Summer 1952 • Vol. XIV No. 3 Book Reviews |

The Critical Angel

The Necessary Angel: Essays on Reality and the Imagination by Wallace Stevens. Knopf. $3.00. In his introduction to these essays, Wallace Stevens says all but one "were written to be spoken, and that affects their character." He leaves it to us to see how; if my guess is right, it is in the same manner as his poetry is affected, with respect to the development of ideas; and it is a different effect than one might expect. The development is less rather than more explicit and systematic. He will, for example, lead up obliquely to the statement of a theme in a striking phrase, then weave around it in a free association of ideas and phrases, or simply leave it to form its own nexus in his hearer's mind and go directly to the statement of counter-subjects in a condensed fugal pattern. Then the one or the several themes will recur every few pages, exploiting the associations which have arisen, leading them into relation with new themes, building a complex harmony of sounds and ideas.

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A Plea for the Essay

By R. P. Blackmur

The Necessary Angel: Essays on Reality and the Imagination by Wallace Stevens. Knopf. $3.00. In his introduction to these essays, Wallace Stevens says all but one "were written to be […]

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