College of Liberal Arts

Department of English

 

Barbara Cantalupo

"Preludes to Eureka:
Poe's 'Absolute Reciprocity of Adaptation'
in 'Shadow' and 'The Power of Words'"


This essay argues that "Shadow" (1835) and "The Power of Words" (1845), both presenting the character of Oinos (first as narrator/"author" in "Shadow" and later as student/angel in "The Power of Words") form a revealing prelude to important philosophical constructs found in Eureka (1848). These constructs reflect both Poe's cosmology itself and the method involved in producing an "Art-Product" as fully realized as Eureka, one that performs what it describes, and in so doing, allows the reader to experience, in Poe's words, "fancies, of exquisite delicacy, which are not thoughts" (Marginalia 150, in Writings, 2:258).

     

     

     

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