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Wallace Stevens, Poetry, and France

Juliette Utard
Bart Eeckhout
Lisa Goldfarb

Part Four. Stevens and French Thought

“Of patches and of pitches”: Stevens, Jean-Luc Nancy, and the Sense of a World

Thomas Gould

Texte intégral

1The world, according to Wallace Stevens in the late poem “July Mountain,” is one “of patches and of pitches” (CPP, 476). I want to repurpose this phrase for the sake of provisionally designating two philosophically oriented approaches to reading Stevens. On one hand, there is what might be called a methodology of patches, of citational patchwork, which through assiduously selective quotation can show how a (or, perhaps, any) particular thinker might be made conversable with Stevens’ poetry. On the other hand, there is a methodology of pitches (with the word “pitch” intended in the sense of “the pitching of a boat”), a method that seeks to show the propitious inclinations of certain philosophical ideas toward the reading of a poem or poems. In these senses, patching and pitching imply two very different modalities of the line. A patchwork is crisscrossed with liminal lines; methodologically, this corresponds to a line that is traced as a boundary between poetry and philosophy. To pitch, meanwhile, is to establish a trajectory, and thus to project a line through a space: the line of the pitch is one that is drawn through poetry and philosophy.

  • 1 J.-L. Nancy, The Pleasure in Drawing, p. 12.

2With this premise in place, I should add that it is toward this latter line that I am pitching myself. And, in seeking to pitch the writings of the philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy through a reading of some of Stevens’ poems, I aim to draw out the presence of a certain ethic of linearity in both Stevens’ and Nancy’s work. By linearity I mean a privileging of the line (graphic contours, traces, lineaments, pitched and patched lines) as a figure of thought and as a figure of making sense. Of the two respective authorships in question, this is perhaps nowhere more prominent than in Nancy’s relatively recent Le Plaisir au dessin (2007), translated into English as The Pleasure in Drawing (2013). Here, Nancy muses on the graphic line of drawing as the instantiation of form itself, as a “formative force,” which thus enables him to consider drawing as something of an aesthetic zero degree: “the drawing of art or the art of drawing, this art […] that constitutes the element, moment, or dimension not of formalized but formative, ostensive, and dynamic thought across all artistic fields.”1 Nancy builds on a rich modern tradition of art writing that privileges drawing for its theoretical proximity to thinking or figuring out, its status as an essentially contemplative aesthetic field.

  • 2 A. Badiou, The Age of the Poets and other Writings on Twentieth-Century Poetry and Prose, p. 81.

3Next to this proximity to thinking, the other characteristic that typically distinguishes drawing as an art form is its putatively propaedeutic or preliminary status, that is, the drawing board considered as the place where a final work is sketched or gestured toward. This is not to be overly eager about codifying drawing as an art, but to stage its relevance for a reading of Stevens. An adherence of the (poetic) line to a process of thinking and figuring out, and a location of art in a temporality of the preliminary, are, after all, classically Stevensian topics. I take my cue here from another formidable figure in contemporary French thought, Alain Badiou, a short essay in whose collection The Age of the Poets (2014) suggestively draws an analogy between Stevens’ “Description Without Place” and the art of drawing, since drawing is “a description without place that creates a sort of artificial world.”2 Badiou’s work is here expressly political, opening onto the drawing of borders and the way in which art can enable us to construct the—or a—world. Aided by Nancy, I want to push the drawing analogy closer toward a consideration of the way in which Stevens’ poetry can create the circumscription of a world.

  • 3 H. Wölfflin, Principles of Art History, p. 18.

4The early twentieth-century art historian Heinrich Wölfflin split the visual arts according to two “conceptions of the world”: the painterly and the linear.3 I do not want to recuperate uncritically such a rigid classification, but the distinction is instructive when we consider how prominent a keyword painterly is in Stevens studies (and justifiably so). Without being able to give full expression to this here, I want to begin to show that Stevens’ poetry often conforms to the linear side of things, too. This observation is important for the way in which it can help develop an understanding of the twin confluences of art and thought, materiality and abstraction, in the poetry. Staging a series of critical encounters between Stevens and Nancy is intended as a preliminary move toward this kind of understanding.

  • 4 J. H. Miller, The Conflagration of Community: Fiction Before and After Auschwitz, p. 3-39.

5 The most prominent critical encounter between the thinking of Jean-Luc Nancy and the poems of Wallace Stevens occurs in J. Hillis Miller’s The Conflagration of Community (2011), whose opening chapter is given the title “Nancy contra Stevens.” This title is not, however, an assertion of antipathy as much as we might first assume. Miller begins with a reading of canto IX of “The Auroras of Autumn,” the three stanzas that begin with “We were as Danes in Denmark all day long” (CPP, 361-362), suggesting that they mount an ideology of indigeneity, which in turn he situates as a foil for Nancy’s early writings on the dissolution of the possibility of community.4 Miller’s point is that each conception of community—one based on indigeneity, the other on the deconstruction of indigeneity—implies and, indeed, depends on the other and that, according to the principle of the interdependence of opposites, Nancy and Stevens are in fact contradictorily complementary.

  • 5 See B. Eeckhout, Wallace Stevens and the Limits of Reading and Writing, p. 185-189.

6I want to focus instead on a later turn in Nancy’s thinking, where a preoccupation with community cedes to a more immediately Stevensian and stripped-back meditation on the idea of world. The restlessness with which Nancy writes toward a fundamental ontology of the world in some ways mirrors the restlessness with which Stevens writes toward a “first idea” in “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction” (CPP, 330). I want to move toward a particular understanding of what I would call, through Nancy, Stevens’ sense of the world. The Sense of the World, or Le Sens du monde, is the title of a book by Nancy, published in 1996, in which he fragmentarily circles around the topoi of sens and of monde. Nancy shares Stevens’ sensitivity to the resources of the semantic richness of the word “sense” (sensation, perception, the five senses, etc.; here I would refer to Bart Eeckhout’s chapter “Between the Senses of Sense” in Wallace Stevens and the Limits of Reading and Writing), although I would hasten to add that the French sens has a common usage that the English “sense” does not, that is, its meaning of “direction” or “way,” as in “dans l’autre sens” (in the other direction).5 This particular sense is crucial to Nancy’s playful, difficult, and occasionally tautological expositions of sense. I want to claim that this sense of sens can, through Nancy, aid us in understanding the sense of sense in Stevens, sense as the directional issuing of a line.

  • 6 J.-L. Nancy, The Inoperative Community, p. 3.

7To return to the phrase I have seized from “July Mountain,” the motif of pitching and of inclination turns out to be a useful entry point into Nancy’s thinking. The patch and the pitch bear a remarkable resemblance to the Lucretian distinction between the atom and the clinamen, a conceptual pairing that is central to the early development of Nancy’s thinking on the subject of community. The atom is the indivisible particle; the clinamen is the unpredictable swerve, course, or pitch, traced by that atom. A patch, a single unit, sewn together with other patches to form the larger unit of the patchwork, corresponds to the logic of the atomistic community: a community of individual subjects united in a sharing of language, culture, and national identity—indeed, as Miller points out, as Danes in Denmark. Nancy’s early thinking seeks to interrupt the atomistic model of community; he suggests that community equally needs to be understood according to the pitching of the clinamen, what he calls “an inclination or an inclining from one toward the other, of one by the other, or from one to the other.”6 The singularities who form a community share this mutual inclination toward an outer limit, an exposure to death: a sharing prior to the myths of nationhood and common identity. A kind of “myth before the myth began,” again to quote “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction” (CPP, 331).

  • 7 J.-L. Nancy, The Sense of the World, p. 48.
  • 8 J.-L. Nancy, A Finite Thinking.

8Inclination and pitching come to the fore in Nancy’s later work, and animate his understanding of the sense of sens as connoting “direction.” In books of the 1990s, such as Being Singular Plural and The Sense of the World, Nancy began to eschew the term “community” altogether in favor of a reduced “being-with,” an absolutely prior relation of the self to the world, prior to such modalities as phenomenological intentionality or the psychoanalytic symbolic ( “Before the symbolic, there is this spacing out without which no symbol could symbolize”), prior to ethics.7 This aspect of Nancy’s thinking is, then, if we can put it this way, the quest toward an ontological “first idea,” whereby being is understood as a bare, transitive being-toward—a being-toward the world in what Nancy will call its “patency” [patence], its plain and irreducible there-ness. With Nancy, thinking is the right word, rather than thought. It is typical of Nancy, as in Une Pensée finie, to refer to his philosophical approach as une pensée rather than la pensée.8 The effect of the definite article in French is substituted in the English translation with the verbal noun “thinking”; for Nancy, the point is that thinking is essentially provisional and en route, or, to use a more Stevensian word, “toward”—a finite thinking that implies and proceeds indefinitely toward an impossible absent totality; a thinking akin to the thinking figured by the sketch of drawing. Nancy’s framing of thought as inescapably provisional and preliminary has clear comparative resonances with some examples of Stevens’ poetic framing: the futural totality implied, but ever deferred, by the title “Prologues to What Is Possible” (CPP, 437), the “giant on the horizon” of “A Primitive like an Orb” (CPP, 380), or indeed the infinite incipience that is thrown into the world as Vermont in “July Mountain” (CPP, 476).

  • 9 S. Critchley, qtd in B. Eeckhout, op. cit., p. 5.
  • 10 J.-L. Nancy, Multiple Arts: The Muses II, p. 13.

9Simon Critchley writes that “poetry needs a philosophy that needs poetry.”9 As if in response to this, Nancy concedes a need for poetry in his Multiple Arts: The Muses II: “a philosopher can hardly avoid being affected, one could even say riven, by a kind of need for poetry, which arises from the most urgent part of his or her practice […].”10 I would suggest that the “urgent part of his or her practice,” for Nancy, is to make sense of the world, and to make sense of what it means to make sense of the world. Again, as I have already suggested, making sense of the world is not a mimetic process whereby the external world is converted into some sensible representation, nor a hermeneutic process whereby the world is rendered intelligible, but a tautology that expresses a kind of co-originary constitution. Simply put, for Nancy, to make sense of the world is to make a world that is, each time, singular, unique to the sense-making of its occasion. Remembering the sense of sens as direction or way, making sense of the world, for Nancy, is also making sense by being toward the world. Here we find a resonance with Stevens’ comment in “A Collect of Philosophy” that the poet’s “native sphere” is “what he can make of the world”—where making a world is co-extensive with making something of the world (CPP, 863).

  • 11 J. Balso, Affirmation of Poetry, p. 29.

10Before I go on, I want to touch on another recent critical staging between Nancy and Stevens, Judith Balso’s Affirmation of Poetry, originally published in French as Affirmation de la poésie. Balso briefly broaches a kinship between Stevens’ poetry and Nancy’s thinking, particularly the latter’s deconstruction of Christianity (published in two volumes bearing that name) and what she punningly calls Stevens’ poetic ontology of “appar-être”: the being of seeming.11 Balso concludes Affirmation of Poetry with an elliptical gesture toward a further comparative study that my work intends, in part, to resume. Apropos of Stevens, she writes that

  • 12 Ibid., p. 95-96.

poetry plays an essential role in the transformation of the category of truth; in its transformation, not its negation. It is striking that Jean-Luc Nancy’s research also ends with the necessity of fiction: “in fiction, truth is not figured as if by impudent allegory: it is figured in so far as it is unfigurable.”12

  • 13 J.-L. Nancy, Adoration: The Deconstruction of Christianity II, p. 95.

11Balso’s citation is taken from the second volume of Nancy’s deconstruction of Christianity, Adoration, where, in a chapter on post-theological faith, we also find a valorization of the suppositious comme si, a brief passage that is strikingly Stevensian and that reads like an adaptation of the well-worn aphorism from Adagia which begins “The final belief is to believe in a fiction […]” (CPP, 903): “we should call it ‘belief without belief’ […] intertwined with an ‘as if.’ I know full well that there is no other world, but I believe, I want to believe, I allow the sketch of something possible […].”13

12Nancy opens a wide prospect of possibility in the wake of the death of God, an opening that allows for the fictive projections of “as if.” The Nancy commentator Peter Gratton writes that for Nancy

  • 14 P. Gratton, “The Speculative Challenge and Nancy’s Post-Deconstructive Realism,” p. 118.

after the death of God (the event of the deus abscondus), philosophy must follow on the trail of the res absconda. This means that the mundane, worldly things of this world must be returned to a certain dignity, denied to them by ontotheologies that took them to be points of references [sic] or fallen signs of a transcendent God-beyond-being.14

  • 15 J.-L. Nancy, The Sense of the World, p. 55.

13Like the vertiginous opening of the “wide water, without sound” in “Sunday Morning” (CPP, 53), the ungrounded vista of a material world that throws the mundane vibrancy of cockatoos and oranges into relief, Nancy follows a logic from the absence of God to the presence or patency of things in the world, and a pitching toward that patency. The corollary of this thinking is an insistence on the immanent over the transcendent, which Nancy radicalizes with the portmanteau transimmanence, a term he glosses as the “existence and exposition” of immanence.15 I want to suggest a number of the ways in which this exposition can be seen to take place in Stevens’ poetry as poetry.

14It is instructive to bear in mind Stevens’ similar inclination toward the immanent at the expense of the transcendent, of which the earth-dwelling “necessary angel” of “Angel Surrounded by Paysans” is perhaps the most fitting example (CPP, 423). Or I might refer again to the way in which the “incipient cosmos” is rendered immanent as the throwing together of Vermont in “July Mountain” (CPP, 476). Transimmanence is one of two interconnected conceptual portmanteaus from Nancy’s work that are particularly relevant to the discussion here; the other being exscription. Transimmanence, exscription, and sense form a kind of conceptual nexus at the heart of Nancy’s philosophy. Nancy writes (and this quotation should make the French sense of sense as “direction” a little clearer):

  • 16 Ibid., p. 14.

[…] the sense of sense: to be neither word nor concept, neither signifier nor signified, but sending and divergence, and nonetheless (or even for that very reason) to be a gesture of writing, the breaking [frayage] and forcing of an a the entire signification and destination of which (in French the à [or in English the to] of the a) is to exscribe itself: to go up and touch the concretion of the world where existence makes sense.16

  • 17 J.-L. Nancy, The Muses, p. 35.
  • 18 Ibid.

15The logic of exscription might be summarized as follows: that which is inscribed, literally, in writing, necessarily results in an exscription of sense. Exscribed sense is not sense produced by the meaningful correspondence between a sign and an external referent, but rather a placing of sense, or displacing of the sense, outside of writing. In other words, sense is transcendent inasmuch as it falls outside of inscription, but is immanent to writing inasmuch as it is exscribed by it, since writing, poetic writing included, pitches itself toward sense and sense-making: it builds a scriptive line of sense-making. Elsewhere Nancy calls this the “torsion” (a twisting together) of writing and of art, since writing and art take place, for Nancy, as the exposition of immanence.17 As Nancy puts it: “the transimmanence, or patency, of the world takes place as art, as works of art.”18

16One of Stevens’ richer poems on the subject of sense, “Bouquet of Roses in Sunlight,” similarly places sense-making at the outer limit of inscription:

Our sense of these things changes and they change,
Not as in metaphor, but in our sense
Of them. So sense exceeds all metaphor.

It exceeds the heavy changes of the light.
It is like a flow of meanings with no speech
And of as many meanings as of men.

We are two that use these roses as we are,
In seeing them. This is what makes them seem
So far beyond the rhetorician’s touch.
CPP, 370

  • 19 J.-L. Nancy, The Sense of the World, p. 14.
  • 20 J.-L. Nancy, The Muses, p. 17.

17For Stevens, the ever-shifting vagaries of our sense of things, which outflow and outstrip the hermitages of metaphor, are resistant to inscription, if inscription is understood according to a structure of representation. But these stanzas are not merely an expression of linguistic failure in the face of thingly ineffability. Let us compare the ways in which Stevens and Nancy link an excessive “sense” (an excess, and therefore a transcendence, that is rendered immanent to the object of the roses in Stevens’ poem with the phrase “too much as they are”) to a modality of touch and touching. For Nancy, the exscription of art, particularly poetry, touches the “concretion of the world”19; it is indeed governed by the sense of touch, because the transimmanence of sense takes place through a touching. Nancy writes that “Touch is nothing other than the touch or stroke of sense altogether and of all the senses. […] [T] ouch presents the proper moment of sensuous exteriority […]. Touch is proximate distance.”20 This is not to say that touch is privileged above all other senses, but that all sense is governed by touch, insofar as touch is understood as an aporia or simultaneity of both proximity and distance. To touch the world, through poetic writing, means to be in a tension of proximity and distance, to grasp the sense of a world in its exscribed exteriority at the moment when the world seems to slip out of the bounds of signification.

18Nancy’s thinking of the touch of exscription furnishes us with a way of interpreting the final line of “Bouquet of Roses in Sunlight”: the roses seem so far beyond the rhetorician’s touch because they cannot be inscribed or patched by rhetoric, understood here as a figural language that claims poetically to place and represent the things of the world beyond. And yet, the way in which those roses merely seem to be beyond repudiates their worldly inaccessibility. Thus the final line serves to ironize the apophatic language of the preceding stanzas, which has cast the roses as ineffably singular, excessive things. Rhetoric cannot touch the sense of the roses, but the poem itself is oriented toward sense. This is because, as elsewhere in Stevens’ poetry, the ontology or being of seeming (which Balso calls appar-être), or what, via Nancy, I would now call the transimmanence of seeming, refutes the existence of a “beyond,” since the seeming of the poem refutes the transcendence of a reality in favor of what emerges as the immanence of the poem.

  • 21 This effort to conjugate sense-making, inscription, and touch with an indefinite and playful orient (...)

19The word with which Nancy describes the ceaseless coming-into-presence of the world is surgissement. Stevens’ poem “Description Without Place,” with its theses on “seeming,” is replete with images of surgissement, such as the “curling-out of spring” (CPP, 298). Here, the seeming of the world is again approached in reference to an excessive sense. Stevens writes that seeming “is a sense / To which we refer experience, a knowledge / Incognito, the column in the desert, / On which the dove alights” (CPP, 300). This knowledge, or knowledge of sense, is “incognito” since it resists knowledge, and yet it remains a strange, paradoxical, zero degree of knowledge, insofar as it is that sense, or rather that sens, that direction, toward which we orient ourselves and our experience.21

  • 22 J.-L. Nancy, The Sense of the World, p. 156.

20The world, like the column in the desert, cannot be localized as in the description of a place. But it is from the description that localization occurs. The localized world “Vermont” in “July Mountain” is not a place that precedes the description of the poem, but one that “throws itself together” as in a poem. For Nancy, the world is said, and thus localized, through the predication of “there is”: “‘there is’ localizes being. More exactly, the transitivity of being is, first of all, localization. Being entrances the existent in giving way to it, giving it a place.”22 By transitivity of being, Nancy means the being-toward with which he characterizes sense, or the “sense // To which we refer experience,” as Stevens would put it. Place, then, is oriented and localized not by language as description, but by language as exscription: the poem that refers itself toward a sense that cannot be described. Stevens’ aphoristic line in “Description Without Place” that “It is a world of words to the end of it” (CPP, 301) can be seen to articulate the way in which the world is localized and oriented according to the logic of exscription: a sense of the world at the end of words.

  • 23 P. Gratton, op. cit., p. 110.

21Exscription, writes Peter Gratton, echoing a famous line from “An Ordinary Evening in New Haven,” “would be a passing of sense in the res itself and not about it.”23 As this wording implies, the imbrication of transcendence and immanence that characterizes exscription can help make sense of the difficult proximity between the abstraction of poetic language and the immanent, plain patency of the world in “An Ordinary Evening in New Haven.” Given its similarity to “Bouquet of Roses in Sunlight,” I want to focus on canto IX, where Stevens again links figurative language to an absence of touch: “we seek // The poem of pure reality, untouched / By trope or deviation, straight to the word, / Straight to the transfixing object” (CPP, 402). “Straight to” is equivalent to Nancy’s notion of sense as pitching or direction, that is, as a transitive being-toward; “straight to” foregrounds the importance, for Stevens’ poetical thinking, of the line. The best figure for this line is the line of drawing: a contemplative line, which seeks to do away with deviation, but precisely in seeking to do away with deviation commits itself to a different kind of deviation. “Transfixing,” though typically associated with visual wonder or fascination, is undergirded by an etymological primacy of the sense of touch, since “to transfix” originally means to pierce through. The “transfixing object” is one that is pierced through with the subject, and piercing through suggests a Nancyan double-bind of touch, whereby touching is permeation, contact, and yet separation. Pierced through, in other words, the poem is part of the res itself and not about it. Again, the displacement of sight into touch at the transfixing point (like the point of a pencil tracing a line) of a thwarted effort to represent the “object” is inseparable from an aesthetics of drawing, since drawing begins at the rupture between the eye and the hand, object and subject. Thus canto IX can be read as weighing one modality of pitching against another. On one hand, rhetoric or metaphor as a pitching of the poem deviates or strays the course; on the other hand, there is the mutual touch and effraction of the transfixing object, a transfixing that corresponds to Nancy’s figure of transimmanence, since this transfixed reality is realized, born as the immanence of “A view of New Haven” (CPP, 402).

  • 24 H. Bloom, Wallace Stevens: The Poems of our Climate, p. 347.
  • 25 J.-L. Nancy, The Muses, p. 18.

22I want to return to “July Mountain.” Harold Bloom reads this poem as a précis of poetic perspectivism, giving it the alternative title of “Anecdote of the Jar Retold.”24 I want, instead, to take it as a starting point to suggest the ways in which we might read Stevens’ world-making alongside Nancy’s writings on the same subject. Nancyan singular-plurality provides a rich counterpoint to the perspectivism that is often ascribed to Stevensian multiplicity. Perspectivism, after all, is a mode of multiplying the world that privileges vision; it implies too narrow a sense of the world. Contra perspectivism, Nancy writes that “Art does not deal with the ‘world’ understood as simple exteriority, milieu, or nature. It deals with being-in-the-world in its very springing forth.”25 For Nancy, art as the springing forth of a sensible presentation (rather than representation, and here he is explicitly rejecting the Hegelian conception of art as the sensible presentation of an Idea) shares the structure of the springing forth of the world, and thus provides us with a model by which we might engage or gain a sense of our being in the world. In other words, the springing forth of the poem is as the springing forth of the world. I read “July Mountain” as Stevens analogizing and imbricating the felicities of art with the sudden surging forth of the world of, or as, Vermont. The way in which that springing forth is couched in the lineaments of the patch and pitch offers a kind of sketch of the analogical importance of drawing—as the art of spontaneous lines (like the sketch, “always incipient”)—to this conception of art.

23For Nancy, the world is “infinitely finite,” a perhaps typically abstruse deconstructive formulation that I might clarify through a reading of “July Mountain.” Because our cosmos is “always incipient,” the world is continually emerging and coming to presence, in the way that Vermont “throws itself together.” This is not to say that the poem orders or perspectivizes the world, but that it realizes the world’s coming-to-presence. In this sense, “cosmos” does not mean some galactic beyond outside of our worldly ken, but rather the plurality of the world that is the world we inhabit: a kind of domestic cosmos, a constellation comprised of a view of Vermont, or a view of New Haven. To return to Nancy’s phrase, the world of “July Mountain” is an infinitely finite world— infinite because it’s “always incipient,” always emerging; finite because, as in a page of poetry, it is always circumscribed by the occasion of its emergence.


1 J.-L. Nancy, The Pleasure in Drawing, p. 12.

2 A. Badiou, The Age of the Poets and other Writings on Twentieth-Century Poetry and Prose, p. 81.

3 H. Wölfflin, Principles of Art History, p. 18.

4 J. H. Miller, The Conflagration of Community: Fiction Before and After Auschwitz, p. 3-39.

5 See B. Eeckhout, Wallace Stevens and the Limits of Reading and Writing, p. 185-189.

6 J.-L. Nancy, The Inoperative Community, p. 3.

7 J.-L. Nancy, The Sense of the World, p. 48.

8 J.-L. Nancy, A Finite Thinking.

9 S. Critchley, qtd in B. Eeckhout, op. cit., p. 5.

10 J.-L. Nancy, Multiple Arts: The Muses II, p. 13.

11 J. Balso, Affirmation of Poetry, p. 29.

12 Ibid., p. 95-96.

13 J.-L. Nancy, Adoration: The Deconstruction of Christianity II, p. 95.

14 P. Gratton, “The Speculative Challenge and Nancy’s Post-Deconstructive Realism,” p. 118.

15 J.-L. Nancy, The Sense of the World, p. 55.

16 Ibid., p. 14.

17 J.-L. Nancy, The Muses, p. 35.

18 Ibid.

19 J.-L. Nancy, The Sense of the World, p. 14.

20 J.-L. Nancy, The Muses, p. 17.

21 This effort to conjugate sense-making, inscription, and touch with an indefinite and playful orientation toward the world is precisely analogous with the sense-making of the line of drawing.

22 J.-L. Nancy, The Sense of the World, p. 156.

23 P. Gratton, op. cit., p. 110.

24 H. Bloom, Wallace Stevens: The Poems of our Climate, p. 347.

25 J.-L. Nancy, The Muses, p. 18.


Recently completed a PhD in Comparative Literature at King’s College London, writing a thesis on Wallace Stevens, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Maurice Blanchot. He is currently working on a project on poetry and drawing.

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