Wallace Stevens' Philosophical Evasions

Gregory Brazeal

Cornell University

April 1, 2007

Wallace Stevens Journal Vol. 31, No.1, pp. 27-42, Spring 2007

How could thought ever benefit from being formed in poetic language rather than philosophical prose? This essay attempts to clarify a single, relatively narrow respect in which poetry can perform philosophical work that prose, as such, cannot: the evasion of philosophical dogmatism through Stevensian qualification. What Helen Vendler in an early essay calls Stevens’ “qualified assertions,” and what Marjorie Perloff calls Stevens’ “ironic modes," are the basic techniques of Wallace Stevens' anti-dogmatic art.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: Wallace Stevens, philosophy, poetry, qualified assertion, anti-dogmatism, Helen Vendler, Marjorie Perloff, G.P. Baker, Simon Critchley, The Ultimate Poem Is Abstract

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Date posted: July 27, 2011 ; Last revised: September 2, 2014

Suggested Citation

Brazeal, Gregory, Wallace Stevens' Philosophical Evasions (April 1, 2007). Wallace Stevens Journal Vol. 31, No.1, pp. 27-42, Spring 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1895883

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Gregory Brazeal (Contact Author)
Cornell University ( email )
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