Teaching poetry: introducing a contextual and textual approach to undergraduate students

Jane Mattisson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Undergraduate students of English find poetry particularly challenging as it requires a knowledge of rhyming patterns, metre and diction. T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land (1922) is one of the most famous poems in the English language. It is also one of the most difficult to analyse. As a foundation text of Modernism, it presents special challenges for students due to the complexity of its language, allusions and images. I introduce two contrasting methods of analysis: contextual, in which I apply historical criticism to the poem, and textual, where I demonstrate the advantages of New Critical close reading. In the course of my analysis of The Waste Land, I provide guidelines for analysis and research. Some of the most important Eliot critics are also mentioned in order to suggest topics for research as well as class discussions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)33-47
    Number of pages14
    JournalPorta Linguarum
    Issue number16
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Pedagogy (50301)


    • Close Reading
    • Historical Criticism
    • Modernism
    • New Criticism
    • The Waste Land
    • World War One


    Dive into the research topics of 'Teaching poetry: introducing a contextual and textual approach to undergraduate students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this