Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Thanks are due to Eleanor Cook, whose support and encouragement from the early stages of this project have been invaluable. I owe a similar debt of gratitude to John Reibetanz and Linda Munk. I would also like to thank Professors Linda Hutcheon and Marlene...

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xvii

Why has it been possible to read Stevens as both an apocalyptic and an antiapocalyptic poet? Why has it been possible to read Stevens as both a (belated) romantic/modernist and as a poststructuralist/ postmodernist? These two questions, I hope to show, are intimately related. To take a stance toward apocalyptic discourse...

Abbreviations

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p. xix

Part I: Stevens and the End of War

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Chapter 1: Past Apocalypse

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pp. 3-25

It seems reasonable enough, given my subject, to begin with the End, or at least with Wallace Stevens’s attitudes toward the End. Quoted below are three passages that provide some sense of the specific lexical meanings Stevens attached to the words “apocalypse” and...

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Chapter 2: An Ever-Enlarging Inchoherence

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pp. 26-68

Stevens’s responses to the war in his poetry, essays, and letters bear witness to a remarkable complex of anxieties: anxieties about the near-apocalyptic scale of physical destruction; anxieties about the concomitant emergence of a new cultural and imaginative dispensation, one that...

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Chapter 3: What Could Not Be Shaken

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pp. 69-99

It should come as no surprise that Stevens’s concern with apocalyptic interpretations of the war and with the possibility that the war might produce a “radical break” with(in) literary and cultural history also marks the poetry written shortly before and after “The Noble Rider and the Sound...

Part II: Stevens and the Genres of the End

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Chapter 4: The Refuge That the End Creates

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pp. 103-133

Given the relationship outlined thus far between Stevens’s resistance to apocalyptic rhetoric and the fears aroused by World War II, one might expect the poems that emerged after the war to be relieved of the apocalyptic burden. Yet this is not the case, at least not in “Credences of Summer”...

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Chapter 5: Mournful Making

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pp. 134-166

Critics have commonly, and understandably, treated “Credences of Summer” and “The Auroras of Autumn” as contrastive companion pieces, a reading best encapsulated in Vendler’s sense of the “energy of repudiation” (Vendler, Extended 248) directed by the later poem against the earlier. But there may be a commonality...

Part III: Going after Apocalypse

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Chapter 6: Past Apocalypse, Past Stevens

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pp. 169-205

My readings of modern and postmodern stances toward apocalypse would be incomplete without some effort to test them in the work of at least one more recent poet. Jorie Graham’s oeuvre provides a particularly appropriate laboratory for such an experiment, even though her differences from Stevens, as this chapter shall demonstrate...

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Afterword

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pp. 206-217

I want to begin my conclusion by quoting from a response to an earlier article of my own—“Wallace Stevens’ ‘Puella Parvula’ and the ‘Haunt of Prophecy’”—that appeared in the Wallace Stevens Journal special issue entitled Approaching the Millennium: Stevens and Apocalyptic Language (23, no. 2, fall 1999). In his “Afterword: Last Words...

Notes

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pp. 219-231

Bibliography

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pp. 233-248

Index

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pp. 249-256