The Waste Land

The Waste Land

TS Eliot’s The Waste Land arrives on iPad

Along with James Joyce’s seminal work Ulysses, TS Eliot’s epic poem of despair, satire and prophecy The Waste Land is considered one of the major pillars of the modernist movement of the early 20th Century. With a fluid, ever-changing style, cast of characters, language and meaning, as well as being interspersed with a deluge of classical, historical and literary allusions, this work of post-war generation disillusionment is a must-read for anyone with an interest in literature, poetry or philosophy.

The Waste Land app is a multimedia experience based on the poem, delivering an audio-visual performance from Fiona Shaw; multiple audio readings by famous actors such as Alec Guinness and Viggo Mortensen; audio-visual commentary by academics; authoritative analytical notes; a facsimile of Eliot’s manuscript, and a visual gallery of related images. It is in many respects a complete package, granting a crash-course to The Waste Land and Eliot himself.

Indeed, it is hard to fault The Waste Land. The production values are fantastic, and there is an attention to detail here – an understanding of the app’s main uses – that is absent in much of the App Store’s content. A good example is the fast and easily accessible search function, which allows users to quickly scan the entire work for key phrases or words, and then be presented with relevant notes and academic commentary. As a learning aid, this app hits all the right marks.

If pushed to criticism, we would say that an ability to mark your own notes upon the poem or manuscript would have been nice, as would a link to further reading materials. However, these pale into insignificance when confronted by the professionalism and depth of The Waste Land’s execution.

Rated 5 out of 5

The new benchmark for literary, multimedia app experiences.