Wallace Stevens, technic, and the ethics of the imagination


  • Adam Staley Groves Groves Nanyang Technological University


Wallace Stevens, technic, speculative poetry, Jean Wahl, irrationalism


What would it mean to make the human, fiction? This question is central to Wallace Stevens’s theory of poetry. Here I consider Stevens’s ethics of the imagination particular to “the poetry of thought” and “supreme poetry.” Such an ethics may thwart what Martin Heidegger terms “enframing.” Enframing is used to situate issues of social media which example the growth of technic Heidegger was concerned with. Stevens’s early prose provides an unwitting theorization of technics, a rebuke of enframing from the poetry of thought. Supporting Stevens’s poetry of thought as a critical vehicle, is his relationship with the unheralded yet influential French philosopher, Jean André Wahl, particular to what both consider the “absolute object.” Thus Stevens’s human question a once considered, fourth tenant of Supreme Fiction, “It Must Be Human” concerns two concepts of subjectivity whose practices are informed by technic: the poet of extinction and the poet of multiplication.


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