Memory and desire,
Of the living dead: remembering and longing for the time in which they were still alive.
“Memory and desire” is possibly from Weddah an Om-el-Bonain (II, xix) by Scottish poet James Thomson, whom Eliot is known to have been a fan of. Thomson’s masterpiece The City of Dreadful Night deals with a degenerate city, and may have served as an inspiration for The Waste Land.
Seymour Glass quotes this line whimsically—but with a tinge of real sadness—in J. D. Salinger’s short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.”
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