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Chapter 10 - Intersectional Studies

from Part II - Recent Critical Methods Applied to Stevens

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 June 2021

Bart Eeckhout
Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium
Gül Bilge Han
Uppsala Universitet, Sweden
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Although no real institutionalization of intersectional studies as such has yet taken place, the habit of thinking in terms of intersectional identities has established itself fully across multiple fields—from critical race theory to gender studies and queer studies as well as in sociological and legal studies. Steinman looks at some of the ways that intersectional studies have informed literary critical practice, including studies that focus on Wallace Stevens’s own identity (in terms of gender, race, and class) and on the figures enabled and occluded by his poetic imagination. Describing how previous critical work that addressed race, class, or gender in Stevens’s poetry might be refigured in light of the perspectives intersectional studies have brought to critical attention, Steinman offers, as an example of the merits and drawbacks of reading Stevens intersectionally, a discussion of “The Virgin Carrying a Lantern.” She sets this against an account of how many contemporary writers of color respond more to Stevens’s style than to his representations of others, voicing an ambivalence that repositions their work and Stevens’s work within African American literary tradition; Steinman suggests that such voices might open new possibilities for intersectional studies of Stevens.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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