Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

My universe is populated with many wonderful people, without whom this project never would have been possible. At the project’s inception, Sharon Cameron and Amanda Anderson offered unfailingly wise guidance, inspiration, and support, and for their willingness...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-26

Of stone, an almost human form. Legs and genitals mired in frozen earth. A single arm gripped in abbreviated expression, touching rock where hands and head and face should be. Almost a body, equally a mass, it is a thing imperfectly articulated from its medium...

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1. Edgar Allan Poe's Meta/Physics

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pp. 27-56

In 1852, Herbert Mayo, renowned professor of physiology and anatomy at King’s College, London, published in Philadelphia his Popular Superstitions, and the Truths Contained therein, with an Account of Mesmerism, which claimed to make all phenomena—from the “singular facts” of divining rods, clairvoyant trances, and vampires...

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2. Henry Adams's Half-Life

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pp. 57-84

The education of Henry Adams is a remarkably uninhabited autobiography. Written exclusively in the third person by a narrator who repeatedly refers to “Henry Adams” as “passive,” “submissive,” and “a helpless victim” before the “forces” of the universe...

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3. "By An Act of Self-Creation"

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pp. 85-112

The previous two chapters introduced cosmologies that countered the anthropocentric optimism of mesmerism and popular evolutionism by making the human subject’s fusion with cosmic processes—Poe’s gravity, Adams’s entropy—fatal rather than...

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4. Hoodoo You Think You Are?

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pp. 113-138

“Most of the delusions connected with this belief in conjuration grow out of mere lack of enlightenment. . . . Relics of ancestral barbarism are found among all peoples, but advanced civilization has at least shaken off the more obvious absurdities of...

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5. "It Might Be the Death of You"

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pp. 139-166

Published thirty-six years after the appearance of The Conjure Woman, Zora Neale Hurston’s Mules and Men (1935) contributed to the single most important evolution in genre writing on “other” cultures since the advent of local color fiction: the rapid...

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Coda: "The Cosmopolitical Party"

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pp. 167-178

Alternate universes, none our own. Poe’s inrushing, panpsychic things collapsing, with us, into a fatal identity. Adams’s everaccelerating diffusion, the entropic thinning of self, world, and biography. Chesnutt’s conjure metamorphoses, where becoming one with...

Notes

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pp. 179-254

Index

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pp. 255-270

About the Author

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