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The poetic of gaiety: Wallace Stevens's theories of the imagination

Tingsabadh, Charturee; (1995) The poetic of gaiety: Wallace Stevens's theories of the imagination. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis examines Stevens's evolving Modernist poetic: his thinking, both in poems and in explanatory prose, about the nature of poetic creativity, about the uses of language, and about the cultural function and value of poetry (what he called its 'gaiety'). The method adopted is two-fold: 1) an examination of the ways in which Stevens transformed Romantic and Symbolist poetic tradition, incorporating (often in a significantly modified form) concepts developed by Valery, Mauron, Focillon, Nietzsche, Whitehead, and Planck; 2) an assessment of the consequences of that incorporation for a critical understanding of poems written during each stage of his career. The thesis will trace the process by which concept becomes figure in the making of the poem, and is then reconceptualized in the act of reading. The thesis consists of four lengthy chapters, each divided into subsections. Chapter 1 considers Stevens's critics, and their understanding of the philosophical basis of his poetic. Chapter 2 discusses Stevens's conversion of the Romantic concept of joy from a privileged power of vision to the intensified power of abstraction and intensified play of language envisaged by Valery. Chapter 3 assesses Stevens's 'scientism' (his use of Mauron, Focillon and others) as an attempt to extend and strengthen the cultural claims of poetry, and compares it to that of contemporary poets like Eliot, Pound and Williams. Chapter 4 assesses Stevens's interest in Nietzsche's concept of gay science as an attempt to resolve the problem of belief in modern poetry.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The poetic of gaiety: Wallace Stevens's theories of the imagination
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097425
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