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Seminar in Literary Interpretation

The Burial of the Dead Writing Piece

T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land

T.S. Eliot’s long poem, The Waste Land, is often considered to be the greatest poem in English of the twentieth century. At exactly 100 years old in 2022, the poem remains extraordinarily interesting, enigmatic, and challenging. In this seminar we will get to know the poem intimately by reading it together with some important criticism of the poem from the last century. We will also carefully read some of its major intertexts such as Dante’s Inferno; Shakespeare’s The Tempest; excerpts from the Hindu Upanishads, the Buddha’s “Fire Sermon,” and the Bible. We will also consider some of the poetry that Eliot notoriously “steals” and includes within his own poem, from figures like Baudelaire, John Webster, and John Donne. Throughout we will be assiduously refining our close-reading skills.


  • In-class group presentation
  • Attendance and participation
  • Short written posts to OnQ
  • Final essay

**Assessments subject to change**


  • ENGL 100
  • Registration in an English Major or Joint Honours plan

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153



Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.