Concept of Past and Present in T.S Eliot's Wasteland

  • Akanksha Barthwal
Keywords: Disjoint poem, civilisation under shock, past-present in Wasteland, heteroglossia, fragmentation, desire, Wasteland, T S Eliot, Akanksha Barhwal, Contemporary Literary Review India


The wasteland seeks to portray a world which is dry from all human emotions and feelings. Eliot describes wasteland as a place which is barren, dry, infertile, desolate, inhospitable, sterile having no vegetation. He defines a generation of shock from world wars where there is no comfort and spiritualness. The poet discovers a condition of modern world, where man lives a purposeless life. In the poem, Eliot describes a condition of present world through myths, historical and literal references which offers a satirical lens to perceive and give meaning to present world. Eliot creates a parallel between past and present, where past is something which is unified, has spiritual significance, is joyous, harmonizing. The poet also fears his own end, therefore he too submits himself to the God. Through the poem Eliot highlights the need to belief in God, attain true self and be redeemed.

Author Biography

Akanksha Barthwal

Akanksha Barthwal is a poet and writer. Her poems have appeared with many journals including The Taj Mahal Review. She is a post-graduate in English Literature and a graduate in German Honours. Presently, Barthwal is looking forward for a Ph.D. degree. The areas of her research and interest are Indian Writing in English, Literary Theory and Criticism, British Poetry and Drama, Feminist Literary Theory and Gender Studies.


Primary Source
1. Eliot, T, S. The Wasteland. 1922. Print.

Secondary Source
1. Danis, George. The World of Eliot’s Waste Land. Academia. Edu. Web.
2. Eliot, T. S. “Ulysses, Order and Myth.” Selected Prose of T. S. Eliot. New York: Farror, Straus, Giroux, 1945. 177–179. Web.
3. Eliot, T. S. The Waste Land. Ed. Michael North. New York: Norton, 2001. Web.
4. Eliot, T, S. Tradition and Individual Talent. 1920. Web.
5. Miller, E, James. Eliot's Early Years by Lyndall Gordon; T. S. Eliot's Personal Waste Land. University of Wisconsin Press. Web.
6. Owens, J, R. The Wasteland. Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 1/2 (March/June 1963), pp. 3-10. Web.
7. Ross, Andrew. The Waste Land and the Fantasy of Interpretation. University of California Press. 1984. Web.
8. Schwartz, Delmore. T.S. Eliot as the International Hero. The Waste Land. New York: Norton, 2001. 210-211. Web.
How to Cite
Barthwal, A. “Concept of Past and Present in T.S Eliot’s Wasteland”. Contemporary Literary Review India, Vol. 5, no. 4, Nov. 2018, pp. 1-11,
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