Wallace Stevens and Experiments with Emotion: A Poetic Perspective of Boredom

Mr Masahiko Abe (PhD student, English, St Edmund's College)

Saturday, 09 November, 1996; 7:00-9:00 pm

Seminar room, Darwin College

In the face of the enormous accumulation of scholarship in the 'Stevens Industry', which some may say already reached a peak in the 1960s, it would seem quixotic to make yet another attempt, in the late 1990s, to read his poems critically as if nobody else has carried out the task before. But it is not useless, and even necessary for a better understanding of the poet, to call attention to the element of boredom, a mode of emotion that permeates twentieth-century poetry. Interestingly, reading this great American poet in a British university sometimes makes one feel that one is venturing on a pioneering study on a very obscure poet, and this feeling is even reinforced when I speak to scholars from my native country, Japan. This session will, hopefully, provide an occasion for those frustrated scholars to exchange their views on Stevens and boredom without fear of persecution.