The Waste Land
I bought The Waste Land as an 'app' on the iPad 2. This sort of offering is what pushed me to buy what I first thought would be little more than an oversized iPhone. But Faber has outdone itself. The touchscreen 'book' of this genius of a poem is arranged in sections. There is the main performance of the poem by the absolutely mesmeric actress Fiona Shaw, who resembles my Mum! She embodies each voice so fully that I just watched her, entranced. In A Game of Chess the way she performs the east end pub scene is remarkable - their characters not just in her voice but occupying her face. There are pictures of Eliot's original manuscript, edited by Ezra Pound, which clearly shows Pound's editorial freedom; he was not scared to use a pencil on each line. There is a selection of recordings too, of the work being read by Eliot himself, Alec Guinness and Vigo Mortenssen - majestic voices all. There is also a section given over to critical perspectives - Seamus Heaney, Jeanette Winterson and other academics are filmed talking about Eliot or his poem from different angles. It really is amazingly well done.