Poetry is not the same thing as the imagination taken alone. Nothing is itself taken alone. Things are because of interrelations or interactions.
WALLACE STEVENS [163b]
THE WORK OF LITERARY HISTORIANS never ends, and they recognize the challenge with alacrity. In rushing to honor their debts to the past, they presently make enough mistakes so that Stevens' belief about their getting it straight one day at the Sorbonne sounds like the rankest optimism. The inevitable revisions guarantee that the rewriting of literary history will go on. Eventually, then, someone may set down an orderly account tracing what impacts the Second World War made not upon the children of the lost generation but rather upon that group itself. A cursory review indicates, surprisingly, that on the whole it supplied them fresh material and impetus whether for the gasconade of Across the River and into the Trees or the humility of "Little Gidding." Having seized their experiences of the First World War as the license for doubting everything, in an era of numbness they claimed a further prerogative and believed something. The actual faiths varied, but the effort
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Publication information: Book title: Wallace Stevens:Images and Judgments. Contributors: John J. Enck - Author. Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press. Place of publication: Carbondale, IL. Publication year: 1964. Page number: 145.