ENGL 633-733-01

Major American Writers:

Wallace Stevens

T-R 1000 am -1220 pm

PH 303A

Dr. David Lavery

Professor and Chair

Department of English

Middle Tennessee State University 

"The acute intelligence of the imagination, the illimitable resources of its memory, its power to possess the moment it perceives--if we were speaking of light itself, and thinking of the relationship between objects and light, no further demonstration would be necessary. Like light, it adds nothing, except itself."
--Wallace Stevens, "The Figure of the Youth as Virile Poet"

They will get it straight one day at the Sorbonne,
We shall return at twilight from the lecture
Pleased that the irrational is rational,
Until flicked by feeling, in a gildered street,
I call you by name, my green, my fluent mundo.
You will have stopped revolving except in crystal.
--"Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction"


Class format. We will follow a lecture/discussion format during most class meetings. Manuscript form. All assignments must be typewritten/word-processed (one side only, double spaced). Class participation and involvement. I encourage you to become an active participant in class discussion and to ask constructive and meaningful questions at all times--even when I appear to be "lecturing." Please do not save your best questions / comments for after class, as students so often do. Conferences. I will be available throughout the semester for conferences. Please feel free to come by and talk about your work or about the course in general. Attendance. Regular attendance is essential to the ongoing progress of the course. One unexcused absence will be tolerated. Two may result in the loss of one letter grade; three or more may result in a failing grade. Plagiarism. The unacknowledged use of the words/ideas/ insights/ original research of another is, of course, prohibited and will be severely punished.


Wk.   Date   Subject          Reading                          Assignment       

1A    6/7     "Feigning with                                                    

             The Strange                                                        

             Unlike": An                                                        

             Introduction to                                                    

             Wallace Stevens                                                    

1B    6/9    "The Geneva      "Adagia" (OP 184-202)                             

             School"          "The Noble Rider and the Sound                    

             approach;        of Words" (NA 1-36); "The                         

             Stevens and      Figure of the Youth as Virile                     

             Modern Poetry;   Poet" (NA 37-68)                                  

             Reading from                                                       

             American Life                                                      

             and Casualty                                                       

2A    6/14   Harmonium        "Invective Against Swans," "The                   

             (1923)           Paltry Nude," "The Plot Against                   

                              the Giant," "Domination of                        

                              Black," "The Snow Man," "Le                       

                              Monocle de Mon Oncle,"                            

                              "Metaphors of a Magnifico,"                       

                              "Sunday Morning"                                  

2B    6/16   Harmonium        "Ploughing on Sunday," "Fabliau                   

             (cont.)          of Florida," "The Doctor of                       

                              Geneva," "Another Weeping                         

                              Woman," "The Place of the                         

                              Solitaires," "The Curtains in                     

                              the House of the                                  

                              Metaphysician," "The Emperor of                   

                              Ice Cream," "To the One of                        

                              Fictive Music"                                    

3A    6/21   Harmonium        "Six Significant Landscapes,"                     

             (cont.)          "Anecdote of the Jar,"                            

                              "Tattoo," "Peter Quince at the                    

                              Clavier," "Sea Surface Full of                    

                              Clouds," "The Man Whose Pharynx                   

                              Was Bad," "Thirteen Ways of                       

                              Looking at a Blackbird"                           

3B    6/23   Harmonium        "The Comedian as the Letter C"                    


4A    6/28   Ideas of Order   "How to Live. What to Do," "The  Essay One Due    

             (1935)           Idea of Order at Key West,"                       

                              "The Sun This March, "Evening                     

                              Without Angels"                                   

4B    6/30   The Man with     "The Man With the Blue Guitar"                    

             the Blue Guitar                                                    



             tion: The Angel                                                    

             of 20th Century                                                    


5A    7/5    Parts of a       "Poetry is a Destructive                          

             World (1942)     Force," "Study of Two Pears,"                     

                              "The Glass of Water," "The Man                    

                              on the Dump," "On the Road                        

                              Home," "The Latest Freed Man,"                    

                              "Connoisseur of Chaos"                            

5B    7/7                     "Of Modern Poetry," "Woman                        

                              Looking at a Vase of Flowers,"                    

                              "The Well Dressed Man with a                      

                              Beard," "Mrs. Alfred Uruguay,"                    

                              "Asides on the Oboe," "Phosphor                   

                              Reading by His Own Light"                         
6A    7/12   Transport to     "The Motive for Metaphor," "So   Book Review Due  

             Summer (1947)    and So Reclining on Her                           

                              Couch,", "Chocorua to Its                         

                              Neighbor," "The Creations of                      

                              Sound," "Esthétique du Mal,"                      

                              "Less and Less Human, O Savage                    

                              Spirit," "The Pure Good                           

                              Theory," "A Word with Jose                        

                              Rodriquez-Feo," "Paisant                          

                              Chronicle," "Description                          

                              Without Place," "Man Carrying                     

                              Thing," "Adult Epigram,"                          

                              "Credences of Summer"                             

6B    7/14                    "Notes Toward a Supreme                           

                              Fiction"; "Effects of Analogy"                    

                              (NA 107-30)                                       

7A    7/19   The Auroras of   "The Auroras of Autumn," "Large                   

             Autumn (1950)    Red Man Reading," "The Solitude                   

                              of Cataracts," "Saint John and                    

                              the Back-Ache," "A Primitive                      

                              Like an Orb," "Metaphor as                        

                              Degeneration," "World Without                     

                              Peculiarty," "What We See is                      

                              What We Think"                                    

7B    7/21                    "An Ordinary Evening in New                       

                              Haven"; "Imagination as Value"                    

                              (NA 133-56)                                       

8A    7/26   The Rock (1954)  "The Plain Sense of Things,"     Essay Two Due    

                              "Madame la Fleurie," "The Poem                    

                              That Took the Place of a                          

                              Mountain," "Prologues to What                     

                              Is Possible," "The World as                       

                              Meditation," "Long and Sluggish                   

                              Lines," "A Quiet Normal Life,"                    

                              "Final Soliloquy of the                           

                              Interior Paramour," "The Rock,"                   

                              The Planet on the Table," "The                    

                              River of Rivers in                                

                              Connecticut," "Not Ideas About                    

                              the Things but the Thing                          


8B    7/28                    The Rock (continued)                              

9A    8/2    Presentations                                     Research         

                                                               Project Due      

9B    8/4    Presentations                                                      

      8/5    FINAL EXAM                                                         

Books on Wallace Stevens