"Longenbach has crafted a strong personal interpretation of Stevens' poetry that deserves a place among the half-dozen major studies of Stevens on our shelves."--Wallace Stevens Journal
"An intelligent in-depth study."--Ken Norris, University of Maine
"Deftly mixes biography and criticism....Longenbach himself writes a plain, clear prose, which keeps his arguments refreshingly clear."--Washington Post Book World
"In convincingly linking Stevens' work with world events and movements, Longenbach may succeed in stripping some of the otherworldly aura from Stevens' work and encourage even non-academics to listen more closely to the blue guitar."--Hartford Courant
"Closely reasoned, clearly recited, Mr. Longenbach's purposes are severe and designed: he would read Stevens with the undistracted assumption that, as the poet said at the end, 'there is a conflict, there is a resistance involved.' This comes to no less, and no worse, than proposing against
the three famous stipulations for a Supreme Fiction (pleasure, change, abstraction), three ulterior demands for responses to pain, sameness, plain sense. Ransacking (and often overruling) a whole library of critics and biographers, though always with amenity, Longenbach tenably proposes a Stevens on the wrong side of Paradise, and reminds us as he proceeds that we now read our greatest (twentieth-century American) poet as we have learned to read Dante, against the grain of his ideas and his time, treasuring, at last, the contingencies we once thought it was such a glory to transcend. Per astra ad ardua
About the Author
James Longenbach is at University of Rochester.