Reading at the Social Limit: Affect, Mass Culture, and Edgar Allan Poe
Stanford University Press, 1995 - 259 pages
The work of Edgar Allan Poe and his place in the literary canon continues to provoke debate. Many critics have been puzzled as to how Poe can stand simultaneously as the germinal figure of a central modernist trajectory (leading via Baudelaire to French Symbolism and thence to the high modernism of Eliot and others) and as the acknowledged pioneer of several durable mass-cultural genres, including detective and science fiction and certain modes of sensational or Gothic horror. Arguing that Poe is not exceptional but exemplary in this ambivalent relationship to mass culture, the author offers a new theory of mass culture and ideology through extended analysis of four motifs in Poe's works: the notion of the uncanny and its link to anxieties about originality; Gothic horror and identification; the confessional psychopath; and the figure of the dupe and the logic of the hoax.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
aesthetic already ambivalence American analysis anxiety appears attempt authority becomes beginning body calls character circulation communication confession constitutes course critical death describes desire discourse distinction double effect embodiment essentially example exists fact fantasy feel figure finally force hand idea identification identity ideological imaginary imagination impossible individual interest interpretation kind Lacan language less letter literary logic marked mass culture meaning ment mesmeric mind mode narrative narrator narrator's nature never notion novel object offers once one's originality paradoxical particular performative person perverse pleasure Poe's poem position possible precisely principle produces reader reading reason reference reflection relation seems seen sense sentimental signifier simply simultaneously social limit society story structure suggests symbolic takes tale thing tion turn understanding universe visible void whole Wilson writing