The Poetic Bliss of the Re-described Reality: Wallace Stevens: Poetry, Philosophy, and the Figurative Language

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18778/2083-2931.10.23

Keywords:

metaphor, philosophy, poetry, re-configuration, Wallace Stevens

Abstract

The article addresses the issue of the intimate but troublesome liaison between philosophy and literature—referred to in scholarship as “the ancient quarrel between poets and philosophers.” Its aim is double-fold. First, it traces the interweaving paths of philosophical and literary discourse on the example of Wallace Stevens’s oeuvre. It demonstrates that this great American modernist advocates a clear distinction between poetry and philosophy on the one hand, but draws on and dramatizes philosophical ideas in his poems on the other. The vexing character of his poetic works exemplifies the convoluted and inescapable connections between philosophy and poetry. Second, it discusses various approaches to metaphor, highlighting Stevens’s inimitable take on it. The diverse ways of tackling metaphorical language cognize metaphor’s re-descriptive and reconfiguring character. They embrace e.g., Stevens’s concept of metaphor as metamorphosis, or as “resemblance rather than imitation.” The to date interpretations of Stevens’s poetry in the light of a whole host of philosophies yield important insights into the meaningful interconnections between poetry and philosophy. However, rather than offering another interpretation of his poems from a given philosophical angle, the versatile voices presented here interrogate what poetry consists in.

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Author Biography

Małgorzata Hołda, University of Lodz

Małgorzata Hołda, PhD in British literature (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń 2006), PhD in philosophy with distinction for dissertation: Paul Ricœur’s Concept of Subjectivity and the Postmodern Claim of the Death of the Subject (The Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow), published with Ignatianum University Press, 2018. She has been Junior Associate Fellow of the International Institute for Hermeneutics in Freiburg since 2014. She conducts interdisciplinary research in Anglophone literature and philosophy, exploring topics within modern and postmodern novel, philological and philosophical hermeneutics, phenomenology and postmodern philosophy. Her most recent research concerns Virginia Woolf ’s and Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutics of the beautiful, as well as Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutics of l’homme capable, and subjectivity. Her publications foster an understanding of hermeneutics as a mode of being.

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Published

2020-11-24

How to Cite

Hołda, M. (2020). The Poetic Bliss of the Re-described Reality: Wallace Stevens: Poetry, Philosophy, and the Figurative Language. Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture, (10), 423-432. https://doi.org/10.18778/2083-2931.10.23