By Michael J. S. Williams
"A international of phrases" bargains a brand new examine the measure to which language itself is a subject of Poe's texts. Stressing the methods his fiction displays at the nature of its personal signifying practices, Williams sheds new gentle on such matters as Poe's characterization of the connection among writer and reader as a fight for authority, on his expertise of the displacement of an "authorial writing self"; through a "self because it is written"; and on his debunking of the redemptive homes of the romantic image.
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Extra resources for A World of Words: Language and Displacement in the Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe
Smith," whose "presence" conveys a "remarkable something" for which the narrator strives to account (TS 378, 380). He makes a series of inquiries among his acquaintances-all of which, after cryptic encomia, are interrupted at the crucial point, "why, you know, he's the rnan-" (TS 382, 384, 385, 386). In frustration, he resolves to "go to the fountain-head," to visit the General and "demand, in explicit terms, a solution of this abominable piece of mystery" (TS 386). " Or, rather, he discovers an "oddlooking bundle of something" that squeaks the protest "I really believe you don't know me at all" (TS 386, 387).
However, the world signifies only the name Morella as mark of her absence. According to James W. Gargano, Morella's name contains "the resonant Latin root for 'death' and . . the last four letters constitute a diminutive. " Without disputing this idea, perhaps we can also observe that she is associated with the annihilation of the contingent world that is a function of the yearning for the "ONE," and also with the necessary belatedness of ordinary language, which is itself a kind of death-the death of the object.
F In Eureka (1848), Poe comments on "that merest of words, 'Infinity''': "This, like 'God,' 'spirit,' and some other expressions of which the equivalents exist in nearly all languages, is by no means the expression of an idea-but of an effort at one. It stands for the possible attempt at an impossible conception" (EAP 1272). " Moreover, he subsequently offers an analogy that, in effect, textualizes the universe: "In the construction of plot, for example, in fictitious literature, we should aim at so arranging the incidents that we shall not be able to determine, of anyone of them, whether it depends from anyone other or upholds it.
A World of Words: Language and Displacement in the Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe by Michael J. S. Williams