Double Characters: James and Stevens on Poetry-Philosophy

Research in Phenomenology 44 (3):405-420 (2014)
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In this paper, I will explore how the work of Wallace Stevens constitutes a phenomenology that resonates strongly with that of William James. I will, first, explore two explicit references to James in the essays of Stevens that constitute a misrepresentation of a rather duplicitous quote from James’ personal letters. Second, I will consider Stevens’ little known lecture-turned-essay, “A Collect of Philosophy,” and the poem, “Large Red Man Reading,” as texts that are both about a conception of poetryphilosophy as well as being performances of poetry-philosophy. Finally, I will compare James’ and Stevens’ thought on the imagination, highlighting both form and content and the poetic-philosophical union or blend that makes possible those similarities.
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