Mariani’s concluding chapters resonate with something different, something about that austere and ethical conscience: “… the figures in the street,” Stevens had written in his homage to Santayana, “Become the figures in heaven, the majestic movement / Of men growing small in the distances of space, / Singing, with smaller and still smaller sound, / Unintelligible absolution and an end.” There’s a celestial possibility being limned here, “happiness in the shape of Rome,” prefigures a soul waiting to be released. Meditating on Santayana, Stevens is reading his own mind near the end of his own life, and a peaceful and tranquil Catholic even in his own mind.
Monday, May 22, 2017
… The University Bookman: Thirteen Ways of Looking at Wallace Stevens. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)