The Waste Land (Limited Edition)

T. S. Eliot

Illustrated by Tom Phillips RA

Limited to 350 hand-numbered copies

Please note, this title is only available in USA and Canada.

The perfect centenary edition of a landmark of Modernist poetry. Hand bound by experts using only the finest materials, Folio’s tribute to T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land is limited to 350 copies illustrated and signed by renowned artist Tom Phillips RA.

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‘Eliot’s Waste Land is I think the justification of the ‘movement,’ of our modern experiment, since 1900.’
  1. Ezra Pound


This magnificent Folio Society limited edition celebrates the centenary of T. S. Eliot's influential masterpiece The Waste Land. Limited to just 350 numbered copies this spectacular edition, of arguably the most important poem of the 20th century, features exclusive artwork by Tom Phillips – elected to the prestigious Royal Academy of Arts in 1989 and one of Britain's finest contemporary artists. Half-bound in vellum blocked in 22-carat gold and printed letterpress, each copy has been signed by the artist.

Hand bound by Ludlow Bookbinders

Half-bound in vellum blocked in 22-carat gold

Cloth sides printed with a design by Tom Phillips

Colorplan Damask Amethyst endpapers

84 pages set in Walbaum

Printed letterpress on Zerkall mould-made paper by Hand & Eye Letterpress

11 colour plates giclée printed by Pureprint on Symbol Tatami Ivory paper and hand-tipped on to the Zerkall paper

Limitation page signed by Tom Phillips

Gilded top edge with natural deckle retained on fore and bottom edges

10½˝ × 14˝

Cloth-covered clamshell box lined with soft, napped fabric in purple

Blind-blocked on front and blocked with brown foil on spine

11˝ × 15˝ × 1½˝

‘April is the cruellest month’
  1. T. S. Eliot

Consisting of five sections and Eliot’s own ‘Notes’, which explain his many cultural allusions, quotations and half-quotations, the poem has become a beacon of literature in English. Combining the Grail legend with that of the Fisher King, and mixing it all with a large dose of contemporary British society, the poem alternates between prophecy and satire, and features unannounced changes in speaker, time and location to produce a vast and dissonant cultural collage, which, infused with a post-First World War sense of depression and futility, became a rallying cry of youth against an older generation and a landmark of Modernist poetry.

‘I will show you fear in a handful of dust.’
  1. T. S. Eliot

For the letterpress-printed text, Folio secured handmade mould-made Zerkall paper – the last available anywhere in the world – with the deckle retained on two edges and gilding on the top edge. Tom Phillips RA, well-known for his ability to read within a text and peel back its layers of meaning, has contributed 11 stunning illustrations printed giclée on Tatami paper and hand-tipped onto the page, as well as his own ‘Notes on the Images’. He has also designed fabulous hand-drawn lettering for the title, printed on the binding and blind-blocked on the cloth-covered clamshell box. Limited to just 350 copies, and only available in the US and Canada, each hand-numbered book has been signed by the artist.

Born in St Louis, Missouri, USA in 1888, Thomas Stearns Eliot was a poet, playwright, literary critic and editor, and a leader of the Modernist movement in poetry. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, published in 1915, is recognised as the first great work of modernism in English but it was The Waste Land that won him an international reputation in 1922. With the publication of Four Quartets in 1943, Eliot was confirmed as one of the most important poets of the 20th century. His influence on Anglo-American culture was immense and in 1948 he was awarded both the Order of Merit and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Eliot died in London in January 1965.

Tom Phillips, born in 1937 in London, was one of the greatest polymaths that England has produced — equally renowned as an artist, poet, photographer and composer. He had a long association with the work of Laurence Sterne and illustrated the Folio Society limited edition of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (2020). Having worked in portraiture, and as a broadcaster and public speaker, Phillips focused on illustration and showed great skill in interpreting complex texts and testing the limits of what a book can do. Most recently, Phillips illustrated the Folio society limited edition of The Waste Land (2022).


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