The Philosophic Background to Wallace Stevens' Early Poetry
The author cites three main sources of influence: the theory of fictions Stevens appropriated from Santayana and from Vaihinger; the relational aesthetics of John Dewey and William James, which served as a link between the poet's aims and the various general aesthetic advances made by the early modern painters; and the cosmology of Alfred North Whitehead, which underlay his "naturalistic system," his formulations for the relations of soul and body, man and world, and the numerous expressions for what he considered the "valid purpose” of poetry to be, to give a sense of the freshness or vividness of life.
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