Aix en Provence


Aix, also called Aix-en-Provence, is a city in France that Stevens says "has long interested me" (672). In his poem, "Holiday in Reality," line 4, Stevens writes "less Aix than Stockholm," comparing the two in his sight of what supposedly would make a good vacation--with Aix, in his view, representing the decadent, artistic, peaceful, and leisurely. According to his letters, Stevens thinks of Aix to be a very pleasant place (though perhaps not as pleasing as Florida). Thoughts of Aix bring him to memories of books (518), of successful people (518, 567), and of doves (610). Stevens even said in one of his letters to Thomas McGreevy that he hopes to have Aix-en-Provence carved on his headstone, along with the initials of several beautiful women whom he knew in his lifetime (671). He never had the opportunity to visit Aix-en-Provence and held it in the esteem of a very exotic and wonderful place. Part of him seemed fine with having not gone, but another portion of his heart was obviously bitter about missing out on such a lovely locale: "I have been working at the office, nothing else: complaining a little about it but content, after all, that I have that solid rock under my feet, and enjoying the routine without minding too much that I have to pay a respectable part of my income to the government in order that someone else representing the government may sit at the Cafe X at Aix or go to lectures at the Sorbonne" (767).

Sources and Further ReadingEdit

Aix-en-Provence tourism page

The Letters of Wallce Stevens at Google Books