Milton J. Bates: On "A High-Toned Old Christian Woman"

[In "A High-Toned Old Christian Woman"] the poet attempts to ruffle the composure of this true believer by proposing a shocking version of Santayana's argument in Interpretations of Poetry and Religion--that poetry and religion are equally fictions of the human mind, reflecting the values of the human maker. If lewdness is human, why not project a heaven on this basis rather than the moral sentiment? This is the more conceivable inasmuch as the imagination is itself irreverent and protean: "fictive things / Wink as they will." "A High-Toned Old Christian Woman" is calculated to elicit from the woman--and those readers who share her outlook--the "wince" that concludes the poem.

From Wallace Stevens: A Mythology of Self. Copyright © 1985 by the University of California Press.

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Criticism Overview
Title Milton J. Bates: On "A High-Toned Old Christian Woman" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Milton J. Bates Criticism Target Wallace Stevens
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 04 Dec 2015
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication No Data
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