Solitude in the poetry of Wallace Stevens

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1976

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Abstract

Wallace Stevens frequently sought solitude as a person and poet, and that state becomes an important topic in his poetry. A study of his poems about solitude or people in solitude reveals that that state signifies a complex conception of modern man's self-conscious existence in a world without God which is all the paradise man can ever know. Understanding Stevens' conception of solitude is a process requiring that the word solitude itself be examined. Writers previous to Stevens such as Milton, Wordsworth, Emerson, and Thoreau present examples of attitudes toward solitude which are both similar to and different from Stevens' own attitude. However, the reader of poetry also finds that critics--and others who study man--occasionally use words like alienation and isolation interchangeably with solitude. Although these three terms are somewhat comparable, there are differences between them, and clarifying these terms aids in understanding why solitude is a particularly appropriate word to identify Stevens' conception. [...]

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Keywords

Solitude in literature., Stevens, Wallace,--1879-1955--Criticism and interpretation.

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