The Sphinx-Urgent : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Does anyone havie any information on Poe's The Sphinx? Thank You

-- Anonymous, July 15, 2001


This is a light tale of ratiocination aptly named for the riddle of the Sphinx, a dangerous multi-creature who would kill you if you had not the answer to its riddle. Think of this as a variation of Dupin and the two facets of Poe's mind: the analytical rationalist, scientist and the darkly romantic poet with visions and apprehensions beyond the natural. In this case the mindset of narrator is depressed by the cholera epidemic and readings of mystical books that have increased his sensitivity to omens. When he sees the monster his friend solves the riddle of the Sphinx insect- an ooptical illusion formed upon a sensitized imagination. There is first an interesting philosophical explanation of perceptions and judgments a la Dupin and on the whole, despite the foolish self-affright of the narrator it ends pleasantly enough. Most importantly, this tale gives us true insight of the preeminence of science and empirical reason in Poe's writings, which on the whole have less of the supernatural in them than one may suppose- and much of that subject to later scientific explanation.

-- Anonymous, July 16, 2001

Oh, and the trap of course, which I fell into when first I read it- as Poe intended- is to get caught up in the horror of the narrator's point of "view" of the "monster" despite all the warnings that his reports might not be realistically to be trusted.

-- Anonymous, July 16, 2001

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