Screenshot from The Waste Land for iPadApril is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.

But for T. S. Eliot, who wrote those lines, June might be looking pretty good. (If he were still alive, that is.) That’s because an iPad app based on his long poem, “The Waste Land,” is selling very well on Apple’s iTunes App Store.

According to eBook Newser, it’s also the #1 selling iPad book app, having nudged out the Marvel Comics app. The Waste Land is currently at #45 in the list of overall top-selling paid apps.

And it hit the #1 spot in the U.K. app store just hours after its launch, according to the publisher (.pdf).

That’s pretty impressive for a long, difficult poem written in 1922, even if it is considered a classic of modern literature.

The iPad edition of the Waste Land includes an audio reading of the entire text by Fiona Shaw, archival recordings by Eliot himself, video commentary by poets such as Seamus Heaney and Jeanette Winterson, readings by actors Ted Hughes, Alec Guinness and Viggo Mortensen, images of Eliot’s marked-up manuscript pages, and hyperlinked annotations on many of the poem’s often-obscure language and allusions.

The book is published by London-based Touch Press, whose first book was an iPad edition of Theodore Gray’s book “The Elements.” Gray and scientist Stephen Wolfram founded Touch Press to publish interactive e-books, and their titles also include “The Solar System for iPad” and “Gems and Jewels for iPad.”

The Waste Land for iPad costs $14 in the Apple App Store. If you just want to read the text of The Waste Land, it’s available for free, since the poem is now in the public domain.

via Media Bistro