An iconoclast, upon being asked what he proposed to set up in place of the things he had been tearing down, replied that it was difficult enough to assault obsolete values with courage and effectiveness and that he never really gave any thought to expounding any values of his own. Wallace Stevens is in the perhaps less enviable position of having values of his own, which may be challenged as spiritedly as those he has challenged. The image of Stevens as a poet who does not seriously represent a point of view, who succeeds only in representing a tableau of exquisite sensations, is no longer put forth. There is, in fact, agreement as to what is central in his point of view. A central theme, the theme which will concern us in this chapter, is one he vexes from early poetry to late, the relation of imagination to reality. What this relationship is, however, has not been a subject of agreement. An
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Publication information: Book title: The Comic Spirit of Wallace Stevens. Contributors: Daniel Fuchs - Author. Publisher: Duke University Press. Place of publication: Durham, NC. Publication year: 1963. Page number: 94.