Summer 1987 • Vol. IX No. 3 Book ReviewsJuly 1, 1987 |

The Shaping Imagination

Wallace Stevens: The Early Years 1879-1923 by Joan Richardson. Illustrated. New York: Beech Tree Books/William Morrow & Company, 1986. 591 pages. $21.95.   In her introduction to this first of the two volumes projected, Professor Richardson contends: "The development of Stevens's consciousness is as much a biography of America from 1879 to 1955 as it is of the poet who was integrally bound to his time and place." Stevens was indeed bound to his time and place. But his consciousness does not represent the nation of his years. "Poetry is the scholar's art," he inscribed in his notebook. But the scholars as makers of poetry and as readers were not in his time the historians of an American epoch. Richardson's claim for the life of Stevens is original, but unconvincing. The poetry of Stevens is the record of a unique imagination transforming reality through language, rendering the banality and the frequent bitterness of existence endurable through poetry, "a health," as he re

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Poetry and Gender

By Ellen Bryant Voigt

Wallace Stevens: The Early Years 1879-1923 by Joan Richardson. Illustrated. New York: Beech Tree Books/William Morrow & Company, 1986. 591 pages. $21.95.   In her introduction to this first of […]

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