Title

Wallace Stevens and the Mode of the Ordinary

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-2008

Department

English

Language

English

Publication Title

Twentieth-Century Literature

Abstract

No twentieth-century poet attended more to daily routine than did Wallace Stevens. From a 1927 letter that outlines his schedule (Collected 941) to a 1955 message in which he describes "trying to pick up old habits," from the "Exchequering" (34) quotidian of "The Comedian as the Letter C" to the recurrent daily syllables of "The World as Meditation" (442), ordinary patterns are vital to both his life and his art. Stevens sometimes struggled with diurnal repetition and sometimes tried to escape it, but he never took such regularity for granted; in his writing and living, he would redeem rather than evade quotidian necessity. Through this effort he realizes a vital philosophical possibility: his ordinary rounds provide a response to dualism that resists idealist and empiricist extremes.

Comments

For more information about the published version, visit Duke University Press's Website.

DOI

10.1215/0041462X-2008-2005

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