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"To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost."
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
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Eliot's major work, "The Wasteland", was controversial when it appeared in 1922. Considered both obscure and radical, it utilizes a combination of modern slang and ancient myth, arcane literary allusion and jazzy modernity. Eliot also included helpful but pedantic footnotes. However, the poem is lyrical and hypnotic, and its collage-like mode is, in the end, an effective form for the expression of Eliot's view of the fragmentation and degeneration of modern life. Much of the poem's final shape was influenced by Ezra Pound, who served as Eliot's mentor in its writing--a fact which only emerged with the publication of a facsimile manuscript in 1972.
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