THE
WASTE
LAND
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T. S.
ELIOT
POEM MAP ENDNOTES SOURCES ABOUT

Line 43:

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,

Context:

According to North (2001), Eliot's Madam Sosostris is named after a character from Aldous Huxley's novel Crome Yellow. In Crome Yellow, Sesostris is the name taken by Mr. Scogan when he poses as a fortune teller at a fair. Disguised as an old woman, he dispenses vague, grim fortunes. He predicts a war and tries to arrange a tryst with a local girl. Huxley's Sesostris touches on several topics that are key themes of The Waste Land — war, sex, pessimism about the future. As a cross-dressing fortune teller, she also evokes the prophet Tiresias from lines 215-248.