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Traces the ways in which two important poets shaped and reshaped each other's work


"an absolutely necessary book . . . belongs with Longenbach's important study of Stevens as part of a new way of reading the Modernists."--Margaret Dickie, University of Georgia
The Web of Friendship offers a lively critical account of the little-known and long-lived poetic and personal relationship between Marianne Moore (1887-1972) and Wallace Stevens (1879-1955). Robin G. Schulze traces the two poets' give-and-take from the years immediately following the First World War to Stevens's death in 1955 and explores how events like the Great Depression, the rise of leftist poets in the 1920s and 1930s, and the devastation of the Second World War shaped their poetic exchange. She provides a unique account of the poignant personal conversation between Moore and Stevens in the 1950s, their final years of close friendship before Stevens's death. Grounded in manuscript study, The Web of Friendship also uncovers hitherto unknown source materials for a number of Stevens's and Moore's poems that lead to fresh interpretations of their verse.
Finally, Moore's unexplored, principally supportive relationship with Stevens is a complex illustration of cross-gender cooperation that suggests new ways of understanding poetic influence as historically, archivally, and biographically contextualized conversation.
The Web of Friendship makes a valuable contribution not only to the study of Moore's and Stevens's poetry, but to the consideration of modernist poetry generally and the broader study of poetic influence.
Robin G. Schulze is Assistant Professor of English, Pennsylvania State University.