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Wallace Stevens: The Poems of Our Climate Paperback – May 31, 1980

ISBN-13: 978-0801491856 ISBN-10: 0801491851 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (May 31, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801491851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801491856
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Teich on November 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Those of us who have bathed in the dazzling light of Bloom's exegeses of the Shakespeare plays will find on display in this volume a more obscure side of the great critic. The reader encounters here an earlier edition of Bloom, one who now expresses himself in sometimes tortuous prose and unwieldy language, now bludgeons rather than dissects. This Bloom has not yet gained his sure footing in the sparse, pithy prose of his more recent works which reveal him to be a master interpreter. Still, there is much here to admire; for Bloom shows us Steven's pedigree with marvelous clarity. Beginning with Emerson and proceeding to Whitman, Dickinson, Harte and others, Bloom illuminates Steven's debt to the rich provender on which he drew. (My own acquaintance with Emerson had languished since high school , but I soon found myself reading Emerson's superb essay on Shakespeare and Whitman's Leaves of Grass with a new eye.) Bloom shows how 'the American religion', an atheistic blending of respect for individual rights, power, will, and fate found their firm expression in Emerson and travelled onward to inform the poetry which followed, especially Stevens'. Bloom shows us how the tropes of fate, death, mother, and the sea wind through the years as each poet in turn struggles to express a uniquely American sense of meaning. True enough, Bloom fiddles too much with the technical bits, but he gives us a place from which to view Stevens' work so that we can now grasp why, as Bloom says, he was the greatest American poet of the 20th century- and perhaps of any century. Such favorites as The Auroras of Autumn, The Man with the Blue Guitar, The Emperor of Ice Cream and a score of others shine for us in a new light. Best of all, the reader carries with him the secret knowledge that despite these early slips,Bloom's brilliance will only grow.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bo K. on May 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Harold Bloom is probably my favorite critic, and Stevens one of the only 20th century poets in English I can bear to read without becoming hopelessly bored by the belatedness of the work. Bloom's book here is a close reading of the standard shorter and longer works of Stevens, and in so doing, Bloom shows how Steven's language and metaphor place him in the line of such Romantic poets as Keats, SHelly, and then of course, and most importantly, Whitman and Emerson. Emerson of course wrote rather weak poetry but his conception of the poet and his call for an American bard remain so strong today that very few poets/writers have the cognitive strength to deal with him. Most American writers fall back into the trope of nostalgia and flight (courtesy of Brockdon Brown); Stevens wrestled with this too, but his work ultimately stands in the orphic tradition of American poetry founded by Emerson, and whose strongest exemplars are of course Whitman and probably the Pan-American Pablo Neruda.

My only criticism of this book is that a) it does not address the great late poem "Sail of Ulysses," which is one of the most Emersonian poems in Steven's canon; further, b), Bloom's tone in this book, as compared with most of his others about the Romantic tradition, is not quite so strident. Some don't like Bloom at when he is strident, but I love his work the more he sounds like a high-toned Christian preacher in his Emersonian pulpit. However, it may be that Bloom is unable to rise to such heights in this book because, as great as Stevens is, he never truly defeated his agon with Emerson and Whitman; he never truly overcame his belatedness. Stevens came very near to doing so in his best work, but I am sorry to say that I think Stevens remains an ephebe to Emerson and Whitman.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By THUMBTOM on September 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
Harold Bloom, flowering from that shrub of academia that bears hybrids like him, rarely knows what the poetry of Wallace Stevens is about. He admits this often, but mostly it is covered in his narrative and text with a rusting panoply of words like clinamen, transumption, metonymy, synecdoche, and trope. There is tenure in solving the mystery of Wallace Stevens. There still is; but until another Sherlock arrives with a lens to magnify the crime scene we must put up with this monocled Nipper of the Yard and forensics like Beverley Maeder. Will anyone ever really understand Wallace Stevens? Clair de lune was never clearer.

Wallace, to a reader of my size, was a giant of a man. He was almost seven feet tall. His massive suit is preserved along with the lyric of The Deadwood Stage in New Haven's Museum of The Wild East. We know that Stevens never learned to drive. He walked all the way to work from his home in Elizabeth Drive past the flowering authorial Blooms of Elizabeth Park until he reached the office of his insurance company. You can tread this journey today on The Internet; or if you can, you can drive.

It is nowhere recorded that gangster Wallace and his wife Elsie (née Moll) kept, on Elizabeth Drive, as pets, a rabbit and a cat. In the year 2005, if you were searching cyberspace after 3rd January, for an answer to the question: "How can I introduce a rabbit to my cats?" you would have found that Sunblynd 5.0 answered: :"Don't...Cats are natural hunters. They will not except a creature invading their territory, that does not have similar hormones, pheromones and smell, thats how animals identify with eachother. Cats act on smell, a rabbit smells like an invader (food or prey) to the primitive part of the brain of the cat.
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More About the Author

Harold Bloom is a Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University and a former Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard. His more than thirty books include The Best Poems of the English Language, The Art of Reading Poetry, and The Book of J. He is a MacArthur Prize Fellow, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, including the Academy's Gold Medal for Belles Lettres and Criticism, the International Prize of Catalonia, and the Alfonso Reyes Prize of Mexico.

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Wallace Stevens: The Poems of Our Climate
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