Exploring The Waste Land
A commentary page linked from The Waste Land, Part III, line 307

Part IV
Line 307

John Peter has made an interesting comment on Augustine's trips to Carthage.

The quotation comes from the beginning of the third book of the Confessions and the note which Eliot has appended to it, with its mention of 'unholy loves', translates enough of its context to explain how it bears upon the characters and incidents-the lovers on the river, Mrs. Porter, Mr. Eugenides, the typist and the rest-that have preceded it. What the notes do not make clear, and what I feel they might have, is that Augustine 'came' twice to Carthage and that on the second occasion he had travelled to it in order to escape from the misery into which he had been plunged by the death of a friend, one with whom he had enjoyed a friendship which he himself describes as 'delightful to me above all the delights of this my life'. Anyone who begins reading at the fourth chapter of Book IV of the Confessions will, I think, agree that this second visit to Carthage is even more revealing when we refer it to the theme of The Waste Land, and he is likely to realise also what a huge reference the broken fragment 'To Carthage then I came' really contains.

"A New Interpretation of The Waste Land," Essays in Criticism II, July, 1952, pp. 242-66. Eliot had copies of the July, 1952 issue destroyed but the essay was reprinted in the April, 1969 issue of Essays in Criticism along with "Postscript," an account of the censorship and further elaboration.

Exploring The Waste Land
File name: kq307.html
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002
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