The Long Poems of Wallace Stevens: An Interpretative Study

Overview

Wallace Stevens is a fascinating and enigmatic poet; the vice-president of an insurance company, a corporate lawyer, an expert on the bond market, and, almost incidentally, one of America's greatest poets. Despite the many books written about him, Stevens remains a difficult poet, whose notorious injunction - 'Poetry must resist the intelligence almost successfully' - seems to haunt all his work, and especially the long poems. This study presents a close reading of Stevens' seven longest poems: 'The Comedian as ...

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Overview

Wallace Stevens is a fascinating and enigmatic poet; the vice-president of an insurance company, a corporate lawyer, an expert on the bond market, and, almost incidentally, one of America's greatest poets. Despite the many books written about him, Stevens remains a difficult poet, whose notorious injunction - 'Poetry must resist the intelligence almost successfully' - seems to haunt all his work, and especially the long poems. This study presents a close reading of Stevens' seven longest poems: 'The Comedian as the letter C', 'Owl's Clover', 'The Man with the Blue Guitar', 'Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction', 'Esthétique du Mal', 'The Auroras of Autumn' and 'An Ordinary Evening in New Haven'. Dr Patke argues for the centrality of the long poem in Stevens' oeuvre, and of Stevens to the poetic and cultural heritage of modern times. Extensive reference is made to the shorter poems, prose and correspondence, and to the possible influences on the poetry. Critical jargon and theorising are kept at a minimum so that the pleasures of Stevens' poetic world can be made accessible to as wide a range of readers as possible.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521115131
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/2/2009
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

List of tables and figures; Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; Introduction; 1. The Comedian as the Letter C; 2. Owl's Clover; 3. The Man with the Blue Guitar; 4. Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction; 5. Esthetique Du Mal; 6. The Auroras of Autumn; 7. An Ordinary Evening in New Haven; Conclusion; Notes; References; Index.

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