faculty_bookshelf

Faculty Bookshelf

T. S. Eliot and Hermeneutics: Absence and Interpretation in The Waste Land
Louisiana State University Press, 1985

Harriet Davidson

T.S. Eliot and HermeneuticsSurveying the flurry of critical activity that The Waste Land inspired, T. S. Eliot commented, "I regret having sent so many enquirers off on a wild goose chase after Tarot cards and Holy Grail." He preferred that readers try to perceive what he called the poem's "entelechy." In T. S. Eliot and Hermeneutics: Absence and Interpretation in 'The Waste Land', Professor Harriet Davidson establishes a similar distinction between two possible critical approaches, using Paul Ricoeur's terms "hermeneutics of suspicion" and "hermeneutics of recovery." The former involves a search for structures of meaning underlying a work; the latter questions the primacy of this critique by beginning with an act of faith in what we always already understand in the work.