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Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Week 14 | April 30 Questions are Remarks 394; Long and Sluggish Lines 442; A Quiet Normal Life 443; Final Soliloquy.

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Presentation on theme: "Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Week 14 | April 30 Questions are Remarks 394; Long and Sluggish Lines 442; A Quiet Normal Life 443; Final Soliloquy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Week 14 | April 30 Questions are Remarks 394; Long and Sluggish Lines 442; A Quiet Normal Life 443; Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour 444; The Planet on the Table 450; The River of Rivers in Connecticut 451; Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself 451; A Clear Day and No Memories 475; Of Mere Being 476; First Warmth 597; As You Leave the Room 597 Major Poem: The Rock 445 Philosopher of the Week: Maurice Merleau-Ponty Composer of the Week: Samuel Barber Painter of the Week: René Magritte

2 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Philosopher of the Week: Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( )

3 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( )

4 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( )

5 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( ) Visible and mobile, my body is a thing among things; it is caught in the fabric of the world, and its cohesion is that of a thing. But because it moves itself and sees, it holds things in a circle around itself. Things are an annex or prolongation of itself; they are encrusted into its flesh, they are part of its full definition; the world is made of the same stuff as the body. This way of turning things around, these antinomies, are different ways of saying that vision happens among, or is caught in, things in the place where something visible undertakes to see, becomes visible for itself by virtue of the sight of things; in that place where there persists, like the mother water in crystal, the undividedness of the sensing and the sensed. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, "Eye and Mind"

6 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( ) The Earth... which is not in motion like objective bodies, but not at rest either, since we cannot see what it could be "tacked on" to... is the "soil" or "stem" of our thought as it is of life. We shall certainly be able to move it or carry it back when we inhabit other planets, but the reason we shall is that then we shall have enlarged our native soil. We cannot do away with it. As the Earth is by definition one, all soil we tread upon becoming simultaneously a province of it, the living beings with whom the sons of the Earth will be able to communicate will simultaneously become meaner if you prefer, terrestrial men will become variants of a more general human community which will remain one. The Earth is the matrix of our time as it is of our space. Every constructed notion of time presupposes our proto-history as carnal being co-present to a single world. Every evocation of possible worlds refers to a way of seeing our own world. Every possibility is a variant of our reality, an effective possibility of reality.... Maurice Merleau-Ponty

7 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( ) One earthquake does more to demonstrate our vulnerability and mortality than the whole history of philosophy. Maurice Merleau-Ponty

8 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( ) One day, once and for all, something was set in motion which, even during sleep, can no longer cease to see or not to see, to feel or not to feel, to suffer or be happy, to think or rest from thinking, in a word to "have it out" with the world. There then arose, not a new set of sensations or state of consciousness, not even a new monad or a new perspective, since I am not tied to any one perspective, my point of view, being under compulsion only in that I must always have only one at once let us say, therefore, that there arose a fresh possibility of situations. The event of my birth has not passed completely away, it has not fallen into nothingness in the way that an event of the objective world does, for it committed a whole future, not as a cause determines its effect, but as a situation, once created, inevitably leads on to some outcome.... In the home into which a child is born, all objects change their significance; they begin to await some as yet indeterminate treatment at his hands; another and different person is there, a new personal history, short or long, has just been initiated, another account has been opened. My first perception, along with the horizons which surrounded it, is an ever-present event, an unforgettable tradition; even as a thinking subject, I still am that first perception, the continuation of that same life inaugurated by it. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception

9 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( ) Everything comes to pass... as though the physiology of vision did not succeed in closing the nervous functioning in upon itself, since movements of fixation, or convergence, are suspended upon the advent of the body of a visible world for which they were supposed to furnish the explanation, as though, through all these channels, all those prepared but unemployed circuits, the current that will traverse them was rendered probable, in the long run inevitable; the current making of the embryo a newborn infant, of a visible a seer, and of a body a mind, or at least a flesh. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible

10 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( ) Thinking "operationally" has become a sort of absolute artificialism, such as we see in the ideology of cybernetics, where human creations are derived from a natural information process, itself conceived on the model of human machines. If this kind of thinking were to extend its reign to man and history; if, pretending to ignore what we know of them through our own situations, it were to set out to construct man and history on the basis of a few abstract indices (as a decadent psychoanalysis and a decadent culturalism have done in the United States)then, since man really becomes the manipulandum he takes himself to be, we enter into a cultural regimen where there is neither truth nor falsity concerning man and history, into a sleep, or a nightmare, from which there is no awakening. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, "Eye and Mind"

11 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( ) [Painting] gives visible existence to what profane vision believes to be invisible; thanks to it we do not need a "muscular sense" in order to possess the voluminosity of the world. This voracious vision, reaching beyond the "visual givens," opens upon a texture of Being of which the discrete sensorial messages are only the punctuations or the caesurae. The eye lives in this texture as a man lives in his house. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, "Eye and Mind"

12 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( ) Thus science began by excluding all the predicates that come to the things from our encounter with them. The exclusion is however only provisional: when it will have learned to invest it, science, will little by little reintroduce what it first put aside as subjective; but it will integrate it as a particular case of the relations and objects that define the world for science. Then the world will close in over itself, and, except for what within us thinks and builds science, that impartial spectator that inhabits us, we will become parts or moments of the Great Object. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible

13 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( ) Science is and always has been that admirable, active, ingenious, and bold way of thinking whose fundamental bias is to treat everything as though it were an object-in-general... as though it meant nothing to us and yet was predetermined for our use. Maurice Merleau-Ponty

14 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Composer of the Week: Samuel Barber ( )

15 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Samuel Barber ( )

16 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Samuel Barber ( )

17 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Samuel Barber ( )

18 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Samuel Barber ( )

19 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Samuel Barber ( )

20 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Painter of the Week: René Magritte ( ) Magritte Quotes

21 Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

22 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque  Both responses to The Great War and the end of Enlightenment Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

23 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque  Both quintessential products of Modernism Modernism  Late 19 th to mid 20 th Century  Produced radically experimental (avant-garde) art: atonal music, Cubism, stream of consciousness fiction)  Anti-bourgeois and disdainful of popularity (Jarrell: “If you won’t read me, I will make sure you can’t”)  Succeeded by Postmodernism Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

24 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Dada  The name is intended to evoke baby talk.  A punk-like nose-thumbing at everything sacred.  An exemplary Dada event: a poetry reading in which a half dozen poets read their work simultaneously on stage. Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

25 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Dada Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism Fountain—Marcel Duchamp Duchamp Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase

26 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Surrealism  The name is intended to mean above/beyond realism Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

27 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Dada and Surrealism Surrealism  Greatly influenced by Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

28 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Surrealism “As beautiful as the chance encounter of an umbrella and a sewing machine on a dissecting table.”— Comte de Lautréamont (born in Montevideo Uruguay, 1846)— from Les Chants de Maldoror Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

29 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Dada and Surrealism Surrealism  Andre Breton (right): Surrealism’s “pope” Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

30 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Surrealism  An exemplary Surrealist activity: the exquisite corpse Wikipedia article on the exquisite corpse Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

31 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Salvador Dali ( ), Spanish Painter The only difference between myself and a madman is that I am not mad. Salvador Dali Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

32 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque I believe that the moment is near when, by a procedure of active paranoiac thought, it will be possible to systematize confusion and contribute to the total discrediting of the world of reality. --Salvador Dali Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

33 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Asked why he had a pet lobster (which the motorcycle-goggle- wearing Dali sometimes walked— with a leash—on the streets of Paris), he replied: “It doesn’t bark, and it knows the secrets of the deep.” Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

34 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

35 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism 1929 Un Chien Andalou

36 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Venus de Milo of the Drawers Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

37 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by Her Own Chastity Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

38 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Cannibalism in Autumn Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

39 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Persistence of Memory Asked why he was so fond of limp watches in his work, Dali replied: “Because they keep such good time.” Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

40 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque Soft Construction with Boiled Beans, Premonition of Civil War Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

41 ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque The Weaning of Furniture Nutrition Dada & Surrealism Dada & Surrealism

42 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens René Magritte: Perspicacity

43 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens René Magritte: The Therapeutist

44 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens René Magritte: Son of Man

45 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens René Magritte: Not to Be Reproduced

46 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens René Magritte: Personal Values

47 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens René Magritte The Treachery of Images

48 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens René Magritte: The Lovers

49 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens René Magritte: Time Transfixed

50 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens René Magritte: The Menaced Assassin

51 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Questions Are Remarks (394) In the weed of summer comes the green sprout why. The sun aches and ails and then returns halloo Upon the horizon amid adult enfantillages. Its fire fails to pierce the vision that beholds it, Fails to destroy the antique acceptances, Except that the grandson sees it as it is, Peter the voyant, who says, “Mother, what is that” – The object that rises with so much rhetoric, But not for him. His question is complete. It is the question of what he is capable. It is the extreme, the expert aetat. 2. He will never ride the red horse she describes. His question is complete because it contains His utmost statement. It is his own array, His own pageant and procession and display, As far as nothingness permits… Hear him. He does not say, “Mother, my mother, who are you,” The way the drowsy, infant, old men do.

52 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Long and Sluggish Lines (442) It makes so little difference, at so much more Than seventy, where one looks, one has been there before. Wood-smoke rises through the trees, is caught in an upper flow Of air and whirled away. But it has been often so. The trees have a look as if they bore sad names And kept saying over and over one same, same thing, In a kind of uproar, because an opposite, a contradiction, Has enraged them and made them want to talk it down. What opposite? Could it be that yellow patch, the side Of a house, that makes one think the house is laughing; Or these–escent–issant pre-personae: first fly, A comic infanta among the tragic drapings,

53 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Long and Sluggish Lines Babyishness of forsythia, a snatch of belief, The spook and makings of the nude magnolia?... Wanderer, this is the pre-history of February. The life of the poem in the mind has not yet begun. You were not born yet when the trees were crystal Nor are you now, in this wakefulness inside a sleep.

54 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens A Quiet Normal Life (443) His place, as he sat and as he thought, was not In anything that he constructed, so frail, So barely lit, so shadowed over and naught, As, for example, a world in which, like snow, He became an inhabitant, obedient To gallant notions on the part of cold. It was here. This was the setting and the time Of year. Here in his house and in his room, In his chair, the most tranquil thought grew peaked And the oldest and warmest heart was cut By gallant notions on the part of night- Both late and alone, above the crickets' chords, Babbling, each one, the uniqueness of its sound. There was no fury in transcendent forms. But his actual candle blazed with artifice.

55 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour (444) Light the first light of evening, as in a room In which we rest and, for small reason, think The world imagined is the ultimate good. This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous. It is in that thought that we collect ourselves, Out of all the indifferences, into one thing: Within a single thing, a single shawl Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth, A light, a power, the miraculous influence. Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves. We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole, A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous.

56 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour Within its vital boundary, in the mind. We say God and the imagination are one... How high that highest candle lights the dark. Out of this same light, out of the central mind, We make a dwelling in the evening air, In which being there together is enough.

57 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens The Planet on the Table (450) Ariel was glad he had written his poems. They were of a remembered time Or of something seen that he liked. Other makings of the sun Were waste and welter And the ripe shrub writhed. His self and the sun were one And his poems, although makings of his self, Were no less makings of the sun. It was not important that they survive. What mattered was that they should bear Some lineament or character, Some affluence, if only half-perceived, In the poverty of their words, Of the planet of which they were part.

58 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens The River of Rivers in Connecticut (451) There is a great river this side of Stygia Before one comes to the first black cataracts And trees that lack the intelligence of trees. In that river, far this side of Stygia, The mere flowing of the water is a gayety, Flashing and flashing in the sun. On its banks, No shadow walks. The river is fateful, Like the last one. But there is no ferryman. He could not bend against its propelling force. It is not to be seen beneath the appearances That tell of it. The steeple at Farmington Stands glistening and Haddam shines and sways.

59 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens The River of Rivers in Connecticut It is the third commonness with light and air, A curriculum, a vigor, a local abstraction... Call it, one more, a river, an unnamed flowing, Space-filled, reflecting the seasons, the folk-lore Of each of the senses; call it, again and again, The river that flows nowhere, like a sea.

60 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself (451) At the earliest ending of winter, In March, a scrawny cry from outside Seemed like a sound in his mind. He knew that he heard it, A bird's cry, at daylight or before, In the early March wind. The sun was rising at six, No longer a battered panache above snow... It would have been outside. It was not from the vast ventriloquism Of sleep's faded papier-mache... The sun was coming from the outside.

61 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself That scrawny cry--It was A chorister whose c preceded the choir. It was part of the colossal sun, Surrounded by its choral rings, Still far away. It was like A new knowledge of reality.

62 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens A Clear Day and No Memories (475) No soldiers in the scenery, No thoughts of people now dead, As they were fifty years ago, Young and living in a live air, Young and walking in the sunshine, Bending in blue dresses to touch something, Today the mind is not part of the weather. Today the air is clear of everything. It has no knowledge except of nothingness And it flows over us without meanings, As if none of us had ever been here before And are not now: in this shallow spectacle, This invisible activity, this sense.

63 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Of Mere Being (476) The palm at the end of the mind, Beyond the last thought, rises In the bronze décor, A gold-feathered bird Sings in the palm, without human meaning, Without human feeling, a foreign song. You know then that is not the reason That makes us happy or unhappy. The bird sings. Its feather shines. The palm stands at the edge of space. The wind moves slowly in the branches. The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

64 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens First Warmth (597) I wonder, have I lived a skeleton’s life, As a questioner about reality, A countryman of all the bones of the world? Now, here, the warmth I had forgotten becomes Part of the major reality, part of An appreciation of a reality; And thus an elevation, as if I lived With something I could touch, touch every way.

65 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens As You Leave the Room (597) You speak. You say: Today’s character is not A skeleton out of its cabinet. Nor am I. That poem about the pineapple, the one About the mind as never satisfied, The one about the credible hero, the one About summer, are not what skeletons think about. I wonder, have I lived a skeleton’s life, As a disbeliever in reality, A countryman of all the bones in the world? Now, here, the snow I had forgotten becomes

66 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens As You Leave the Room Part of a major reality, part of An appreciation of a reality And thus an elevation, as if I left With something I could touch, touch every way. And yet nothing has been changed except what is Unreal, as if nothing had been changed at all.

67 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens

68 Major Poem: The Rock (445) I. Seventy Years Later It is an illusion that we were ever alive, Lived in the houses of mothers, arranged ourselves By our motions in a freedom of air Regard the freedom of seventy years ago. It is no longer air. The houses still stand, Though they are rigid in rigid emptiness. Even our shadows, their shadows, no longer remain. The lives these lived in the mind are at an end. They never were... The sounds of the guitar Were not and are not. Absurd. The words spoken Were not and are not. It is not to be believed. The meeting at noon at the edge of the field seems like

69 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens An invention, an embrace between one desperate clod And another in a fantastic consciousness, In a queer assertion of humanity: A theorem proposed between the two— Two figures in a nature of the sun, In the sun’s design of its own happiness, As if nothingness contained a métier, A vital assumption, an impermanence In its permanent cold, an illusion so desired That the green leaves came and covered the high rock, That the lilacs came and bloomed, like a blindness cleaned Exclaiming bright sight, as it was satisfied, ln a birth of sight. The blooming and the musk Were being alive. an incessant being alive, A particular of being, that gross universe. The Rock

70 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens II. The Poem as Icon It is not enough to cover the rock with leaves. We must be cured of it by a cure of the ground Or a cure of ourselves, that is equal to a cure Of the ground, a cure beyond forgetfulness. And yet the leaves, if they broke into bud, If they broke into bloom. if they bore fruit, And if we ate the incipient colorings Of their fresh culls might be a cure of the ground. The fiction of the leaves is the icon Of the poem, the figuration of blessedness, And the icon is the man. The pearled chaplet of spring, The magnum wreath of summer, times autumn snood, The Rock

71 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Its copy of the sun, these cover the rock. These leaves are the poem, the icon and the man. These are a cure of the ground and of ourselves, In the predicate that there is nothing else. They bud and bloom and bear their fruit without change They are more than leaves that cover the barren rock. They bud the whitest eye, the pallidest sprout. New senses in the engenderings of sense, The desire to be at the end of distances, The body quickened and the mind in root. They bloom as a man loves, as he lives in love. They bear their fruit so that the year is known, As if its understanding was brown skin, The honey in its pulp, the final found, The plenty of the year and of the world. The Rock

72 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens In this plenty, the poem makes meanings of the rock, Of such mixed motion and such imagery That its barrenness becomes a thousand things And so exists no more. This is the cure Of leaves and of the ground and of ourselves. His words are both the icon and the man. III. Forms of the Rock in a Night-Hymn The rock is the gray particular of man’s life, The stone from which he rises up—and—ho, The step of the bleaker depths of his descents.... The rock is the stern particular of the air, The mirror of the planets, one by one, But through man’s eye, their silent rhapsodist, The Rock

73 Major American Writers: Wallace Stevens Turquoise the rock, at odious evening bright With redness that sticks fast to evil dreams; The difficult tightness of hall-risen day. The rock is the habitation of the whole, lts strength and measure, that which is near, point A In at perspective that begins again At B: the origin of the mango’s rind. It is the rock where tranquil must adduce Its tranquil sell, the main of things. the mind, The starting point of the human and the end, That in which space itself‘ is contained, the gate To the enclosure, day, the things illumined By day, night and that which night illumines, Night and its midnight-minting fragrances, Night‘s hymn of the rock, as in a vivid sleep. The Rock


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