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Originally published in 1922, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land was the most revolutionary poem of its time, offering a devastating vision of modern civilisation.

To mark the centenary in 2022, Faber is delighted to announce new publishing and an exciting work of non-fiction by award-winning biographer and Faber Poetry Editor, Matthew Hollis.

In this riveting account, The Waste Land: T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and the Making of a Masterpiece (September 2022), Matthew Hollis reconstructs the genesis of the poem and brings its times vividly to life. He tells the story of the cultural and personal trauma that forged the poem through the interleaved lives of its protagonists – of Ezra Pound, who edited it, of Vivien Eliot, who endured it, and of T. S. Eliot himself, whose private torment is woven into the fabric of the work. The result is an engrossing story of lives passing in opposing directions: Eliot’s into redemptive stardom, Vivien’s into isolated despair, Pound’s into unforgiving darkness.

In association with the T. S. Eliot Foundation, Faber has commissioned a new recording of T. S. Eliot’s landmark poem, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini, one of the finest readers of literature alive today.

Poems in this recording also include ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’, ‘Portrait of a Lady’, ‘The Boston Evening Transcript’, ‘The Hollow Men’, ‘Journey of the Magi’ and ‘Animula’. The audiobook will be published on 4 January 2022 to mark the beginning of the centenary year and to coincide with the anniversary of Eliot’s death.

Clare Reihill, of the T. S. Eliot Foundation, said:

‘Edoardo Ballerini is widely regarded as the brightest star of the audiobook era, one of the finest readers of literature alive today. He is a performer whose name alone can draw audiences to an audiobook – “the Vladimir Horowitz of . . . audiobooks”, as the New York Times has called him. The son of the poet Luigi Ballerini, he has recorded, to great acclaim, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle and Tolstoy’s War and Peace, among many others. We are thrilled to have him record The Waste Land to mark this landmark poem’s centenary.’

In addition, to celebrate fifty years of the facsimile, Faber will publish a new edition of The Waste Land: A Facsimile and Transcript of the Original Drafts (3 February 2022), in which Eliot’s own pages of typescript and manuscript are published in startling full colour for the first time. Meticulously edited by the poet’s widow, Valerie Eliot, this new edition is a reissue, with corrections, of the text of the 1980 reprint, and includes an appendix of original materials not previously made available.

Alex Bowler, Faber Publisher, said:

‘2022 will be a year of celebration, led by Matthew Hollis’s surpassing “biography” of the poem. The perfect match of author and subject, it will reilluminate the poem, shedding new light on what we think we know of The Waste Land and its making. Likewise, the revised colour facsimile edition will provide a depth of new information and understanding for those readers most familiar with the work, while the new audio editions will be sure to bring a fresh audience to this most enduring masterpiece, which lies at the radical heart of Faber’s story.’

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1888. He settled in England in 1915 and published his first book of poems in 1917. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Eliot died in 1965.

Matthew Hollis is a poet and biographer. Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas (Faber, 2011; Norton, 2012) won the Costa Biography Award and was Sunday Times Biography of the Year.

Edoardo Ballerini has won the US Audio Publishers Association’s Best Male Narrator ‘Audie’ Award twice and is the only narrator to be profiled by the New York Times Magazine, which called him ‘A master in his field . . . at the forefront of a new kind of celebrity.’ He is also a frequent narrator of ‘Sunday Reads’ for The Daily, the New York Times’s podcast, reaching audiences of over two million listeners, and of ‘Sleep Stories’ for the popular Calm app, which has over fifty million downloads.