T.S. Elliot’s poem The Waste Land named iPad App of the Week

The Waste Land for iPad
The Waste Land for iPad

Within hours of being released on Tuesday, 7 June, 2011 a pioneering digital edition of The Waste Land by poet T.S. Eliot had climbed to the top of the book category within  the  iTunes App Store in the UK. On Friday, 10 June 2011,Apple officially named The Waste Land the iPad App of the Week in the U.S.

“It is inspiring to see a poem compete among the top-selling apps and being selected App of the Week is an important and thrilling first for poetry,” Henry Volans, Head of Faber Digital noted. Faber co-published the digital edition with Touch Press.

The Waste Land for iPad brings Eliot’s revolutionary modernist poem alive with a wealth of interactive features and a groundbreaking design that offers readers spectacular new ways to explore the poem’s 434 lines without sacrificing the integrity of the original. The new digital edition of The Waste Land features a powerful filmed performance of the complete work by acclaimed actress Fiona Shaw (Aunt Petunia in the Harry Potter films and soon to be Hallow/Marne in the HBO original series True Blood). Additional readings by Sir Alec Guinness (Obi-wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars trilogy), poet and children’s writer Ted Hughes (also the widower of Sylvia Plath), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Eliot himself. Both Shaw’s filmed performance and the readings are synchronized to the text.

WasteLand Fiona Shaw
Fiona Shaw filmed performance of T.S. Eliot's THE WASTE LAND courtesy of The Thought Fox...the faber blog

Other features of the app include:

  • Comprehensive interactive notes guiding the user through the poem’s many references.
  • More than 35 expert video perspectives, filmed in partnership with BBC Arena, including contribution from Seamus Heaney (who gave the eulogy at Ted Hughes funeral in 1998) and Jeanette Winterson.
  • Original manuscript pages revealing how the manuscript took shape under Ezra Pound’s editing.
  • On overview tool revealing the complete structure of the verse and allowing rapid navigation through it’s more than 400 lines.

The Waste Land for iPad attempts to do for this defining poem of the 20th-century what The Elements has done for the periodic table – bring a profoundly important subject to the attention of a new digital audience and make it come alive in their hands,” said Max Whitby, co-founder and CEO of co-publisher Touch Press.

The Waste Land for iPad is available for $13.99 (£7.99) from the App store on iPad or at http://www.itunes.com/appstore/.