Where can I find literary critics on "Some Words With A Mummy?"greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
-- Anonymous, November 05, 2001
What exactly do you need help with? His reference to contemporaries and name puns are dated but the basic story is fairly simple. They revivify a mummy(detailed both archeaologically and in scientific method dsspite Poe suggesting tongue-in-cheek it was a stuporous dream. Their comically urbane discussions pit the nineteenth century pride in progress with the unacknowledged lore of the ancient world that is usually superior always first and a surprise to the listeners. Until they get to the zinger in Twain style fashion where the mummy can find no precedent or rival for their pills, I would assume a popular quack remedy of predigious claims. It makes it seem a grandly elaborate expansion of pretentious ads for modern science being sold to a a naive public. Poe employs this theme of ancient versus modern more than once, especially in humor like his retelling of the Sscherezade story where the sultan finally tires of the "whoppers" told by his new wife which are no more than reports of real events and science in Poe's day.
The conflict between the modern progressive age of science versus the classical world of poetry and first invention is in reality a serious one for Poe(his sonnet on Science, etc.)and a source of dissatisfaction juxtaposed to exhilarating enthusiasm for new discoveries, a tension more easily resolved by humor. Also a way of making the old live again as he reports on astounding progress to his readers.
-- Anonymous, November 07, 2001