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Modern Literature Commons

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Full-Text Articles in Modern Literature

Wallace Stevens' Philosophical Evasions, Gregory Brazeal Jan 2007

Wallace Stevens' Philosophical Evasions, Gregory Brazeal

Gregory Brazeal

How could thought ever benefit from being formed in poetic language rather than philosophical prose? This essay attempts to clarify a single, relatively narrow respect in which poetry can perform philosophical work that prose, as such, cannot: the evasion of philosophical dogmatism through Stevensian qualification. What Helen Vendler in an early essay calls Stevens’ “qualified assertions,” and what Marjorie Perloff calls Stevens’ “ironic modes," are the basic techniques of Wallace Stevens' anti-dogmatic art.


The Alleged Pragmatism Of T.S. Eliot, Gregory Brazeal Jan 2006

The Alleged Pragmatism Of T.S. Eliot, Gregory Brazeal

Gregory Brazeal

Before gaining recognition as a poet, T.S. Eliot pursued a doctoral degree in philosophy. His dissertation on the philosophy of F.H. Bradley has been a source of longstanding critical dispute. Some read the dissertation as a defense of Bradley’s views, while others read it as a repudiation of Bradley in favor of a kind of American philosophical pragmatism. This essay considers whether the dissertation can be properly characterized as pragmatist, despite Eliot’s enthusiastic and repeated dismissals of William James’ philosophy of truth. Eliot comes closest to a Jamesian view of belief when he writes of the ...