""If one no longer believes in God (as truth)," Wallace Stevens once wrote, "it is not possible merely to disbelieve; it becomes necessary to believe in something else. ... I say that one's final belief must be in a fiction." Stevens addressed the concept of a "supreme fiction" throughout much of his career, but many critics feel his poems never realized that concept beyond a theoretical possibility. B.J. Leggett argues that Stevens did indeed achieve the supreme fiction in his often overlooked late poems. To share in the poet's vision, though, Leggett finds that readers must understand the ingenious intertext that runs through this culminating body of work." "After three volumes of difficult and abstract poetry, Stevens, in the last five years of his life, reverted to a refreshingly personal and accessible style. Leggett closely examines The Rock, which is the closing section of Stevens' Collected Poems, and the uncollected poems published in Opus Posthumous, supplying readers with the motifs, conventions, texts, and fictions - or intertexts - on which these works' significance depends. He ultimately reveals a kind of master narrative in Stevens' late poems. Not always explicitly present, this master narrative is based on the supreme fiction. In these late works, then, Stevens gives form to his belief." "Leggett traces the developing concept of the supreme fiction and demonstrates how knowledge of its presence dramatically changes the reading of key poems. His discussion of Schopenhauer's influence on Stevens, together with rich analyses of major poems, challenges to conventional interpretations, and speculation on the direction Stevens' poetry might have taken had he lived longer, all make for provocative reading. Late Stevens is a book for all who thought they knew this poet."--Jacket.