Wallace Stevens's Poetics of the Other
This article reveals a central yet hitherto unsuspected meditation in Wallace Stevens on the problem of the other person in relation to the concept of the other construed by Gilles Deleuze as the "expression of a possible world" (1990: 308). It demonstrates that, seen from this perspective, the figure of subjectivity appears to be a rhetorical means in the service of a poetics centered on the other. In readings of Stevens, it traces the way in which he thinks through the question of the other and detects two main forms in which this is registered in the poems: the other is either associated with 'possibility', an occasion of euphoric affects, or with the foreclosure of a more fundamental reality, an 'outside', of which the other is merely a phenomenal representative and which occasions poignant affects. The reading of Stevens's late poem "Prologues to What Is Possible" shows that these two poles in relation to the other are juxtaposed in a paradigmatic manner.