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Anecdote of the Jar Summary & Analysis
by Wallace Stevens

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"Anecdote of the Jar" was written by Wallace Stevens, an important figure in 20th-century American poetry. In the poem, an unnamed speaker places a jar on a hill in Tennessee. As the natural world continues to grow around the jar, the speaker declares that the object becomes a kind of king of the landscape, forcing the surrounding wilderness to rise to meet it. An ambiguous and enigmatic poem, "Anecdote of the Jar" has been subject to a wide range of interpretations in the decades since its publication. As with much of Stevens's work, it might be symbolic of any number of things—from the perils of modern industrialization to the nature of creativity and perspective. And, of course, the poem can also be taken at face value—as simply being about a jar on a hill. "Anecdote of the Jar" was published in Stevens's first book, Harmonium, in 1923.

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