Read e-book online A World of Words: Language and Displacement in the Fiction PDF

By Michael J. S. Williams

ISBN-10: 0822307804

ISBN-13: 9780822307808

"A global of phrases" deals 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"; via a "self because it is written"; and on his debunking of the redemptive houses of the romantic image.

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Additional info for A World of Words: Language and Displacement in the Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe

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There is, the narrator admits, "a striking difference in the appearance of the personal man" (TS 388), but the very concept of the "personal man" has been disturbed by his discovery. Even the General's voice-that which crosses the boundary between inside and outside and is conventionally associated with the self-resumes its "clearness, melody, and strength" only by courtesy of a "somewhat singular-looking machine" (TS 379, 388). The General is "remarkable" not only in his being composed of exquisite parts but also in his being the occasion for remarks; indeed, he is also composed of the fragments of gossip that, as Auerbach suggests, have created this "self-made" hero of the age.

This tale is one of several in which Poe employs the concept of metempsychosis to examine the puzzling nature of personal identity;" Clearly, the apparent translation of a "self" from one body into another must raise questions about the nature of that self and its conditions of existence-its "principium individuationis" (TS 231). The narrator of "Morella" recounts the apparent transmigration of the identity of his dead wife, the formidably erudite Morella, into the body of their daughter, "to which in dying she had given birth" (TS 233).

In this allegory of the sign, the signifier is necessarily motivated by the signified, indeed is identical with it. If the Absolute motivates all signifiers, then distinctions between them collapse-all bodies become Morella's body-and the contingent world dissolves in perfect repetition of the same: "And I kept no reckoning of time or place, and the stars of my fate faded from heaven, and therefore the earth grew dark, and its figures passed by me, like flitting shadows, and among them all I beheld only-Morella.

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A World of Words: Language and Displacement in the Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe by Michael J. S. Williams


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