questions about NARRATIVE OF A. GORDON PYM : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

poe rules, number one... and number two, i have a project to do for my english class, and i chose to do it on poe's PYM. i have found one or two critical essays on this work, but can't find much else. i would have gotten KOPLEY's collection of essays on it, but that will take a month or two to order. so if anyone knows anywhere or any book that would help me out on critiquing this peice, please let me know. thanks a lot,(or if you have anything to say or point out)

patrick sullivan

-- Anonymous, May 07, 2001


Try a GOOD biography which will give you the background to the writing of the book. I've looked at a lot of essays, but don't know if you can find them in your libraries. Have even gone as far as writing a sequel myself, as this seems to have been clearly intended. The book started as a short article then, attracted by the prospects of greater profit, Poe tried over a desperate period of poverty to write a book, using naval exploration resources, themes from his shorter tales and the sea genre as exploited by other writers. You can divide the tale according to the ships that sink underneath Pym(Ariel-Penguin-Grampus-Jane Guy-canoe). Love interest alone is missing. The hole at the poles theory(squashed by Jeremiah Reynolds whose adventures in search of its validity prove the foundation of much of Pym's adventures is similar to the original first hit of Poe "Ms. Found in a Bottle." The hoax narration proved so effective that the British public(who never paid royalties to Poe)thought it non-fiction. A work that seemed to drown in its own nightmares cost Poe dearly, and with the failure of the U.S. Antarctic expedition to prove the hole or anything unusual the whole followthrough quickly died. Baudelaire translated it into French. Jules Verne wrote a sequel of sorts as "The Glass Sphinx."

The stunning, abrupt and supernatural seeming ending(which Pym must have survived, obviously) remains an unsolved mystery, but not devoid of theories and analysis, involving the cryptic mysteries written on the Tsalal cliffs. A good edition of the novel might have essays and prefaces of value to you. as far as critiquing, ask yourself- as Poe did- did it work as a novel? Was Poe reaching out of his depth and lacking the unified control of a short work? Are there too many successive shocks to work dramatically? Do the charatcers that need not have too much depth in a short work look exhausted and thin(besides the starvation, of course)?

-- Anonymous, May 07, 2001

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