Twentieth Century Literature
The writer examines an aesthetics of empire evident in Eliot's The Waste Land. He contends that though this work's formal innovations appear “revolutionary,” its aesthetics fit into modernism's reactionary character and reflect the cultural politics of the British conservatism that Eliot had adopted. In decoding the poem's fragments and allusions, he illustrates Eliot's preoccupation with empire. He also shows how The Waste Land may be seen as part of a British literary tradition of “reading the wreckage” that goes back at least to Edward Volney's Ruins (1791).
Paul Douglass. "Reading the Wreckage: De-Encrypting Eliot's Aesthetics of Empire" Twentieth Century Literature (1997): 1-26. https://doi.org/10.2307/441860