Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Half Title, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xiv

Harmonium, Wallace Stevens's choice of title for his first volume of verse, introduces his poetry with a subtle elegance. It invites speculation and a search for its significance and origins. I do not wish, however, to speculate about its meaning or its relation to the poems. I would like to consider it before I read the poems, to ponder what it has to tell about a book not yet opened. ...

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xv-xvi

I thank the people who helped me as I shaped this book: James Guetti, who introduced me to the philosophy of Wittgenstein, made me obsess over word/music, and generally guided every step of the project; Andrew Welsh, who read the manuscript attentively and encouraged me to bring the book to its present form; ...

read more

1. Sound and Language

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-15

A book-length study on sound in the work of a single author may seem excessively narrow if not downright paradoxical. Normally, we consider sound in small fragments of prose or verse, and seldom do we feel inclined to follow its implications in a full piece, let alone a large part of a writer's work. Sound is usually of secondary interest, a poetic device among others that only rarely, and with some difficulty, ...

read more

2. Sound and Poetry

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 16-31

An approach designed to identify types of discourses in Wallace Stevens permits, besides a fresh understanding of his poems, a reconsideration of the role played by sound in both the production and the perception of meaning. Such a reconsideration seems the more necessary, as sound is virtually set aside not only by positivist approaches to language but by structuralism and deconstruction as well. ...

read more

3. Sense, Nonsense, and the Magic Word

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 32-51

The earliest comments on Wallace Stevens relate sound to nonsense in arguments that either directly compare him to Lewis Carroll1 or attempt to demonstrate that nonsense is only an unfulfilled possibility, a matter of flirtation. 2 Some time later, Stevens's flirtation with nonsense and his way of associating words on the basis of sound similarity ...

read more

4. The Aural Foundations of the Real

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 52-67

The reversal of what common sense perceives as a normal relation between language and reality is present in most of Stevens's poems. Yet as I tried to show at the end of chapter 3, privileging language over reality is only the first step toward changes that have to do not only with the surface of language but also with the underlying assumptions of its use. ...

read more

5. The Image of Sound

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 68-83

In the previous chapter I examined a couple of poems that reveal the paradoxes of linguistic representation by emphasizing the discrepancies between sensory images and the images created in or by means of language. The "real" of the common sense, which is supposed to be perceivable and expressible, vanishes into a created realm circumscribed by its self-imposed limits. ...

read more

6. Meaning and Repetition

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 84-98

The study of Stevens's discursive shifts, operated mostly through a patterning of sound, has brought us to an insight into what his philosophy might have been if he had ever articulated it as such. As Thomas Grey points out, Stevens shied away from constructing a philosophical system, but he was nonetheless haunted by philosophical questions: ...

read more

7. The Metaphysics of Sound

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 99-117

In the previous chapters, Wallace Stevens has emerged, somewhat in spite of himself, as a poet philosopher. His affiliations can be placed with either phenomenology or pragmatism. As far as philosophy is concerned, my readings may tilt the balance toward the latter rather than the former. Although I think that arguments like those of Thomas Hines or Paul Bové, ...

read more

8. "And if the music sticks"

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 118-137

So far I have shown how Stevens's special use of language affects basic concepts of classical philosophy. Yet his ultimate purpose, I think, is to find a place for poetry in modern life. In a more or less romantic tradition, common sense relates the idea of poetry to emotion, but Stevens's acute awareness of language and its functioning, ...

read more

9. The Poetics of Sound

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 138-158

Sound, for Stevens, proves to be one of the main instruments in transforming language into poetry. His poetry is aural in both the literal and the figurative senses, addressing the (mind's) ear rather than satisfying the (mind's) eye. This is probably why poetic discourse appears subversive of a whole tradition in philosophy, which had conceived of every mental activity in visual terms. ...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 159-172

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 173-178

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 179-180