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Letters of Wallace Stevens Paperback – December 24, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 929 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1st paperback edition (December 24, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520206681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520206687
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #948,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Six decades of correspondence by the bard of Hartford, Conn.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

An author's letters are often more revealing than their prose, or, in Stevens's case, their poetry, and are necessary study for a fuller understanding of the artist. In addition to numerous letters, this also includes entries from Stevens's journal and photos. This first paperback edition of the 1966 original contains a new foreword by poet/scholar Richard Howard.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
Not only are these letters to Harriet Monroe, William Carlos Williams, Allen Tate, Donald Hall, Robert Frost (and many others) fascinating and entertaining, but the comprehensive index makes it possible to find Stevens' own comments about and explanations of individual poems--for instance, his favorite poem was "The Emperor of Ice Cream"--and details about the circumstances in which they were composed. Not only does Stevens outline his evolving theory of poetry, he also expresses his opinions about contemporary art, music and more.
Readers that enjoy literary correspondence should also see One Art (the letters of Elizabeth Bishop).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Mitchell on April 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
For anyone interested in poetry, LETTERS OF WALLACE STEVENS should be essential reading. Along with Rilke's letters, it is the most fascinating book of correspondence by a twentieth-century writer: profound, witty, meticulous, at times funny, at times lyrical, and even in the duller letters written in a prose that is deliciously crisp and clear. It contains many explications of Stevens' own poems, important not only for understanding the poems but also as a way into the sometimes extremely strange imagination of one of our greatest poets.

These are also the letters of a man of integrity (a rare quality among poets, among human beings), and integrity always rejoices the heart. As a brief example, here are two statements Stevens made about his attitude toward poetry: "I write poetry because it is part of my piety: because, for me, it is the good of life, and I don't intend to lift a finger to advance my interest, because I don't want to think of poetry that way." "My state of mind about poetry makes me very susceptible and that is a danger in the sense that it would be so easy for me to pick up on something unconsciously. In order not to run that danger I don't read other people's poetry at all."

I have read this book at least ten times, and I now keep it at my bedside.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
If there is one poet who I think Stevens is most comparable to it is Keats. It has to do with their great musical quality, the richness of vocabulary and language, polyphonic beauty in their long lines. Keats' letters are among the greatest in the language and help define not only his own poetic practice, but make a real contribution to literary theory in general. Stevens' letters do illuminate various aspects of his art but they seem to me to be on a wholly different level entirely from the poetry. The banker- businessman- husband is a much more pedestrian soul than the poet. The Letters are of great value to any student or scholar of Stevens, but they are not on the literary level of his great poetry.

He was however or so I have the impression of from these letters a devoted father to his daughter. This at least gives a sense that the value of his life was not only in the great poetry he created.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By brian Jorgensen on June 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Got to be among the greatest letters of the 20th century (a few from earlier). If you like Stevens, you get a touching and impressive sense of the man here. And you learn.
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