Welcome to Frank W. Stevenson’s Website

FRANK W. STEVENSON, who received his Ph.D. from Boston College in comparative philosophy, has served since 1992 as professor of western literature and literary theory at the graduate institute of National Taiwan Normal University. His long career has included teaching in Northeast and Southeast Asia and in the Middle East. In addition to a book that applies Serresian chaos theory to Poe, and along with articles on other modern and postmodern figures (among them Nietzsche, Bataille, Derrida and Deleuze, Dickinson, Kafka and Beckett), Stevenson has written widely and trenchantly on comparative ancient Chinese and Greek metaphysics. He approaches these early cultures from the perspective of their mythopoetic backgrounds and their social praxis of ritual sacrifice and augury, which he takes as the “ground” of their respective modes of metaphysical thought and thus of their cross-cultural philosophical “difference.”
Frank W. Stevenson
Selected Publications
Cover of Chaos and Cosmos in Morrison's Sentence of the Gods Bangalore: St. Joseph's Press, 2005

One of Professor Stevenson’s most original approaches to ancient as well as modern texts is via Serres, who links the dynamics of chaos and complexity with information and communication theory so as to illuminate the relationship of sound to meaning as it arises from “background noise.” This perspective, supplemented by other insights from physics, Stevenson combines with a Nietzsche-driven mythopoetic and anthropological approach to the major stages of Madison Morrison’s cosmological epic. Elsewhere in Chaos and Cosmos he draws upon Girard and Lyotard to complete the first full-length study devoted to the Morrisonian oeuvre in 26 volumes, a body of work that more traditional scholars regard as rivaling in ambitiousness that of Vergil, Dante, Milton and Blake.

Following Nietzsche, Derrida and a central current of poststructuralism, Professor Stevenson likes to read philosophers as literary writers. In an article on Zarathustra, for instance, he explores Nietzsche’s “woman figures” not primarily in relation to the ironic distancing of Derrida’s interpretation but rather to Nietzsche’s own riddles and rhetorical questions, to Kierkegaard’s distinction between ironic and speculative questioning and to Deleuze's Nietzschean return as a series of dice-throws or explosive “possibilities.” In another article he looks at Bataille’s theory of sacrifice — as a mode of “excess” by which we may approach the “sacred” — and at his notion of poetry as a “divination of ruin” in the light of ancient mythopoesis, sacrifice and augury, of Kristeva’s “rejection” and of Deleuze’s “inner bodily noise.” In yet another article he compares the Nietzschean “eternal return” as interpreted by Deleuze (the repetition of difference) with the dynamics of the Chinese I Ching. These pieces have appeared in such publications as The Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, The Journal of Chinese Philosophy and Concentric. An interpretation of the ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi’s Dao in terms of the concept of background noise has recently appeared in Philosophy East and West, a leading comparatist journal.

The Question of the Wind in Zhuangzi