That Eliot is the greatest poet in the English language o f the first third of the present century is debatable. There are also W.B.
Yeats, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, and perhaps others, depending on scholarly opinion. But there is less doubt about his influence; he is
generally considered the most influential and he remains the most controversial. Critics and other students of literature have written
extensively to resolve controversial opinion and to unravel the
complexity of his poetics both to professional scholars and, of corse, to students who approach them for the first time. Even today, a simpler explanation is required.
Therefore the purpose of this essay is to explain some of Eliot' s
most important techniques and to show how, in using them, he develops
one of the themes that dominate much of his poetry: the spiritually
negative character of the contemporary world and the spiritually
positive character of the past tradition. 'The Wasteland' is in my opinion
the poem which best illustrates these techniques.