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These are masterly readings, by renowned thespian Paul Schofield, of two substantial works of poetry by T.S. Eliot. The Wasteland, first published in 1922, is one of Eliot's most influential works and has long been on the syllabus for A-Level English Literature. The Four Quartets consists of four long poems, first published between 1935 and 1942. They are linked by common themes, and are individually 'Burnt Norton', 'East Coker', 'The Dry Salvages' and 'Little Gidding'. These can be thought of as definitive readings of these poems, and Telegraph radio critic Gillian Reynolds has previously called for them to be published by Radio Collection.
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The great Paul Scofield's reading of THE FOUR QUARTETS is every bit as professional as one would expect. He takes his time, lingering over the majestic cadences of Eliot's verse to allow the impact of every image to hit home. However, it's in his delivery of THE WASTE LAND that Scofield really shows his understanding. This poem is dense with learning, shifting from monologue to dialogue and in and out of several languages, but Scofield, speaking at times barely above a whisper, provides a thread through Eliot's complexity, making a challenging poem more accessible, and more pleasurable. Scofield somehow manages to evoke the twisting despair of Eliot's poem in ways that make it enjoyable to listen to. G.T.B. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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