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Vol 22 No 12 Dec 17/Jan 18

Book of the Month

Cover of McGregor on Damages

McGregor on Damages

Edited by: James Edelman, Simon Colton, Jason Varuhas
Price: £440.00

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The Wallace Stevens Case

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Thomas C. GreySweitzer Professor of Law, Stanford Law School, USA

ISBN13: 9780674945777
ISBN: 0674945778
Published: August 1991
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Format: Hardback
Price: Out of print

Wallace Stevens was not only one of America's outstanding modernist poets but also a successful insurance lawyer - a fact that continues to intrigue many readers. Though Stevens tried hard to separate his poetry from his profession, the legal theorist Thomas Grey shows that he did not ultimately succeed. After stressing how little connection appears on the surface between the two parts of Steven's life, Grey argues that the poetry, in its pragmatic account of human reasoning, distinctively illuminates the workings of the law.;In this extension of the law-and-literature movement, Grey reveals Stevens as a philosophical poet and implicitly a pragmatic legal theorist, who illustrates how human thought proceeds through ""assertion, qualification, and qualified reassertion"", and how reason and passion fuse in the act of interpretation.;At the same time as he discovers in Stevens a pragmatist philosopher of law, Grey offers new perspective on the poetry itself. In the poems that develop Stevens's ""reality-imagination complex"" - pieces often criticized as remote, a political, and hermetic - Grey finds a body of work that not only captures the reader but also provides a unique instrument for scrutinizing the thought processes of lawyers and judges in their exercise of social power.

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An occupation, an exercise, a work; the unpeopled world; fat cat, ghostly rabbit; steel against intimation; a change not quite completed; the colours of the mind.