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Untimely Figures: Edgar Allan Poe, Journalism, and the Literary Imagination

Lopez, Lope (2010) Untimely Figures: Edgar Allan Poe, Journalism, and the Literary Imagination. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation is a study of Edgar Allan Poe that illustrates the values for originality and creativity that he sought to institute for literature, and the connections that these values have to literary criticism. This dissertation seeks to accomplish this, first, by performing close readings of Poe's criticism and fiction - especially the Marginalia, which is a cornerstone of this study - in order to demonstrate the importance of discontinuity in Poe's understanding of creativity and historical emergence. I argue that Poe attempted to figure the work of the creative imagination in literature and criticism as a temporal and spatial discontinuity in order to confront the mechanical entrainment produced by the new forms and technologies of mass print. Secondly, the readings performed in this dissertation address and respond to the problems raised recently by Poe studies, which question Poe's relation to the US. This recent work on Poe claims that Poe scholarship has suffered in light of a-historical and foreign studies that have concealed Poe's relation to history. Critics, therefore, have lately proposed a closer contextualization of Poe's work to return him to his rightful place in history as an American author. In disclosing the ongoing intention of Poe's writing to seek discontinuity from temporal entrainment, however, this dissertation illustrates how the contextualization of Poe within "America" proposed by recent Poe studies colludes with the practices that Poe confronted. Further, this dissertation illustrates the discontinuous as an affirmation of historical emergence rather than a desire for an a-historical withdrawal, as numerous contextualizing studies of Poe have done. The readings of Poe offered here serve to illustrate how recent Poe studies - far from offering the authentic version of Poe that they promise - actually function as an effect of the tendencies expressed in journalism that produce a static, linear-chronological conception of time. This dissertation concludes, therefore, that much recent work in Poe studies obscures Poe's understanding of creation, as well as the value for literature and criticism that Poe tied to possibilities for historical emergence.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBove, Paulbove@pitt.eduBOVE
Committee MemberPease,
Committee MemberWatts,
Committee MemberJudy, Ronaldbuchnfar@pitt.eduBUCHNFAR
Committee MemberScott, Williamwdscott@pitt.eduWDSCOTT
Date: 22 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 28 October 2009
Approval Date: 22 June 2010
Submission Date: 8 April 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: criticism and interpretation; Edgar Allan Poe; mass media; american literature; plagiarism
Other ID:, etd-04082010-205613
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:39


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