PRINT Summer 1984


It was when I said,

“There is no such thing as the truth,”

That the grapes seemed fatter.

The fox ran out of his hole.

—Wallace Stevens1

“The Plot against the Giant,” or, “The Good Man Has No Shape”

TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED years ago the form-content relationship was a heated philosophical question. Plato thought that content didn’t matter at all: form, he said, really exists by itself, triumphant in its isolation, crystalline as a dawn light that will never be stained by the heat of a morning. Aristotle, after twenty years in Plato’s school, still had a nagging suspicion that the doctrine of pure Form was a priestly trick of some kind. (Hadn’t Plato learned it, after all, from the priests at Heliopolis in Egypt?) It is said that Aristotle, in his own school later, would forego the quest for pure Form and have his students crawling around in the dirt of the garden, classifying types of

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