Relationships Between Poe's Imagery and His View of the Universe
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SubjectPoe, Edgar Allan,1809-1849--Poetry--Criticism and interpretation; Poe, Edgar Allan,1809-1849--Prose--Criticism and interpretation
Poe's images in both his prose and his poetry are closely related to his concept of the universe and man's position in it. The images suggest many of the ideas Poe presents in Eureka. Much of the preparation for this thesis was involved with a careful reading of Poe's work. His critical writing, especially Eureka, was studied in an attempt to make some basic observations about his philosophy. His prose and poetry were then viewed in light of his basic philosophical assumptions. Conclusions were then drawn regarding the appropriateness of Poe's images for his central themes. Secondary sources were consulted either to expand or substantiate some of the arguments of the thesis. Poe describes the universe in terms of repulsion and attraction, forces that work on both the physical and the spiritual dimensions. Repulsion has caused a moving away from unity; consequently, Poe's images reflect the superiority of the past and the inferiority of man's present condition. However, the attractive force sends all in the direction of unity and, therefore, is associated with positive images. In addition, Poe's images suggest man's quest for spiritual understanding and his attempt to reconcile the demands of his body with the demands of his soul.