Abstract

This essay argues that the work of Wallace Stevens provides the most complex modernist account of the difficulties inherent in trying to write poetry within a secular imaginary. I argue that his poetry dramatizes three strategies of transition from a religious to a secular imaginary—the adaptation of, substitution for, and elimination of religious concepts—and the problems these strategies encounter. The essay focuses on Stevens's concern that poetry's characteristic manipulations of language—analogy, metaphor and symbol—continue to, through their intrinsic logic, generate religious experience, and in doing so thwart the poet's desired secularism. It examines his attempt to forge a secular poetic of tautology and his recognition of the impossibility of sustaining such a poetics.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 741-768
Launched on MUSE
2011-09-10
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.