• Author(s): Davidson, Harriet
  • Publisher / Date: Louisiana State University Press, 1985

Surveying 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.