Fall 1959 • Vol. XXI No. 4 NonfictionOctober 1, 1959 |

Absence in Reality: A Study in the Epistemology of the Blue Guitar

Wallace Stevens once wrote, "It is absurd to wince at being called a romantic poet. Unless one is that, one is not a poet at all." (O.P. 252.) Again "It is in the sense of living intensity, living singularity that [the romantic] is the vital element in poetry."2 Stevens himself may be classified as a neo-romantic. One might, I think, argue that in him the spirit of romanticism purified itself and discarded many historical accidents: among these, traditional lip service to the philosophy of Platonism considered unplatonically as a system of orthodoxy. Like all romanticists, Stevens found Platonism fascinating, but he was quite conscious of the fact that this philosophy must suffer a sea-change in our modern consciousness. Thus "Sunday Morning" is a 20th Century "Intimations" ode, truly Wordsworthian in spirit yet tempered by our modern suspicion of things supernatural. In this poem Stevens celebrates, as eloquently as any of the romantics, our participation in the goings--on of natur

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