Poe’s Aesthetic Terror and the Claims of Art after Jena
This chapter argues that Poe’s terror develops in concert with, and as a complement to, his relentless and unforgiving literary criticism. Considering the set of his tales, and one infamous poem, that share the plot of a scholarly man haunted by the death and return of his beloved, this chapter shows how those tales seek to incorporate and reframe the impulse of the philosophy of art originating in the Jena school of aesthetic criticism. Reading Poe’s dead women tales as pieces that would dramatize the interpretation of aesthetic effect, I show how Poe converts the mere horror of the gruesome into a broader terror that attends the very attempt to know, to locate and explain, the feeling of fear.
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