Roy Harvey Pearce

Roy Harvey Pearce: On "Anecdote of the Jar"

‘ … I think it worth noting that Stevens as he wrote the poem must have had in mind a specific fruit jar, the "Dominion Wide Mouth Special."… Although manufactured in Canada, the jar has been widely distributed in the United States from 1913 to the present, The exemplar photographed dates ca. 1918; Stevens was in fact traveling in Tennessee in April and May 1918. … As a "wide mouth special," the jar is particularly notable, of its kind, as "tall and of a port in air." And its glass, compared to that of other fruit jars, is especially "gray and bare." Whether in Tennessee in 1918 fruit jars were used as containers for "moonshine," I have not been able to establish definitively. Surely, granting Stevens’ penchant for "moon" and "shine," the matter is worth investigating.

From Roy Harvey Pearce, "’Anecdote of the Jar’": An Iconological Note," The Wallace Stevens Journal 1:2 (Summer 1977), 65.