English, Department of


Date of this Version

Fall 12-3-2010


A Thesis presented to the Graduate Faculty of the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts, Major: English, under the supervision of Professors Guy J. Reynolds, Stephen C. Behrendt, and Seanna S. Oakley. Lincoln, Nebraska: December 2010
Copyright 2010 Tyler Edward Anderson.


My thesis will closely examine recent trends in criticism of "The Waste Land," namely the ideological rebuttal against the New Critics proposed by recent historicists such as Lawrence Rainey. I will show that Rainey has unfairly characterized the so-called New Critics as supporting a reading of the poem that only sees it for a work of order and unity while in fact they acknowledged many organizational inconsistencies within the text. A central tenet of my thesis will be that ideological characterizations of earlier critics should never substitute actual close readings of the texts themselves. My findings will lead to broader conclusions about the nature of literary criticism and how ideas are proliferated, forgotten, or ignored within academia.