This unique essay collection considers the impact of New York on the life and works of Wallace Stevens. Stevens lived in New York from 1900 to 1916, working briefly as a journalist, going to law school, laboriously starting up a career as a lawyer, getting engaged and married, gradually mixing with local avant-garde circles, and eventually emerging as one of the most exciting and surprising voices in modern poetry. Although he then left the city for a job in Hartford, Stevens never saw himself as a Hartford poet and kept gravitating toward New York for nearly all things that mattered to him privately and poetically: visits to galleries and museums, theatrical and musical performances, intellectual and artistic gatherings, shopping sprees and gastronomical indulgences.
Recent criticism of the poet has sought to understand how Stevens interacted with the literary, artistic, and cultural forces of his time to forge his inimitable aesthetic, with its peculiar mix of post-romantic responses to nature and a metropolitan cosmopolitanism. This volume deepens our understanding of the multiple ways in which New York and its various aesthetic attractions figured in Stevens’ life, both at a biographical and poetic level.
Table of Contents
Selected Contents: Introduction: Back at the Waldorf? Lisa Goldfarb and Bart Eeckhout 1. Stevens and New York: The Long Gestation George S. Lensing 2. "My Head Full of Strange Pictures": Stevens in the New York Galleries Bonnie Costello 3. "The Whispering of Innumerable Responsive Spirits": Stevens’ New York Music Lisa Goldfarb 4. Stevens Dancing: "Something Light, Winged, Holy" Barbara M. Fisher 5. The Invisible Skyscraper: Stevens and Urban Architecture Bart Eeckhout 6. On Stevensian Transitoriness Axel Nesme 7. Stevens and Henry James: The New York Connection Glen MacLeod 8. "Unless New York Is Cocos": Stevens, New York, and the Discourse of Disappointment Juliette Utard 9. Bourgeois Abstraction: Gastronomy, Painting, Poetry, and the Allure of New York in Early to Late Stevens Edward Ragg Coda: Wallace Stevens of the New York School Alan Filreis
Lisa Goldfarb is Associate Dean and Associate Professor at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and President of The Wallace Stevens Society and Associate Editor Elect of The Wallace Stevens Journal.
Bart Eeckhout is Associate Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Antwerp, Belgium and Editor Elect of The Wallace Stevens Journal.