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26 June, 2013

Wallace Stevens
Suggested Reading



Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens
(Wallace Stevens )
The definitive poetry collection, originally published in 1954 to honor Stevens on his 75th birthday

Letters of Wallace Stevens
(Wallace Stevens, Holly Stevens (Editor), Richard Howard (Introduction) )
Long unavailable, now in paperback for the first time, these are the brilliant, subtle, illuminating letters of one of the great poets of the twentieth century. Stevens's famous criterion for poetry"It should give pleasure"informed his epistolary aesthetic as well; these letters stimulate one's appetite for poetry as they valorize the imagination and the senses. They also offer fascinating glimpses of Stevens as family man, insurance executive, connoisseur, and friend.

Wallace Stevens : A Literary Life
(Tony Sharpe )
Wallace Stevens, one of this century's foremost American poets, has been both praised and blamed for the 'difficulty' of his poems, and has bemused those seeking to reconcile the sobriety of his career as an insurance lawyer with the extravagance of his poetry. Tony Sharpe explores the symbiotic and antagonistic relations between Stevens's literary life and his working life as a senior executive, outlining the personal, historical and publishing contexts which shaped his writing career, and suggesting how awareness of these contexts throws new light on the poems."--

Wallace Stevens : The Plain Sense of Things
(James Longenbach )
Wallace Stevens the poet and Wallace Stevens the insurance executive: for more than one critical generation it has seemed as if these two men were unacquainted--that Stevens was a poet who existed only in the rarefied world of language. However, the idea that Stevens lived a double life, the author maintains, is misleading. This compelling book uncovers what Stevens liked to think of as his "ordinary" life, a life in which the demands of politics, economics, poetry, and everyday distractions coexisted, sometimes peacefully and sometimes not. Examining the full scope of Stevens's career (from the student-poet of the nineteenth century to the award-winning poet of the Cold War years), Longenbach reveals that Stevens was not only aware of events taking place around him, but often inspired by those events. The major achievements of Stevens's career are shown to coalesce around the major historical events of his lifetime (the Great Depression and two World Wars); but Longenbach also dwells on Stevens's two extended periods of poetic silence, exploring the crucial aspects of Steven's life that were not exclusively poetic. Longenbach demonstrates that through Stevens's work in surety law he was far more intimately acquainted with legal and economic concerns than most poets, and he consequently thought deeply about the strengths--and, equally important, the limitations--of poetry as a social product and force.

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