Abstract

This paper traces the patterns of Poe’s cosmological thinking from the Romantic science fiction of “Al Aaraaf” (1829) at the outset of his career to the poetic cosmology of Eureka (1848) at the end of his career. In particular, I am concerned with the ways that Poe incorporated Koranic, scientific, and aesthetic elements to imagine medial spaces as a place to conduct his poetic, literary, and cosmological practice. As the 1829 headnote to “Al Aaraaf” informs the reader: “Al Aaraaf, among the Arabians, a medium between Heaven and Hell, is supposed to be located in the celebrated star discovered by Tycho Brahe, which burst forth in one night upon the eyes of the world, and disappeared as suddenly.” This article addresses the implications of the occupation of medial spaces such as “Al Aaraaf” in Poe’s work in two directions: the aesthetic and the cosmological. In terms of aesthetics these medial spaces lead Poe to considerations of the Arabesque as cultural figure and aesthetic pattern he would deploy and redeploy as he moved from poetry to short fiction with direct consequences for his treatment of the grotesque, the category that would come to dominate his reputation. In terms of cosmology, these medial spaces would return in Eureka (and in other moments in his work), as a central area of consideration in his theory of the generation and fate of the universe.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-2932
Print ISSN
2150-0428
Pages
pp. 1-19
Launched on MUSE
2014-04-15
Open Access
No
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