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Philosophy

Philosophy

Gregory Brazeal

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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.