Anthony Whiting: On "The Plain Sense of Things"

Instead of evoking the plain sense of things by creating a construct, Stevens evokes the outer in "Plain Sense" by imagining not simply the absence of any construct, but the absence of the faculty that creates the constructs. Paradoxically, though, the imagining of the absence of the imagination is itself a powerful expression of the creative activity of the imagination, "the absence of the imagination had / Itself to be imagined" (CP 503). The poem seems to uncover the plain sense of things through a kind of creative anticreativity, the imagination imagining its own absence.

From The Never-Resting Mind: Wallace Stevens' Romantic Irony. Copyright © 1996 by the University of Michigan.

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Criticism Overview
Title Anthony Whiting: On "The Plain Sense of Things" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Anthony Whiting Criticism Target Wallace Stevens
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 05 Dec 2015
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication No Data
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