An always incipient cosmos : a reading of Wallace Stevens

Deorksen, Leona Marie (1969) An always incipient cosmos : a reading of Wallace Stevens. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This study has grown out of a conviction that, despite Wallace Stevens's increasing stature among critics and the accompanying increase in the amount of critical literature being devoted to his poetry in recent years, there is still a need for full-length, detailed explications of individual poems. Consequently, I began to assemble a series of such explications. As the number of my readings grew and my understanding of the canon increased, I became convinced that Stevens's poetry has been slow in gaining acceptance not only because of its obscurity but because of the radical world-view it presents. My first chapter outlines this hypothesis and examines it in some detail. -- To support the idea it was necessary to present a comprehensive picture of the views resident in the canon and to present these not only in summary (since there is still considerable dispute over their exact nature) but through explication of a representative selection of poems. Thus, the main portion of the study, Chapters II to VI, is taken up with readings of items from The Collected Poems. These readings illustrate that the poetry demands an extension of our 'willing suspension of disbelief' to the point at which we acknowledge that belief in any logically consistent system of thought is a delusion, and that all such systems are falsifications of an ultimately incomprehensible reality. -- In the final chapter I examine the way in which evaluations of Stevens's poetry have frequently been influenced by an inability to accept a view so consistently devoted to the strange logic of contradiction. I suggest that such evaluations rest upon questionable criteria of value in poetry.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6996
Item ID: 6996
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 439-445.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1969
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Stevens, Wallace, 1879-1955--Criticism and interpretation

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