A century ago, T.S. Eliot wrote The Waste Land, a monumental poem that diagnosed the ills of modernity which have only intensified since the work took the literary world by storm in 1922. The long and difficult poem, modernist in style if not in substance, was a tour de force written by the most learned poet of his time, a man steeped not only in the literary traditions of the past, but equally well read in the fields of culture, history, philosophy and theology. Moved by the same fierce intellectual curiosity that animated a Socrates or a St. Augustine, Eliot was a seeker intent on finding answers to life’s perennial questions. The poem, which in final form ran to nearly four hundred lines, is an Erasmus-like reflection on the state of mankind – its pain and suffering, its failures and folly; its longing for goodness, beauty and love, side-by-side with the daily reality of life apparently shorn of significance, value and purpose. The honest diagnosis is grim and not for the faint of heart, but also raises possibilities for remedy and relief. For those who have never read The Waste Land, or who have attempted to study it over only one or two class periods, this eight-week course will provide an in-depth look at one of the great poems of our age – great owing to its power, profundity and apprehension of truth.