Edgar Allen Poe: A Phenomenological View

Edgar Allen Poe: A Phenomenological View

Copyright Date: 1973
Pages: 438
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    Edgar Allen Poe: A Phenomenological View
    Book Description:

    By attempting to suspend moral, ideological, or psychological assumptions, a phenomenological interpretation of literature hopes to reach "the things themselves," the essential phenomena of being, space, and time, as they are constituted, by consciousness, in words. Although there has been a tradition of phenomenological criticism in Europe for the last twenty years, David Halliburton is the first to write a general study of an American author from this particular point of view.

    The book begins with a methodological chapter that sets out the assumptions and procedures of the approach. This is followed by analyses of Poe's major works, exploring such special problems as Poe's treatment of the material world, including technology; the interrelation of body and consciousness; poetic voice; attitudes toward women; and the will to affirmation, plenitude, and unity. The center of interest is neither Poe's biography nor environment but always the meaning of Poe's words. Because these works are shaped by a single imagination and because they are experienced in time, as a process, each work has its own "way of going." The aim of the interpretation is to find this way and go along with it; to live each work dynamically, as it "happens," while tracing its interaction with other works.

    Originally published in 1973.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7304-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[viii])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [ix]-2)
    (pp. 5-18)

    The reader will have gathered, from the epigraphs that head this study, that its orientation is mainly European and phenomenological. The study derives, however, from American and traditional sources as well, and is therefore, in another sense, a work of synthesis. Each point deserves to be amplified, and the best way to do this, it seems to me, is to take them up one at a time. I have accordingly divided the preliminary section of the book into two parts: a methodological introduction, which clarifies phenomenological assumptions and procedures, and this foreword, which will attempt to explain the background of...

    (pp. 21-38)

    This book is, I believe, the first general interpretation of an American author from a phenomenological point of view.

    It will be clear from my remarks in the Foreword that the book is about the writings of Poe and not about phenomenology. That is to say that I am more concerned with the reading of texts than with the illustration of method. What that reading reveals, or fails to reveal, only the book itself can show. I have promised, however, to discuss assumptions and procedures, and to do this I must temporarily reverse this emphasis and talk about phenomenology rather...

  5. 3 POEMS
    (pp. 41-192)

    A poem, for Edgar Allan Poe, is a way of giving presence, or “bodying-forth.” Through the meaning and music of words something is brought into being that had not existed before. The phenomenon so rendered may be a man, as in “Tamerlane” or “Israfel,” or a thing: a city, for example, as in “The Doomed City” and “The City in the Sea,” or an edifice, as in “The Haunted Palace.” If the poetic utterance seems “out of Space—out of Time,” this is because the experiences Poe selects have something autonomous about them, as if they do not quite depend...

  6. 4 TALES
    (pp. 195-374)

    It may be useful to pause a moment on the threshold of the tales and look back at the course we have so far traced. This will enable us to keep our bearings, to relate the pages to come with those which precede, and to maintain, to a reasonable degree, an attitude of critical self-consciousness.

    The foreword endeavored, as the reader will recall, to place the present study in the framework of existing scholarship, and to explain its principal sources and debts. The methodological introduction then sought to clarify the assumptions and procedures of phenomenological interpretation in general, while outlining...

    (pp. 377-412)

    In a space beyond earthly space, in a time beyond earthly time, two beings speak. One is already an inhabitant of this transcendent realm of novelty called Aidenn (IV, 2, 8); the other has just arrived. The dialogue starts at this point because the moment initiates, literally, a new beginning. If the tales take place on this side of the gulf beyond, the “metaphysical dialogues,” as Ransome aptly terms them, take place on the other side—in a site that is beyond the gulf beyond.¹

    Being situated beyond even the extreme limits of human experience does not presuppose discontinuity with...

    (pp. 415-420)

    Isaiah Berlin called his study of TolstoyThe Hedgehog and the Fox,drawing on a distinction made by Archilochus. According to Archilochus, the fox knows many things, the hedgehog one big thing. There are at least two ways in which the maxim may be applied, heuristically, to literature. One way is to decide which authors fall into which classification. The hedgehog family might include, for example, St. John of the Cross, Blake, Nerval, Hart Crane, Rilke, and a number of mystics. The foxes might be, among others, Chaucer, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Stendhal. Applied in this way, the distinction provides...

  9. Index
    (pp. 421-428)