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Book Review: The New Wallace Stevens Studies

6 December 2021

Domonique Davies, University of Reading

The New Wallace Stevens Studies, Edited by Bart Eeckhout and Gül Bilge Han, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Wallace Stevens’s well-known adage, ‘It Must Change’, has been continually reflected on through critical discussions of his work.[1]  Over the last twenty years, socio-political movements have been echoed in literary criticism, with the development and expansion of ecocritical studies, queer studies, and re-evaluations of imperialism and colonialism. The New Studies in Wallace Stevens signals that it is time to effect change in Stevens studies and reevaluate his works and thought. As Bart Eeckhout comments in his chapter on Stevens and Queer Studies, ‘there may be some value in attempting to redraw a number of circles around Stevens’ (p. 178). Even so, while a paradigm of fresh perspectives is set out in this text, it is not without remembrance of how Stevens criticism has evolved, and a particular strength of the contributions is the acknowledgement of key work by Helen Vendler, J. Hillis Miller, Frank Lentricchia, and Alan Filreis, helping to situate the development of Stevens studies over the years.

Continue reading “Book Review: The New Wallace Stevens Studies”

Book Review: Ecological Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’s Birds

1 September 2021

Sean SeegerUniversity of Essex

Cary Wolfe, Ecological Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’s Birds (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020)

Cary Wolfe’s Ecological Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’s Birds (2020) may be read as a continuation of the critical project he began in What is Posthumanism? (2010), one of the most widely cited texts on posthumanism to date. While familiarity with that earlier work isn’t a prerequisite for understanding Ecological Poetics, reading or rereading Posthumanism before beginning is certainly advantageous. Although Wolfe generally avoids the baroque excesses of some theory-heavy work in literary studies, his complex argument does presuppose a degree of familiarity with his theory of the posthuman in order to be fully appreciated. Continue reading “Book Review: Ecological Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’s Birds”

Wallace Stevens’s ‘Photo-Poetics’: A Short Introduction to Modernism and Photosynthesis

Jasmine McCrory (Queen’s University Belfast)

In an 1899 journal entry, Wallace Stevens considered the value of ‘art for art’s sake’:

Art for art’s sake is both indiscreet and worthless. It opposes the common run of things by simply existing alone and for its own sake, because the common run of things are all parts of a system […]. Take therefore a few specific examples, such as the sun which is certainly beautiful and mighty enough to withstand the trivial adjective artistic. But its beauty is incidental […] the real use of [a star’s] beauty (which is not their excuse) is that it is a service, a food.[1] 

Continue reading “Wallace Stevens’s ‘Photo-Poetics’: A Short Introduction to Modernism and Photosynthesis”

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