A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens

Princeton University Press
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Wallace Stevens is one of the major poets of the twentieth century, and also among the most challenging. His poems can be dazzling in their verbal brilliance. They are often shot through with lavish imagery and wit, informed by a lawyer's logic, and disarmingly unexpected: a singing jackrabbit, the seductive Nanzia Nunzio. They also spoke--and still speak--to contemporary concerns. Though his work is popular and his readership continues to grow, many readers encountering it are baffled by such rich and strange poetry.

Eleanor Cook, a leading critic of poetry and expert on Stevens, gives us here the essential reader's guide to this important American poet. Cook goes through each of Stevens's poems in his six major collections as well as his later lyrics, in chronological order. For each poem she provides an introductory head note and a series of annotations on difficult phrases and references, illuminating for us just why and how Stevens was a master at his art. Her annotations, which include both previously unpublished scholarship and interpretive remarks, will benefit beginners and specialists alike. Cook also provides a brief biography of Stevens, and offers a detailed appendix on how to read modern poetry.

A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens is an indispensable resource and the perfect companion to The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens, first published in 1954 in honor of Stevens's seventy-fifth birthday, as well as to the 1997 collection Wallace Stevens: Collected Poetry and Prose.

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About the author

Eleanor Cook is Professor Emerita of English at the University of Toronto. Her books include Enigmas and Riddles in Literature, Against Coercion: Games Poets Play, and Poetry, Word-Play, and Word-War in Wallace Stevens (Princeton).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Mar 9, 2009
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781400827640
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Poetry
Poetry / American / General
Poetry / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Eleanor Cook
In the first full-length study of Wallace Stevens's word-play, Eleanor Cook focuses on Stevens's skillful play with grammar, etymology, allusion, and other elements of poetry, and suggests ways in which this play offers a method of approaching his work. At the same time, this book is a general study of Stevens's poetry, moving from his earliest to his latest work, and includes close readings of three of his remarkable long poems--Esthetique du Mal, Notes toward a Supreme Fiction, and An Ordinary Evening in New Haven. The chronological arrangement enables readers to follow Stevens's increasing skill and changing thought in three areas of his "poetry of the earth": the poetry of place, the poetry of eros, and the poetry of belief.

Poetry, Word-Play, and Word-War in Wallace Stevens shows how, in setting words at play and in conflict, Stevens could upset the usual relations of rhetoric, grammar, and dialectic, and thus the book contributes to the current debate about logical and a-logical uses of language. Cook also places Stevens within the larger context of Western literature, hearing how he speaks to Milton, Keats, and Wordsworth; to such American forebears as Whitman, Emerson, and Dickinson; and to T. S. Eliot, his contemporary.

Originally published in 1988.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Eleanor Cook
In the first full-length study of Wallace Stevens's word-play, Eleanor Cook focuses on Stevens's skillful play with grammar, etymology, allusion, and other elements of poetry, and suggests ways in which this play offers a method of approaching his work. At the same time, this book is a general study of Stevens's poetry, moving from his earliest to his latest work, and includes close readings of three of his remarkable long poems--Esthetique du Mal, Notes toward a Supreme Fiction, and An Ordinary Evening in New Haven. The chronological arrangement enables readers to follow Stevens's increasing skill and changing thought in three areas of his "poetry of the earth": the poetry of place, the poetry of eros, and the poetry of belief.

Poetry, Word-Play, and Word-War in Wallace Stevens shows how, in setting words at play and in conflict, Stevens could upset the usual relations of rhetoric, grammar, and dialectic, and thus the book contributes to the current debate about logical and a-logical uses of language. Cook also places Stevens within the larger context of Western literature, hearing how he speaks to Milton, Keats, and Wordsworth; to such American forebears as Whitman, Emerson, and Dickinson; and to T. S. Eliot, his contemporary.

Originally published in 1988.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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