Literary Criticism

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Wallace Stevens

Rage for Order

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This revisionary study of Wallace Stevens queries the dominant interpretations of the poet’s career. It redirects the reader’s attention to the neglected achievement of Stevens’ first book, Harmonium (1923), and examines the pluralism of these early poems in the context of current critical revaluations of modernisms.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-902210-33-9
Hardback Price: £49.50 / $69.50
Release Date: October 1999
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Foreword by Professor Geoff Ward

I “the people who don’t know”: the British and Stevens
II Stevens and Stevensians

Chapter One: Harmonium to Ideas of Order
I “a book too mad to read”?: Harmonium
II “A Pluralistic Universe”: Harmonium
III From Comedian to Virile Poet: Ideas of Order

Chapter Two: Parts of a World
I “the never-resting mind”
II “the hero-land”
III “trying to put the thing together”

Chapter Three: Notes and Supreme Fictions

I “Extracts from Addresses”: Stevens’ Prose in a Time of War
II Grand Poem and Preliminary Minutiae: “Notes toward a Supreme Fiction”
III “things of opposite nature”: “Notes toward a Supreme Fiction”

Chapter Four: “an end of the imagination”
I “the far ends of memory”: Stevens and Thomas MacGreevy
II “Farewell to an Idea”: The Auroras of Autumn to The Rock

I “What Then?”: The Late Poems of Stevens and Yeats
II “a return to an origin”: Placing Stevens’ Late Poems

Works Cited
Index of Works
Index of Names

This is the most useful and fascinating reassessment of Stevens to have emerged for some years.
Irish Journal of American Studies

A lively, highly intelligent approach… a challenging reminder that Stevens’s idiosyncratic approach to poetry, his particular poetic gift, and his exposure to various artists and artistic philosophies in the early 20th century, set him apart from the best of his contemporaries. Strongly recommended.

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