T.S. Eliot’s “Waste Land”
On the occasion of the Orthodox Christian Book Exhibition of the Holy Metropolis of Corfu in collaboration with EN PLO publications, an event took place on Friday afternoon, March 16, 2018, in the Spiritual Centre based on the famous poem of the English- American Nobelist poet T.S. Eliot, “Waste Land”.
The sources quoted by the poet, as well as the analysis and questions were presented by Mr. Aristides Mouzakitis, Teacher, Dr. of Mathematics, Principal of the 2nd Junior High School of Corfu. He studied the text in depth and exploited the sources amazingly.
Excerpts from the poem were read by the student Elena Mouzakiti, while father Themistoklis Mourtzanos discussed with Mr. Mouzakitis the deeper meaning of the poem.
During the presentation, Mr. Mouzakitis pointed out that Eliot wrote the poem in 1922, shortly after the great disappointment of the First World War and during a research period. He records the deadlocks of European Culture, the inability to give meaning to life, the crisis of religion and philosophy, but also the dead-end of both romantic love and sexual revolution, which was revealed to have started through Freud’s psychoanalysis.
Eliot had not yet adhered to Roman Catholicism, as it was done later, and he seeks answers even to Eastern religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, without being sure though.
Mr. Mouzakitis pointed out that the pillars of the modern European culture, Enlightenment, Marxism and Christianity, either due to the inadequacy and non-respect of what they are supposed to be, or because of great conflicts and wars, have led Europe, but also humanity to look like a “Waste Land” and Eliot is trying to awaken us.
In the discussion that followed, it was highlighted that Eliot covered his quest for life meaning through his active inclusion in Christian Life. He believed that infidelity, as well as wandering in other religious streams, makes no sense. Without metaphysics, civilization cannot come out of the final part of hope that we possess.
Today Europe has plunged into indifference, passivity, devaluation of consumerism and virtuality. We need, lamenting and complaining, as Mr. Erotokritos Moraitis, teacher and writer, pointed out in a writer intervention, to awaken and save this civilization, studying its sources, both of Christianity and the ancient Greek tradition, not rejecting the achievements of modernity, but also by incorporating the modern progress. We do not need the stupefaction, but the meaning of searching people. Here, as father Themistoklis pointed out, comes the responsibility of faith!
The poem was presented in the translation of our great literary figure George Seferis.