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The Supreme Fiction: Fiction or Fact?

Journal of Modern Literature, Vol. 31, pp. 80-100, 2007

21 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2011  

Gregory Brazeal

Cornell University

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

The article makes a case for giving up the quest to identify Wallace Stevens’ “supreme fiction.” The poet hoped to usher in the creation of an idea that would serve as a fictive replacement for the idea of God, known to be fictive but willfully believed. His hope has remained unfulfilled. By the poet’s own explicit standards, the supreme fiction does not appear in any of his poems, nor in his poetry as a whole, nor in poetry in general. The very idea of a supreme fiction may depend, at least in part, upon a problematic conception of belief drawn from a popular misreading of William James’ “The Will to Believe.”

Keywords: Wallace Stevens, supreme fiction, will to believe, religious belief, poetry

Suggested Citation

Brazeal, Gregory, The Supreme Fiction: Fiction or Fact? (2007). Journal of Modern Literature, Vol. 31, pp. 80-100, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1738590

Gregory Brazeal (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

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