Almost certainly the most commented-upon poem in the English Language, T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land has puzzled undergraduate English students and seasoned scholars for eight decades. While Rikard Parker's Website will not end this puzzlement, it offers an innovative use of Web technology to explore a poem that many consider to have anticipated hypertext in its themes and format. Parker's site features a number of versions of a multi-framed approach to the text (more than are necessary, really) with each one a variation on a format that lets readers place portions of the original published poem side-by-side with one or more of the following: Eliot's notes to the poem; Parker's explanations of allusions; other lines in the poem evoking related themes such as seasons, weather, death, etc.; earlier manuscript versions of selected portions; and Parker's commentary on possible textual meanings. Parker's text allows one to do much more easily and with less confusion what a critical edition of the poem is supposed to help one do, i.e., read analytically. With its spatial, fragmented approach, perhaps this version would have been welcomed by Eliot as its truest manifestation. Perhaps not. In any case, we suggest that users select the link "my recommended entry point to the framed sub-site" as the most pleasing and comprehensive version of the text on-site. Parker is a full-time software engineer and part-time amateur scholar of Eliot's great poem.
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