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Poe in Love: Pedophilia, Morbidity, and the Logic of Slavery

From: ELH
Volume 70, Number 3, Fall 2003
pp. 875-901 | 10.1353/elh.2003.0026


This essay takes up the disturbances of intimacy in the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Attempting to bridge historicist and psychoanalytic accounts of Poe--accounts that that address race and sex, respectively? I examine Poe's monstrous re-animate women as projections of an acute anxiety about the uncertain aliveness of the slave, and show how Poe's drive to sequester a racialized corporeal turbulence in the bodies of women means, in turn, that only little girls (not yet burdened with the depredations of adult femininity) appear to him as suitably unthreatening objects for intimate, sexual investment.

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