wallace stevens on the geography of the imagination

A man in Paris does not imagine the same sort of
thing that a native of Uganda imagines. If each could
transmit his imagination to the other, so that the man
in Paris, lying awake at night, could suddenly hear
a footfall that meant the presence of some inimical
and merciless monstrosity, and if the man in Uganda
found himself in, say, the Muenster at Basel and
experienced what is to be experienced there, what
words would the Parisian find to forestall his fate and
what understanding would the Ugandan have of his
incredible delirium? If we live in the mind, we live
in the imagination. It is a commonplace to realize
the extent of artifice in the external world and to say
that Florence is more imaginative than Dublin, that
blue and white Munich is more imaginative than
white and green Havana, and so on; or to say that, in
this town, no single public object of the imagination
exists, while in the Vatican City, say, no public object
exists that is not an object of the imagination. What is
engaging us at the moment has nothing to do with the
external world. We are concerned with the extent of
artifice within us and, almost parenthetically, with the
question of its value.
— Wallace Stevens, "Imagination as Value"

Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s