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American TerrorThe Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, and Melville$
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Paul Hurh

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780804791144

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804791144.001.0001

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Critical Terrors

Critical Terrors

Poe’s Aesthetic Terror and the Claims of Art after Jena

(p.75) 2 Critical Terrors
American Terror

Paul hurh

Stanford University Press

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.

Keywords:   Poe, German Romantic criticism, Jena, “The Raven,” “Berenice,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” literary criticism, Coleridge, romanticism

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