000) Stevens & Santayana (begin here)

An exploration of the poems of Wallace Stevens’ “ The Rock” and George Santayana’s “Scepticism and Animal Faith”

Jerry Griswold
2 min readOct 10, 2020

During much of the Covid Quarantine (the Fall of 2020 and all of 2021), some two dozen folks interested in these topics met twice a month for lively, two-hour Zoom discussions of my essays to be found on this blog. Since 11/12/2021, I have ceased updating that work here and (offline) have turned to revising it into a book MS. You are welcome to peruse this work such-as-it-was: It’s best to start with the Table of Contents. And you are welcome to communicate with me about these topics: Jerry Griswold at jgriswol@sdsu.edu

Abstract. The Rock” (Wallace Stevens’ last book of poems) was inspired by “Scepticism and Animal Faith” (George Santayana’s single volume summary of his philosophical system). Each of Stevens’ twenty-five poems (including the three-part poem “The Rock”) arises, more or less, from Santayana’s Preface or one of the twenty-seven chapters of the philosopher’s book. As examples indicate, Stevens’ method was to use the philosophers’ universal concepts and convert them into “particulars,” creating poems that provide specifics and illustrative examples of Santayana’s more general ideas.

(You can correspond with Jerry Griswold at jgriswol@sdsu.edu)

To continue to the Table of Contents, click here.

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Jerry Griswold

former literature professor (San Diego State, UCSD, UCLA, UConn, NUI Galway) and literary journalist (NYTimes, LATimes, & elsewhere)