The Waste Land
By T.S. Eliot
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The Waste Land is a highly influential and controversial 433-line modernist poem. It is perhaps the most famous and most written-about long poem of the 20th century, detailing the journey of the human soul searching for redemption, the decline of civilization, and the impossibility of recovering meaning in life. Despite the alleged obscurity of the poem — its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its elegiac but intimidating summoning up of a vast and dissonant range of cultures and literatures — the poem has nonetheless become a familiar touchstone of modern literature.