Abstract

This essay approaches T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land through the lens of the demographic transition (1880-1930), which appeared to contemporaries as an unprecedented crisis. Abortion stood at the heart of this crisis because, unlike contraception, it was not recuperable under the law. In its cultural and discursive effects, abortion resembles modernism. Abortion proves to be the central event of Eliot's epochal poem. Abortion signals, for Eliot, the multiple failures of modernism: as a viable literary project and as a means to reconstitute wholeness at the level of the individual male subject or the level of history.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 223-266
Launched on MUSE
2003-04-10
Open Access
No
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