Month: October 2023


Uluru Rock in Northern Territory, Australia


To analyze stone effectively, it is first necessary to realize what stone is; in this thread, one may think of stone to be a broader umbrella surrounding both metal and glass, and from which the two materials are derived. Metal is extracted from stone, at least for human use, if one imagines metal ore to be a stone. Glass is formed when sand, or “powdered stone,” is heated and cooled rapidly. In this way, stone is an inutile ancestor—it is a product from which useful elements, metal and glass, are taken, but is not itself used in human industry.

This is relevant because industrialization is a recurring theme of Eliot’s poetry. In TWL, industrialization represents death [referring to a crowd of businessmen over London Bridge: “I had not thought death had undone so many” (63)]. On the other hand, nature is the conglomeration of life. Industry, during Eliot’s time, is dominated by metal and glass structures; on the other hand, stone is naturally occurring—that is to say that one does not have to extract or manipulate another substance to derive stone, as one does with metal and glass. This contrast holds tremendous relevance in Eliot’s references.

So, stone can be established as a symbol that is “natural” but by itself “inutile.” Stone has no intrinsic value; the value of stone only comes from what stone turns into. In other words, one has to manipulate stone in order for it to have utility. This manipulation is prominent throughout Eliot’s Biblical references. For instance, in Matthew 4:3,

“… when the tempter came to [Jesus], he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” [Matthew 4:3 ~ HW 18].

The idea of stone turning into bread represents the temptation for something as worthless as stone to be manipulated to satisfy hunger. However, later on in Matthew, Jesus challenges this manipulation:

“Jesus answered, ‘It is written’: “Man does not live on bread alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of God”’” (Matthew 4:1-11).

The turning of stone into bread represents the satisfaction of a temporal desire, hunger. This can be extended to sin as satisfying the temporal desires of human beings. In that thread, the manipulation of naturally-occurring stone for one’s profane satisfaction represents the manipulation of divinity, or purity, for the temporary gratification of sin. One can then use this to further analyze Eliot’s themes on industrialization. If industrialization is the manipulation of naturally-occurring materials to construct a landscape for man-made gratification, that is precisely the destruction of nature—what God created, and what is therefore divine—for something worldly, or sinful. This is supported by another Biblical verse in Ecclesiastes, which refers to dust—the erosion of stone.

“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12).

It requires the preservation of the stone, however useless it may seem, to remain pure or holy.

Lent’s Temptations — Clever Devil turns Stones into Bread



                In a time of overwhelming poverty rates in the “Unreal City,” luxury metals—“gold” and “copper”—in T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land enriches the subplot of wealth disparities in its post-Great War world, whilst portraying the fall of societal hierarchies, as it crumbles under mass suffering and strife. As he dimensionalized themes of poverty and monetary deprivation, Eliot’s  representation of wealth expands on description of luxury and ease, only being referred to in the subplots of the wealthy within his poems, while also hollowing the wealthy experience into a emotionless and isolating state, thus emphasizing hidden similarities between the two groups.

             In the second poem, A Game of Chess, Eliot explores the significance sex and sensuality, with the inspiration Tom Middleton’s satirical play, A Game at Chess, which humorizes and portrays seductive relationships in an allegory for the English and Spanish royal court of the 16th century. Among the “sad light” of empty luxury, both the play and Eliot’s reprisal wraps the respective narratives in a neurotic and false decadence: 

           “The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne/Glowed on the marble, where the glass/Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines/From which a golden Cupidon peeped out/(Another hid his eyes behind his wing)…”  [II. A Game of Chess, 73-81]

            The “golden Cupidon, [hiding] his eyes behind his wing” in a shameful manner, represents an unnecessary and futile extravagance for the sake of love and sex, whilst  “fore[telling]” a failure and negative result in her empty efforts for a connection with her lover. Regardless of her wealth, she still struggles to attain emotional and mental fulfillment, her spiritual storyline painstakingly similar to those without her monetary privilege. 

              Additionally, Eliot utilizes metals to dimensionalize “stone,” pairing the two as oppositional metaphors for agony, strife, and poverty and wealth, blissful ignorance, and societal liberty, thus toying with the scientific relationship between the two natural substances. Metal, a refined, sophisticated form of stone, is posited as belonging to the upper class, the sexually satisfied, and those societally undisturbed by the war:

            “Elizabeth and Leicester/Beating oars/The stern was formed/A gilded shell/Red and gold” [III. The Fire Sermon 281-283]

            Featured only thrice within The Waste Land, gold in its connection to “The Fire Sermon” accentuates the disparity between Queen Elizabeth I, her lover, First Earl of Leicester Robert Dudley, and the general English population, as the two exists in their realm of bliss of “red and gold,” ignoring the strife endured by their subjects. 

             Likewise, stone, in its primitive form, exhibits a roughness which is inherently difficult to navigate and manipulate for one’s own gain:

           “What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow/Out of this stony rubbish”? [I. The Burial of the Dead 19-20] 

           The mental image of “roots that clutch” highlight a struggle for growth, portraying how hardship thrives in “stony places,” obstructing the natural occurrences of flourishment. Furthermore, the excerpt implies a persistent life, threatening the narrator’s peace and sublimity and ensuring a never-ending fight to evade “death by water.” Such is regularly illustrated as Eliot immortalizes his opinions on war-time struggles, poverty, and unattainable fullfillment.  

Rough ride … Cecil Collins’ The Quest, in Journeys With The Waste Land. Photograph: Collins, Cecil/Tate Images


The role of glass in the structure of The Wasteland is one of deception, often performing as mirrors which refract both light and perspective back onto the viewer in alternate form. In A Game of Chess, the throne of the woman (the identity of whom is never truly identified) is illustrated through references to Antony and Cleopatra, in which the “barge” of the play is transformed into a “Chair” on which the woman sits. Within the stanza, the polished glass chair itself inherits the role of a mirror, which reflects “light upon the table” and “doubles” the flames of the candelabra. This image of a throne room is overwrought with reflection, refracted light, and heavy perfumes thus warping the perception of both those who smell it and those who view it. 

This reading continues into the segment of Antony and Cleopatra that Eliot references, which depicts Cleopatra’s first meeting with Mark Antony, on which she rides a barge “like a burnished throne” (Antony and Cleopatra, II, ii, l. 190) with a golden deck and silver oars, rendering the ship a reflective surface. Coupled with his reference to Dido, when he describes the candles which “flung their smoke into the laquearia”, which refers to the smoke of her burning body upon the pyre, the scent of the smoke is covered by heavy perfumes thus imbuing this hall of mirrors with a role of deception. Such a reading is further illustrated when one follows the pairs of desiccated lovers Eliot references, as each pair was blinded by lust or love in some aspect, leading to their demise.

Clothing/Makeup/Perfume in TWL

Throughout The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot utilises clothing, jewellery, and perfume as a catalyst to drive and connect moments of characterization, violence, and sense. Inherently, clothing, jewellery, and perfume all employ sense (visual or olfactory) to convey an identity associated with its beholder. T.S. Eliot applies clothing and jewellery (or the lack thereof) to communicate performance, disguise, and vanity. However, these points interconnect with the heavy theme of gender within the poem. When referencing clothing on men, T.S. Eliot portrays it as a disguise often used violently; a man dressed as a false prophetess and the man in a silk hat both end up assaulting women. When women wear clothing, it becomes a contradiction. Clothing acts as a barrier between the female body and the male gaze: a form of armour. However, more often than not, clothing and jewellery are used in excess to paint opulence and luxury. In this sense, vanity becomes seduction, a twisted invitation to the male assault. On the other end of the spectrum, women in the absence of clothing represent vulnerability. The woman becomes a prize to be hunted by the man, naked rather than nude. This nakedness also plays with Adam and Eve: the knowledge of sin. Perfume, similarly, has a role in both seduction and repulsion. The flower’s strength lies in its aroma, attracting insects to propagate. Similarly, perfume diffuses throughout the poem, representing a powerful stench that repels visitors or a welcoming smell that pulls men in. Perfume flirts with the theme of water within The Waste Land as well. Perfume, in its basic form, is also liquid. However, when released, smell assaults the nose. People “drown themselves in perfume.” While they may seem mundane on their own, clothing, jewellery, and perfume are important pieces in the larger scheme of the poem.


“But at my back from time to time I hear / The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring / Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring.” (196-198).

The quote from line 197 makes a direct reference to The Parliament of Bees by John Day. Eliot writes “the sound of horns and motors, which shall bring Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring,” a variation of Day’s “A noise of Hornes, and hunting, which shall bring Actaeon to Diana in the spring.” In this quote, Day is referencing the story of Diana and Actaeon from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, where Actaeon, a man, comes across Diana, a goddess, bathing.  Diana is so enraged that she turns him into a deer to be killed by his own hounds so that he may never tell what he saw. Some argue that because Actaeon did not intend to violate her privacy, her punishment was unjust. However, Day highlights that the action of hunting is what “brought” Actaeon upon her, speaking to the intersection of sexual violence and the act of hunting. The mere act of seeing a woman naked, without her consent, is thus compared to the act of killing. When considering killing as taking away the body from the soul, rape and sexual violence have the same effect. Thus, the clothes can be thought of as armor for women against this violence. The line from The Parliament of Bees is followed by the line “Where we all shall see her naked body.” Using the word “we”, John Day includes any reader of his text in this violation of Diana’s body. No longer is Actaeon the only one seeing her, it is everyone. 

The title of the section from The Waste Land in which the Parliament of Bees reference is found references the Buddhist “Fire Sermon”, where the individual is encouraged to end their suffering through detachment from the conscious mind. The action of stripping back one’s senses and emotions, or in the words of the text, “creating an aversion” to all the extra feelings that come with being a human, brings the mind to enlightenment, and raises it above the limitations of the material world. It is interesting that this process is thought of as “stripping” the mind of consciousness, and that Eliot references nakedness in this passage, as if the way clothes function for the body is the same as how consciousness functions for the mind. When considering how women use clothes as protection from the male gaze, and that without male violence, such protection would not be necessary, men are associated with the material world, and women (especially their body) with divinity and enlightenment.


Portrait of John Donne writing.

Several moments in the “The Fire Sermon” present instances in which clothing has been denied. Eliot describes “White bodies naked on the low damp ground”; moreover, the act of sexual violence enacted against the typist depends fundamentally upon her nakedness. Though not explicitly referenced in Eliot’s poem, John Donne’s “To His Mistress Going to Bed” also describes an erotic scene that approaches something coercive and nonconsensual. In his attempt to seduce his mistress and convince her to undress, the speaker uses vaguely pious sophistries. He compares women to “mystic books” to advance his affected piety, suggesting that a divine truth, normally obscured by the presence of dress, is revealed by her nakedness. In fact, only “busy fools” occupy themselves solely with a woman’s external appearance. Describing her “girdle”, a form-fitting undergarment worn by women, as “heaven’s Zone glistering”, the man “dresses” his sexual desire in the language of cosmology, elevating the baseness of his instincts into something more dignified. Much like how clothing functions as a kind of trickery, Eliot’s obscurity also disguises his underlying sermon, making his indictments of society more palatable to a wider audience. 

There are more direct parallels between Donne’s elegy and The Waste Land.  Eliot’s assaulter “[explores] hands [that] encounter no defence”, while the man in “Mistress Going to Bed” asks the women to “Licence my roving hands, and let them go, Before, behind, between, above, below.” While the latter quotation seems to serve as an appeal for permission — the speaker requests authorisation to use his hands for licentious purposes — the former quotation eschews this formality. In doing so, the assaulter makes no pretence of courtesy, but acts directly in alignment with his intention; though both men share similar sexual desire, only one announces his willingness to breach consent—Eliot’s line, in other words, is the “undressed” version of Donne’s. 

Donne’s elegy also contains hints of androgyny that recall the figure Tiresias from The Waste Land. The man’s statement that “until in labour, I in labour lie” betrays an effeminacy. The word “labour” is used to exaggerate the toil suffered by the speaker; it also imagines the man engaged in some sort of act of parturition. Effectively, he co-opts the experience of motherhood for rhetorical purposes, as a means of establishing the magnanimity of his endeavour. He also implies that until his sexual demands are obliged, he is forced to tolerate privation. The obvious irony here is that only the mistress, following their liaison, is vulnerable to the experience of labour/childbirth. The poem continues to develop this conceit: the man implores the woman to expose her nakedness to him “As liberally, as to a Midwife”, once again exploiting female experiences to service himself. There is something quite frank, even vulgar, about these explicit references to giving birth — not because he refuses to sentimentalise it, but because he is overtly defiant of social mores that served to protect women, for whom the consequences of unmarried sex were much more serious. The narrative of Tiresias is also inseparable from the assumption that women are inherently sexual creatures — hence why Juno curses him. Eliot, however, does not grant Tiresias the same impunity that Donne’s speaker receives. Tiresias himself admits the duality of his androgyny: he too, like the typist, “foresuffered all Enacted on this same divan or bed”. 

Despite describing “white robes”, evoking associations of virginity and chastity, Donne’s speaker ultimately perceives clothing as a veil for the authentic spirituality that lies underneath; simultaneously, his rhetorical appeal is likewise duplicitous, purporting pious values for the sake of disguising the obscenity of his underlying desire. Ultimately, Eliot does not glorify the naked body, but presents it as a discarded thing, diminished from its once great stature in our aboriginal imagination. 


Perfume, as a sensual experience, acts as a source of disruption and conflict within TWL. Straying away from the foreseeable cycle of life and death and the details of a mundane human nature in “The Burial of the Dead,”  In this quote, Eliot literally moves from water (drowning) to smell (odors). While perfume typically has a good aroma, “odour” connotes something pungent, as if the unknown “she” that is acting in this stanza is concocting something that releases powerful scents.” Eliot heavily parallels his descriptions with those by Charles Baudelaire’s, “A Martyred Woman.” “In the midst of perfume flasks, of sequined fabrics … of marble statues … and wearing precious jewels,” writes Baudelaire. These images clearly align with the “glitter of her jewels” and “strange synthetic perfumes” that Eliot describes. This parallel is testament to the equally sensual experience created by perfume in Baudelaire and Eliot’s respective works. The opening images of his poem seem to be dominated by the “perfume” which parallels the “synthetic perfume” and “odors” in TWL. What connects these to aromatic images is the presence of power. The “burnished throne” is a kin to some position of superiority or reason for praise which is a central theme in Baudelaire’s “A Martyred Women.” The difference lies in the fact that in TWL the dominance/presence of this power is “drown[ing]” the sense in odurs’ ‘ as if there is an excess of power. In Baudelaire’s focus on dead women, Eliot’s allusion to his work seems to be suggesting that there is an overbearing/whelming stench or. “odour” (in both a literal and metaphorical sense) of death. 

“Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,

Unguent, powdered, or liquid—troubled, confused

And drowned the sense in odours” – TWL

In the midst of perfume flasks, of sequined fabrics/ And voluptuous furniture/
Of marble statues, pictures, and perfumed dresses/ That trail in sumptuous folds” – Baudelaire, “A Martyred Women”

     In Act II, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s tragedy Antony and Cleopatra, Enobarbus describes Cleopatra’s royal barge as a “burnished throne”.

“You must not think I am so simple but I know the

devil himself will not eat a woman: I know that a

woman is a dish for the gods, if the devil dress her

not.” – Shakespeare, “Antony and Cleopatra






Corpses & Bones

A Food Chain of Corpses

The Waste Land deals with numerous motifs all at once. From the cyclical routine of nature and the Great War’s effects on humanity to another significant conflict – the battle of the sexes, these matters seem disconnected at first glance. However, with further investigation and references to the sources that influenced Eliot’s writing, these themes are in fact connected through the subjects of this page – corpses and bones. 

Eliot references Baudelaire’s “The Martyred Woman” towards the outset of II. A Game of Chess. Particularly through creating an ambience in this section of TWL similar to that of Baudelaire’s poem, one is prompted to analyze the beautified death scene where “A headless cadaver”, who is the eponymous martyred woman, lays (Baudelaire). The fact that this female corpse is “headless” alludes to the lost of the most identifiable aspect of any human, the face, proceeding the exploitation of her body for men’s sexual desires; her identity is not spared even after her life has already ended, proving the significant stripping of humanity of indecent sex. Baudelaire continues, 

“Had her exasperated soul / And her senses gnawed by ennui / Thrown open their gates to the thirsty pack / Of lost and wandering desires?… Did he use your inert, complacent flesh to fill /The immensity of his lust?” (Baudelaire). 

Incorporating the action “gnawed by” alludes to the female corpse being a mere feed for “the thirsty pack”. The corpse’s “inert, complacent flesh” merely exists as a prey to quench such predating men’s sexual thirst. With corporeal flesh comes bones, and bones first appear in TWL when Eliot writes, “I think we are in rats’ alley / Where the dead men lost their bones” (115-116). This scene occurs only numerous lines after the reference to “The Martyred Woman”, deeming the transition from a female corpse to “dead men” significant. Here, as opposed to Baudelaire’s woman who lost her flesh to figuratively feed men, “dead men lost their bones” to a currently unknown source. The essence of losing bones hints at such men’s loss of a stable structure. Evidently, when men are guided only by lust, their upstanding propriety dies, resulting in the metaphorical death of masculine morality, deeming them “dead men”. 

Yet, of course, corpses exist beyond this battle of the sexes; a larger phenomenon gives rise for greater casualties and death – WWI. Whitman’s depictions of “battle-corpses, myriads of them, / And the white skeletons of young men” further convey men’s subjectivity to battle casualties, as they were the prominent gender who engaged in this war (Whitman 6). Their “white skeletons” exposed on the battlefield similarly depict the scene where “dead men lost their bones”, painting the Great War as a more powerful source of predator than men are to women. However, even war isn’t the most powerful of them all; the inevitable nature of death. Female corpses that are supposedly prominent with “beauty” are merely “formless, shapeless, and without glory,” as Pepler put it, when “laid in the graves” (The Burial of the Dead 14). He also notes that “man is but naked bones, corruption, and food for worms”; their corpses, stripped of uprightness and  corrupted with lust, merely act as prey to the most trivial animals after death, which contributes to the cycle of nature through a food chain sequence (The Burial of the Dead 20).



Dwight Longenecker, T.S. Eliot’s Waste Land, Reconsidered in the Pandemic (2020)

The Bones of Ezekiel

“And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, Thou knowest.'” (Ezekiel 37:3)

Of the many Biblical references in The Waste Land none contribute quite as much to the structure and symbolism of the poem as the Book of Ezekiel, which is first introduced in line twenty and makes numerous reappearances throughout the poem. One of the most notable sections of Ezekiel, the Valley of Dry Bones, is a prophecy that God reveals to Ezekiel of how he will redeem the Israelites, raising the dead. The chapter opens, “the hand of the LORD… set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones… and there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry” (Ezekiel 37:1-2). 

The Vision of the Valley of the Dry Bones by Gustave Doré

Of the numerous times bones and corpses appear in the appear in The Waste Land, only once are they ‘dry:’

“Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel

There is the empty chapel, only the wind’s home 

It has no windows, and the door swings, 

Dry bones can harm no one.” (388-391)

Bones here become the seeds of the prophecy, but, when God raises them into an army of the dead, in Ezekiel, “So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and they stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army” (Ezekiel 37:10). Here, in The Waste Land, the “dry bones,” the dead of the House of Israel [Israelites], “can harm no one” (Eliot 391). The theme of prophecy is not new to The Waste Land, but the connection to bones appears only here, suggesting something unique about how the Biblical vision lines up with the previous examples (Huxley, Petronius, etc.). 

The “empty chapel” in this stanza is the Chapel Perilous of Arthurian legend, where the hero must enter and defeat the cursed and murderous spirit within (Weston 1-3). The connection here is not directly with Ezekiel, but with bones themselves. The story of this chapel is that every day a knight, thinking they are virtuous and strong enough, will enter, and be slain by the “Black Hand” (Weston 2). This, in effect, is an army similar to that of the reanimated dead that Ezekiel sees, slain by their own ‘sins’ and awaiting deliverance (from Gawain). The ‘dryness’ here is more than just a reference to Ezekiel, but an actual trait, the languishing in sin and idolatry that God instructed Ezekiel to deliver the Israelites from. This is clarified in a line from Ezekiel itself, as the reanimated corpses speak, “Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: We are cut off for our parts” (Ezekiel 37:11). Here the status of ‘dried’ is directly connected with the conditions/actions of the bones; this must also be applied to The Waste Land.


“The Chapel Perilous” by Thomas Mackenzie

The ‘harmlessness’ of these ‘dry bones’ is less easy to interpret. Much more explicit than the commentary and satire of prophets from Madame Sosostris and Sybil (in the foreword), this passage directly contradicts the Ezekiel vision of redemption and resurrection. By associating with the Chapel Perilous, which is cited as containing the bones of all who fell to it in its mausoleum in From Ritual to Romance, the nature of this is made clear. Bones are the enduring legacy of the people they belonged to, and their attributes are somewhat permanent—only an act of God can raise the ‘dry,’ idolatrous bones of the House of Israel. Only with the presence of an Ezekiel/Gawain-type character—the pure prophet/quester—can these bones even be raised, and, as “only the wind’s home,” there is no one left to fulfill the prophecy and redeem the bones, which here make up not the House of Israel, but the ‘House of Britain.’ To Eliot, bones serve much of the same purpose, a reminder of the shortcomings he sees in modern British life, the ‘dry bones’ of the Chapel Perilous exhumed in the City of London.

The Apocalyptic Vision of T. S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land' - The Atlantic

Daniele Castellano, T.S. Eliot Saw All This Coming (2022)

Implicit Bones

In “The Fire Sermon,” an arbitrary corpse is brought to life by the presence of rats and animal slaughter. Eliot writes, 

But at my back in a cold blast I hear

The rattle of bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.

A rat crept softly through the vegetation

Dragging its slimy belly on the bank (185-188). 

From “rattle” to “rat,” Eliot’s pun draws emphasis to the omnipresence of the pests throughout TWL. Interestingly, “rat,” the first three letters in the spelling of “rattle,” implicates these very animals in the creation of said “bones”—in other words, in the very process of reading or writing about the “rattle” of death, the reader/writer finds “rats” to be tethered, perhaps criminally, to the dead body. Furthermore, the “rattle of bones,” creating not a visual but rather audio confirmation of the body parts of the deceased, contrasts with the hyper-visual and hyper-realistic descriptions of the animal’s “slimy belly.” This motif of the “belly” is also curiously present in Trimalchio’s dinner party, wherein his dissatisfaction at the ungutted pig leads to the chef’s humiliating punishment:

The chef recovered his shirt, took up a knife and with a nervous hand cut open the pig’s belly left and right. Suddenly, as the slits widened with the pressure, out poured sausages and blood-puddings (Petronius 7).

Here, the “pig’s belly” is perverted by the cut of the “knife,” and the pig is killed in a gruesome manner not unlike the rat that “drags[s] its slimy belly on the banks,” prolonging its grimy legacy. Additionally, the imagery communicated through the sliced “belly” resonates with the backstory of Tiresias, who Eliot cites as “yet the most important personage in the poem, uniting all the rest.” When examining the blind prophet’s cause of death, one finds that “[h]e at last died, after drinking the waters of a cold fountain, which froze his blood” (Lempriere 2). The liquid “sausages and blood-puddings” from the slaughtered pig essentially becomes “froze[n]” here, mimicking the process of human decomposition. Upon an animal or a person’s slaughter, an outpour of blood ensues, akin to the aftermath of the “slit” made by Trimalchio’s chef. However, with time, the cadaver stiffens without life, and the once-liquid blood is rendered frozen, as in Tiresia’s case. This frozen quality brings the analysis back in a full circle, for in the above-mentioned line of TWL, “at my back in a cold blast I hear / The rattle of bones.” Tiresias senses a corpse, cold and lifeless, before proceeding to hint at death through rats. Perhaps this also explains why there are also “bones cast in a little low dry garret” (194). Namely, not only are rats commonly found within the attic (“garret”) or other infrequently visited localities, but these places are described as “dry,” without liquid, and thus potentially storing a long-expired frozen corpse. As such, TWL begins with the “Burial of the Dead,” a fresh corpse, with “The Fire Sermon” and the subsequent sections accounting for its inevitable decay.


Wikipedia, Coues’s Rice Rat (2022)

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