Curtis White on Wallace Stevens

The following is taken from White’s excellent book The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don’t Think for Themselves (2003 HarperCollins) (reprinted with permission):

“Wallace Stevens’s little book of essays, The Necessary Angel (1942), deserves far more relevance than it seems to have in the present. Stevens’s book is intelligent, humane, and inventive in a way that we should want to value in the present and ever other future moment. The subtitle of this slim book is ‘Essays on Reality and the Imagination.’ What is extraordinary in Stevens’s perception is his certainty that reality and imagination do not stand different from and opposed to one another. They are in fact the same thing. Imagination ‘has the strength of reality or none at all.’ (7)

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