John Hollander

Gleam and darkness

A review of John Hollander's 'The Substance of Shadow'

Right: Ferdinand Olivier and Heinrich Olivier, 'The Invention of the Art of Drawing (the daughter of Butades of Sicyon and her Lover),' 1804, pen and ink, watercolor. Via Wikimedia Commons.

In Pliny’s Natural History,the original act of aesthetic representation is said to be the tracing of a lover’s shadow on a wall, an outline that would remain after that body takes its sorrowful leave.

Stevens: Conserves our cardinal nobilities, thank goodness

Not long ago I reread John Hollander’s short piece on Wallace Stevens for the magazine of the Academy of American Poets. Hollander’s Stevens is culturally conservative — a conservator of “our cardinal nobilities,” etc. In essayistically surveying the uses of Stevens after 1975 about a year ago, I wrote a few paragraphs in protest against such a view. I won’t quote or summarize that protest here, but I will provide a link to a PDF of the Hollander piece.

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