Things Merely Are: Philosophy in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens

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Overview

"This book is an invitation to read poetry. Simon Critchley argues that poetry enlarges life with a range of observation, power of expression and attention to language that eclipses any other medium. In an extended engagement with the poetry of Wallace Stevens, Critchley reveals that poetry also contains deep and important philosophical insight. Above all, he argues for a 'poetic epistemology' that enables us to recast the philosophical problem of the relation between mind and world, or thought and things, in a way that allows us to cast the problem away." Drawing on Kant, the German and English Romantics and Heidegger, Critchley argues that, through its descriptions of particular things and their difficult plainness, poetry evokes the 'mereness' of things. Poetry brings us to the realization that things merely are, an experience that provokes a mood of calm, a calm that allows the imagination to press back against the pressure of reality. Critchley also argues that this calm defines the cinematic eye of Terrence Malick, whose work is discussed at the end of the book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415356312
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 4/19/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,024,373
  • Product dimensions: 5.06 (w) x 7.81 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Simon Critchley is Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York and at the University of Essex. He is the author of many books, including Very Little ... Almost Nothing and On Humour, both published by Routledge.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations of works by Wallace Stevens
1 Or so we say - twenty-one propositions 9
2 Poetry, philosophy and life as it is 15
3 Sudden rightnesses 33
4 Wallace Stevens's intimidating thesis 45
5 The twofold task of poetry 57
6 The thing itself and its seasons 61
Afterword : calm - on Terrence Malick 91
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