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Journal of Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry

Volume 6, Issue 14, Winter 2011

Áine Kelly
Pages 16-29

“A Mind of Winter”
The Poetic Form of Stevens’ Philosophy

Of the major modernist poets, T.S. Eliot received the most extended academic training in philosophy, yet it is Wallace Stevens whose work has been most scrutinized from a philosophical perspective. Attempting to highlight those salient features which facilitate or advance philosophical thought, I question whether there is a significant development (between his first volume of poetry, Harmonium [1923], and his final volume, The Rock [1954]), of Stevens’ philosophical voice. Continuing with an analysis of the most recent and influential attempts to read Stevens’ poetry philosophically (Simon Critchley’s Things Merely Are [2005], Stanley Cavell’s “Reflections on Wallace Stevens at Mount Holyoke” [2006] and Gregory Brazeal’s “Wallace Stevens’ Philosophical Evasions” [2007]), I argue that these readings raise interesting questions not only about philosophical poetry but about philosophical form as it is traditionally perceived.