Download PDF by Michael J. S. Williams: A World of Words: Language and Displacement in the Fiction

By Michael J. S. Williams

"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 mild on such concerns 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 homes 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

Sample text

Of a presence singularly command- The Personage in Question 23 ing. There was an air distingue [Poe's italics] pervading the whole man" (TS 378; emphasis mine). The narrator assumes that the unity of effect is motivated by a unity of essence; of course, he discovers instead that it is a product of the careful combination of elements which have already been "admirably modelled" (TS 379). In fact, the General is more artifact than man (a nomination that, as we shall see, itself causes problems for the narrator), and can be regarded as a parodic figure for the work of the poet-"combinations .

His assertion, however, must remain an assertion, since each new interpreter will, like Oinos, have to read his text figuratively in terms of "like" rather than "are! " A further qualification of Agathos's origination is offered by his earlier account of "the modes or . . the methods of what, during mortality, we were accustomed to call Creation" (TS 1213). " The universe is a text whose author is irrecoverably absent. Those present instances that have "the appearance of creation" are in fact always "mediate" or "secondary"; by implication, man's "creations" are at most secondary, perhaps tertiary.

Most obviously, when the narrator offers his account of the self-analysis that preceded his entry into his wife's studies, he hedges it with self-betraying qualifications: "In all this, if I err not, my reason had little to do. My convictions, or I forget myself, were in no manner acted upon by the ideal, nor was any tincture of the mysticism which I read, to be discovered, unless I am greatly mistaken, either in my deeds or my thoughts" (TS 230; emphasis mine). On the one hand, these phrases depict the element of conscious self-examination, but more important, their uncertainty suggests the possibility of error.

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