Analysis Pages

Literary Devices in The Waste Land

Literary Devices Examples in The Waste Land:

Text of the Poem

🔒 1

"Hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!..."   (Text of the Poem)

This is an allusion to Charles Baudelaire's 1857 poem "Au Lecteur." Eliot repurposes Baudelaire's shocking address to his "Hypocrite reader." Baudelaire's poem ends with the following stanza:

C'est l'Ennui! L'oeil chargé d'un pleur involontaire,
II rêve d'échafauds en fumant son houka.
Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat,
— Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère!

One of many English translations of these lines is:

He is Ennui! — His eye watery as though with tears, 
He dreams of scaffolds as he smokes his hookah pipe.
You know him reader, that refined monster,
— Hypocritish reader, — my fellow, — my brother!

Translation: William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954).

Subscribe to unlock »

Analysis Pages