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Notes Toward A Supreme Fiction

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Long poem by Wallace Stevens, published in 1942.

Composed of a prologue, 30 poems divided into three sections (“It Must Be Abstract,” “It Must Change,” “It Must Give Pleasure”), and an epilogue, each composed of seven stanzas containing three verses in a metric form like iambic pentameter, the poem does not attempt to develop a sequential argument but is composed of meditations concerned with the nature of reality, man's perceptions, and poetic imagination. Reality is always changing; to treat reality requires imagination that may comprehend its variety. The poet in treating reality is concerned with providing a fiction that will please in the way that once a belief in a personal deity gave spiritual joy. In turn such fiction provides a faith by which man, a soldier in wartime, can live and die.

Subjects: Literature

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Wallace Stevens (1879—1955) American poet