The Map and the Territory in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens

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In this dissertation, Wallace Stevens' imagination-reality problem as depicted in his poetry is discussed in terms of an eco-critical map-territory divide. Stevens's metaphor of "the necessary angel" acts to mediate human necessity, the map, with natural necessity, the territory, in order to retain contact with changing cultural and environmental conditions. At stake in this mediation are individual freedom and the pertinence of the imagination to the experience of reality. In Chapter 2, the attempt at reconciliation of these two necessities will be described in terms of surrealism. Stevens's particular approach to surrealism emphasizes separating and delineating natural necessity from human ... continued below

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Thompson, Erik Robb December 2009.

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  • Thompson, Erik Robb

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In this dissertation, Wallace Stevens' imagination-reality problem as depicted in his poetry is discussed in terms of an eco-critical map-territory divide. Stevens's metaphor of "the necessary angel" acts to mediate human necessity, the map, with natural necessity, the territory, in order to retain contact with changing cultural and environmental conditions. At stake in this mediation are individual freedom and the pertinence of the imagination to the experience of reality. In Chapter 2, the attempt at reconciliation of these two necessities will be described in terms of surrealism. Stevens's particular approach to surrealism emphasizes separating and delineating natural necessity from human necessity so that through the poem the reader can experience the miracle of their reconciliation. In Chapter 3, this delineation of the two necessities, map and territory, will be examined against Modernist "decreation," which is the stripping bare of human perception for the purpose of regaining glimpses of the first idea of the external world. And in Chapter 4, Stevens's approach to the problem of the map-territory divide will be considered against his alienation or internal exile: balancing nature and identity through mediating fictions results in a compromised approach to the marriage of mind and culture in a historically situated place.

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  • December 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • March 17, 2010, 11:40 a.m.

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  • Jan. 21, 2014, 2:16 p.m.

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Thompson, Erik Robb. The Map and the Territory in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens, dissertation, December 2009; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12205/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .