The Waste Land

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 September, 2011, 12:00am


The Waste Land
by T.S. Eliot
Faber and Faber/Touch and Go (e-book for iPad)

I have come slightly late to this digital version of T.S. Eliot's masterpiece, but it was well worth the wait. To put it simply, this is the sort of user-friendly and dazzling multimedia work that should put all e-book naysayers in their place. Touch and Go's innovative collection of text, readings, commentaries and notes actually influences the way that you read this most challenging but central monument of high modernism. You can cut between first drafts and Eliot's finally published poem. In addition to the text (complete with facsimiles of Eliot's various typescripts), there are synchronised readings by the poet himself (two versions at opposing ends of his life, the earlier of which is brand new), Ted Hughes, Viggo Mortensen and a video of Fiona Shaw reading with considerable welly. The extras, meanwhile, are simply astounding. There are full written notes to each line, and a whole host of interviews with, among others, Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney. The text is searchable and illustrated with a host of wonderful pictures. All together now: 'April is the cruellest month... '