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Things Merely Are: Philosophy in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens Hardcover – April 19, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0415356305 ISBN-10: 041535630X

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (April 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 041535630X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415356305
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,832,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'things merely are is very much a manifesto that aims to break the frame of philosophical thinking within the English-speaking tradition. And in the bargain Critchley gives us a fresh reading of Wallace Steven's work that academic literary criticism desperately needs. My hope is that this book is not just a one-trick pony but the opening of a philosophical investigation into literary modernism' Notre Dame Philosophical Review

About the Author

Simon Critchley is Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York and at the University of Essex. He is the author of many books, including Very Little ... Almost Nothing and On Humour, both published by Routledge.

More About the Author

Simon Critchley is Chair of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York and part-time Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands. He lives in Brooklyn.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 44 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Weil on April 4, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The rationale for this Amazon review stems from the fact that Amazon recommended "Things Merely Are" by Simon Critchley and I bit. But it turned out that this short volume is well-written, even lucid,[his choice of audience extends beyond the academy]and focuses on the inverse relationship of imagination and reality as found in "The Snowman":"Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is." Critchley has a strong reading of Stevens and develops a theory of how poetry works which has a clarity unknown to H Bloom in "The Poems of Our Climate." "Things Merely Are" is a from my perspective a welcome addition to the conversation about Stevens and is of the quality produced by Helen Vendler.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Otto Wood on March 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read Stevens' letters. I've read "The Necessary Angel." I've read Vendler and tried to read Bloom. I've even made it partway through Richardson's dense two-volume biography. And, of course, I've read the poems--over and over and over for forty years. This book comes the closest to describing exactly what's going on in Stevens' mind. Critchley's analysis brings everything into focus for me. I knew Critchley was on the right track after reading his first chapter, which is nothing less than a crib sheet of Stevens' brain. Furthermore, it's full of penetrating questions such as this: "What is it about the particular meditative poetic form that [Stevens] developed that is able to carry genuine philosophical weight and yet which is impossible to translate into prose?" Critchley devotes much of the book to solving this riddle.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By stephen on August 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a good book, but short : the first 90 pages are about Stevens but the remaining 20, the films of Terrence Malick are discussed.
(Keats or Shelley would have said that I had paid for a pamphlet only ... at nearly 30 bucks, Byron would have laughed)

But it's useful because some points are made which Helen Vendler does not make even in her Introduction to her 'Extended Wings' book. (You'd think that she'd have covered everything, there, wouldn't you ... even when she says in her shorter tome 'Words Chosen Out Of Desire' that Stevens's titles do not have any semantic relation to a poem's actual content. (Well, glory be !)
(Actually, I have only read recently, that WS thought that he did title his poems semantically true to the content.)

Critchley uses general words, like 'anti-realism' : Stevens's philosophical position cannot be 'assimilated to ...' he says ; he thinks, too, that Romanticisms are a fallback to failures, (my words) and that R. is the folly of private sexual intimidations, (my words, again, but I reckon C. means as much.
PS he does mention 'anxious atheisms' too)
His book is best read in collaboration with the best - as all books on Stevens must, I reckon : Vendler, as mentioned, plus Longenbach's Historicist version (that is, if you want politics posing as analysis - but that book is still not a bad one) and perhaps Frank Kermode as an introduction ... but I like George Lensing's, 'A Poet's Growth'. It's clear and distinct ... and it tells me why Robert Frost is, really, as good a poet.
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