The (in)human author and the (in)human characters

The other night we were talking about fiction, or more generally any art, that could represent a non-human reality, a non-human perspective and experience. I argued that fiction was particularly unsuited to this task, because it’s a genre rooted in very human experiences and conventions for representing those experiences. A couple of us speculated that any art is ultimately going to founder on this problem, because we always bring our human perspective to bear, both in the making and in the reception of the work. But I suggested that other genres—poetry, nonfiction—might do better at getting us closer to some such world.

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Yvor Winters on Wallace Stevens

Reading Yvor Winters on Wallace Stevens (In Defense of Reason. Athens: Swallow/Ohio U. Press, 1987). Finding him wrong-headed, but usefully so, since it’s helping me think out what I think of Stevens.

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