionally lyrical, ["The Waste Land"] became one of the most recognizable landmarks of modernism"....[the "Four Quartets"] were the first of Eliot's poems to reach a wide public and they succeeded in communicating in modern idiom the fundamentals of Christian faith and experiences." (The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature)
Paul Scofield's reading of these masterworks is wonderful, incomparable - do not even think of buying Eliot's own dull, flat renderings unless you intend to get both versions.
Even as I type this short review, I feel impatient to play through the poems again...
Whatever your feelings about poetry, it is an undeniable truth that it has so much more impact when it is heard than when it is read. What a joy therefore to come across this excellent audio-edition of these two complex and meaty poems by T. S. Eliot. The beauty of the audio-recordings lie in the way that you can listen to the poems as a whole again and again and discover more and more about the central truths they offer about life and what it is to be human with each listening. Not a choice for the fainthearted, but if you like literature and poetry, you will not regret buying this! An audiobook that stands an infinite number of re-readings.
Classics,contemporary fiction, Politics, Philosophy, Economics - a weekly eye on The New Yorker & The Guardian and dense word style/play.
There is a bit of an Eliot renaissance going on at the time of re-reading The Waste Land and Four Quartets with the launch of an app which gives access at the touch of a screen to the final draft, the Ezra Pound-annotated version and early drafts, various audio recordings of eminent readers and a video performance by Fiona Shaw together with hyperlinks to all of the background references on which the poem is built. It all makes me envious and inevitably I think back to the hours and hours that I spent in the University chasing one reference to the next moving from shelf to shelf and reading around and losing the overall sense of where I was in the poem. Oddly, I think the act of physically walking around a library is a good metaphor for the approach to The Waste Land - an app is a little too straight-forward. Yes, you immediately get access to all of the relevant information. But, more to the point, what is not ‘relevant’ does not appear on the screen in front of you. Having the time to get lost in literature is one of the great pleasures of being a full time student. I never left the library without my full complement of six books to be taken out at any one time. Reading from start to finish and following the complete works was a particular discipline and a diminishing pleasure - but following up a particular reference on a particular point was - and still is - the source of real excitement. Knowing that any reference can be entered on Google and fully explained narrows this and I’m not sure that the result is nearly as satisfying. Given that we live in an age of closing libraries is it too much to link the rise of the app with the decline of the inter-library loan? Best always to get back to the original text which, as a reader now at the age at which Eliot as the writer was when he wrote - only serves to broaden and deepen the emotional response to the words.
"Help -- I can't stop listening to this"
Especially Four Quartets. Is there some kind of Four Quarterts recovery group for addicts?
Paul Schofield's reading of these two poems is nothing short of masterful. Even after years of reading and loving "The Four Quartets", I found my appreciation of the rhythm, language and structure growing. There is nothing better than listening to poetry read aloud by a master. I highly recommend this selection.
T.S. Eliot delivered by an excellent reader/interpreter. Highest praise for two aspects. Clear vision of our continuing decline - hard to imagine this was once dismissed as well as a quantum perspective also upheld by the repeal of "localism". One of the few works of Art that resonates in the consciousness.
"Beautiful and Moving!"
This audio performance by Paul Scofield delights and brings a tear to my eye every time I listen. It never, never, never becomes old and stale. T.S. Eliot is a mini holiday! So lovely.
Enthusiastically. It brings meaning to a difficult text.
The meaningfulness of the reading.
It made me understand.
The best download on Audible.
"A breath of understanding"
I have studied the work for many years; Scofield's reading has given new meaning to this amazing and at times puzzling poem I have heard things that it would seem I have never read and reached a new understanding of the work.
I am already a fan of T.S. Eliot. I thoroughly enjoyed this recording of The Waste Land and Four Quartets.
"Read/Listen to it. Over and over again. And again."
Absolutely. As the man says himself ".... what has been lost and found and lost again and again....".Also, this is beautiful writing read extremely well. Scofield reads the classic "...I shall show you fear, in a handful of dust..." line as well as you can. Not a disappointing accent, good pace.
East Coker is by far my favorite piece of this work. You can't say anything bad about the rest, this is a masterwork, but East Coker really stands out for me.
Oh yeah. It can make you cry like a baby. It can make you feel things language doesn't have words for. Which is kinda what Eliot was getting at here.
It never loses meaning for me, no matter what is going on in my life, when I read or listen this work is always impactful in a fundamental way. Everything about "The Waste Land and Four Quartets" is what art and particularly poetry is supposed to be. TS Eliot himself says "True art never improves", this is art, whatever that means, and you can't improve this.
"My favorite poems"
The Waste Land is my favorite poem and it is beautifully read by Paul Scofield. I don't know how many times I have listened to this book, and I just keep returning to it all the time. Non ultra plus!
"Difficult to listen to at normal speed...."
Not sure if it was slowed down after the narrator read it or if he really read it that slow but at normal speed it is hard to follow as the words are so slowly spoken, sounds better at 1.25 though. Other than that it is pretty interesting, at times though if I missed a few words it was a bit to figure out what is going on and why, but it is still fantastic literature.
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