(26 October 1922), 690.
[Review of The Waste Land and
inaugural issue of the Criterion]
If we are to judge by its first number, the Criterion is not only that rare thing amongst English periodicals, a purely literary review, but it is of a quality not inferior to that of any review published either here or abroad. Of the seven items which make up this number there are at least five that we should like to see preserved in a “permanent” form. And of these five there are two, the long poem by Mr. T. S. Eliot called The Waste Land and Dostoevski's “Plan of a Novel,” now first translated into English, that are of exceptional importance. We cannot imagine a more untidy plan for a novel or anything else than this one by Dostoevski, and yet, even on a first reading, one has a confused impression of having passed through an exciting and significant experience.
[ … ]
Mr. Eliot's poem is also a collection of flashes, but there is no effect of heterogeneity, since all these flashes are relevant to the same thing and together give what seems to be a complete expression of this poet's vision of modern life. We have here range, depth, and beautiful expression. What more is necessary to a great poem? This vision is singularly complex and in all its labyrinths utterly sincere.
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