Pros:Eliot brings "The Wasteland" to life.
Cons:Eliot's performance is occasionally marred by stagefright.
The Bottom Line: Just hearing Eliot's voice is worth the price of the audiobook. Hearing Eliot read "The Wasteland" aloud makes this complex, symbolic poem more meaningful.
This is an audiobook of T. S. Eliot reading nine of his best known poems aloud. Among these are "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock", "Gerontion", "The Wasteland", "The Hollw Men", and "East Coker". Much of the time, Eliot reads in a flat monotone, often ending a poem abruptly, on a questioning note. This technique is surprisingly effective, particularly on Prufrock and Gerontion.
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In contrast, Eliot's reading of "The Wasteland" is animated and dramatic. Before hearing Eliot's reading of "The Wasteland", I never connected with or understood that poem. Since much of Eliot's poetry resonates with me, I always felt I was missing something in "The Wasteland". Although much of "The Wasteland" remains a mystery to me, Eliot's reading has helped me see the beauty, anxiety and yearning expressed in the poem.I think I may even understand what he was getting at in the sections subtitled "Game of Chess" and "What the Thunder Said".
The audiobook is accompanied by a brief introduction to T. S. Eliot by J. D. McClatchy, a short bibliography and the text of the poems. This audiobook makes a great stocking stuffer or gift for a bibliophile or T. S. Eliot enthusiast. This is one of many recordings in Random House's Voice of the Poet Series, featuring twentieth century poets reading their own work.
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