Thursday, 31 May 2012

New Wallace Stevens Poem

Wallace Stevens wrote what amounts to a new poem in the back flyleaf of his copy of I A Richards Coleridge on Imagination (1934), summarising what he took from what was, evidently, a detailed reading of this critical study:

14  affinities of the feelings with words and ideas 
24  Longinus26  imagination & values in nature
57  imagination & fancy
108 words as living, inexhaustible meanings 
137 the general disparagement of intellectual effort 
149 Plato’s “dear gorgeous nonsense” 
152 “The colours of Nature are a suffusion from the light of the mind” Doctrine 2 on p. 145 
157 The chief senses of Nature 
171 Mythologies 
220 a general drift .. in the West 
230 Poetry is the supreme use of language

Stevens copy of Richards’ Coleridge on Imagination is now in the Wallace Stevens Archive at the Huntingdon Library; these notes were transcribed by B J Leggett [‘Why It Must Be Abstract: Stevens, Coleridge and I. A. Richards’, Studies in Romanticism 22 (1983), 500-01].  Not only is this a new poem, it is a kind of synthesis of all Stevens poems.  He was, it seems, a much more Coleridgean poet than I realised.

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