Mapping the Metropolis: London After Catastrophe in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land and H.D.'s Trilogy

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Title: Mapping the Metropolis: London After Catastrophe in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land and H.D.'s Trilogy
Author: West, Randee Dax
Advisors: Dr. Jon Thompson, Committee Chair
Dr. Nick Halpern, Committee Member
Dr. Thomas Lisk, Committee Member
Abstract: The twentieth century is strife with the overwhelming horror of physical disaster due to numerous wars and political uprisings. This project considers modern poetry's response to catastrophe through analysis of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land and H.D.'s Trilogy. While both of these poems receive varying amounts of criticism — The Waste Land a great deal and Trilogy considerably less — this thesis investigates place dynamics, an area that attracts little attention. Using Leonard Lutwack's The Role of Place in Literature as a starting point, this inquiry focuses on the horrors of placelessness following catastrophe in each text. The horrors of placelessness emerge in numerous ways in these two texts: destruction threatens the physical stability of buildings, the constant implosion of the human frame, and the maintenance of individual and cultural identities. The Waste Land follows the metamorphosis of London after WWI from a center of cultural and historical significance to a disjointed realm of fragmented language, personal relationships, and identity. Written during WWII, Trilogy begins in the throes of placelessness and moves toward the possibility of reclaiming a sense of place. While The Waste Land ends with the hopelessness of placelessness, Trilogy leads us to the need for psychological landscaping instead of solely mapping the metropolis in the modern world.
Date: 2003-11-13
Degree: MA
Discipline: English
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/859


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