City in Italy; in Italian "New City." One of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. 

Stevens's Poems with References:Edit

Variations on a Summer Day,” line 73: “In a man-makenesse, neater than Naples”

George S. Lensing explains that the Stevenses, Wallace, Elsie, and Holly, had vacationed in Christmas Cove in South Bristol, Maine, and Stevens had been quite taken with the place. Eleanor Cook explains that Naples was traditionally a messy city, so to be “neater than Naples” would still connote untidiness. James Logenbach cites a letter Stevens wrote to Hi Simons in which Stevens refers to the French people having a deeper meaning of what war means. With these brief references in mind, Stevens’s poem elicits a feeling of calm apprehension. A warm, slow moving summer day during which one can sit and watch the world go by, knowing that soon, events would occur that prevent such days. In one sense, this event could be fall or autumn, but in a larger sense, this could be the coming war for which Stevens and others were already bracing themselves. The very last line of this poem coincides with this reading: “It was not yet the hour to be dauntlessly leaping.”

“Esthetique du Mal,” line 1 (i.1): “He was at Naples writing letters home”

Cook elaborates that the “he” is an unspecified foreigner and makes a connection between Stevens’s view of poetry and pain. William Bevis adds, “for someone, pain and death seem suddenly less ancient, less remembered, more present and familiar” (249). 


  • Bevis, William. Mind of Winter: Wallace Stevens, Meditation, and Literature.   Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1988. Google Books. Web. 
  • Cook, Eleanor.A Reader’s Guide to Wallace Stevens. Princeton UP: Princeton, 2007. 53. Google Book. Web.
  • Naples