Wallace Stevens and the Art of the Empty Mind
What happens when an American poet at the start of the 20th century begins his work with the effort to empty the mind? Professor Amy Hungerford tells the story of how one of American Modernism’s greatest and most philosophical poets sought to strip old beliefs away from the perceiving mind to create a new way of seeing the world. The result is a singularly ambitious form of poetry that claims—with a mixture of hubris and humility—to embrace all forms of human thought and making.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Amy Hungerford is Professor of English at Yale. She specializes in 20th- and 21st-century American literature, especially the period since 1945. Professor Hungerford is author of The Holocaust of Texts: Genocide, Literature, and Personification (Chicago, 2003) and Postmodern Belief: American Literature and Religion Since 1960 (Princeton, 2010). Her teaching is known worldwide through her popular, and free, online course, “The American Novel Since 1945.” She is a founder of Post•45 (a professional association for scholars working in post-45 literary and cultural studies), and site editor of post45.org, which publishes both peer reviewed and general interest work in the field expeditiously and without charge. Her reviewing and public media work includes regular essays on contemporary fiction in the Yale Review and occasional contributions to the Huffington Post, DoubleX.com, and radio programs on NPR. She serves as the Master of Morse College at Yale University, where she lives with her family.