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Luminous Traversing

Wallace Stevens and the American Sublime

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Jacek Gutorow

As Wallace Stevens once wrote, «a poem should be part of one’s sense of life». This book provides a record of readerly and critical explorations of the poems and life of the American poet. The author reads Stevens’s poems in the context of both the existing critical works and the commentaries provided by the poet himself (essays, letters, occasional notes and posthumous texts), and aims to prove that his artistic development was informed by two contradictory existential projects: teleological, based on Stevens’s assumption of a higher self which in its turn helps to illuminate the meaning and dynamics of the actual existence, and critical, appearing at the very moment when one questions his or her identity and assumes life to be an open and unfinished process.