Wallace Stevens: Lyrisch Philosophieren

Hauptsächlicher Artikelinhalt

Peter Hühn


Wallace Stevens is widely regarded as an author whose poetry possesses a particularly close affinity to philosophy, which is usually taken to mean that his poems contain statements of philosophical concepts or propositions. In contrast to this, the following article examines the relation of Stevens’s poetry and philosophy with respect not to the contents of his poems but to their sequential structure. This analytic focus is motivated by the observation that the progression of the utterance in a great many of Stevens’s poems appears to be modelled on the principles of philosophical argumentation: i.e., that the poems go through a quasi-philosophical process of questioning, reflection, and cognition. As lyric poems, however, they pursue this practical process of thinking and arguing on the basis of the principles of poetic composition. The poems can thus be described as employing two different discourse types at the same time and in interaction with each other: philosophical argumentation, on the one hand, and poetic composition on the other. Accordingly, the following analyses are guided by two questions: first, what aims do the argumentations in the poems pursue and, second, how do the two discourse types interact with each other in that process? Three poems from different periods of Stevens’s poetic œuvre are used as examples: “A High-Toned Old Christian Woman” (1923), “Man Carrying Thing” (1947) and “The Plain Sense of Things” (1954).


Hühn, P. 2022. Wallace Stevens: Lyrisch Philosophieren. Internationale Zeitschrift für Kulturkomparatistik. 5 (2022), 485-503. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25353/ubtr-izfk-3497-54ae.