The in-scription of women in Poe's tales : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I have a research paper to make, for my fourth year at the Paris Sorbonne. The seminar's theme is "space in literature, the space of the text, the imaginary of the text's space". I have to adlit I still haven't quite understood the meaning of this, but the fact is that I have to write 15 pages about the in-scription of women in Poe's tales. In a sense, the space related to them, both real and physical, or imaginary, the place they have and the space they create. It is quite urgent, and I don't have any idea of how to handle this one. If anyone can help me, thank you.

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2002



Like any good research paper you will have to narrow down the topic a bit. I would suggest starting with 'Ligeia'(1838), as this seems to offer a great deal of promise for the theme of space in Poe.

Pay particular attention to the paragraph (near the beginning) starting "I have spoken of the learning of Ligeia...". This uses a series of spatial metaphors for Ligeia's knowledge. Relating this to the architectural spaces within the rest of the tale should provide a good starting point.

Hope this helps.

-- Anonymous, February 17, 2002

Good Lord. I guess first you will have to deconstruct your teacher's convoluted abstractions. From my ignorant and unappreciative point of view it seems to me there have been several attempts at oneupsmanship in modern literary criticism that would have amused Poe mightily and doubtless inspired an essay or two. Yet they are on to something about the female's special place in Poe's art. The female is usually untouched, beyond life, an Ideal, or plain dead, a goddess like figure whose brilliance is divinely bestowing Hope upon the poet like the stars of the sky or her eyes or simply beaconlike brilliance that the poet looks TOWARD. Their presence hovers and when actually touching upon the living poet a source of awe and terror usually in a dim sensation not a clear vision. This haunting is a trap he cannot escape and can barely endure. Quite different from the heavenly ideal safely out there or the fond memories lost- back in the past. Try Ligeia, "To Helen". Of all the narratives, little or nor attempt is made to get the women talking or narrating themselves. It is always the lover or male observer who describes HIS feelings and HIS relationship. She exists in terms of his emotions more than hers, except for loyal love and that vague haunting presence even of the deceased. Madeleine usher is all too typical of woman's power offstage and then the climactic horrific encounter. Death is their main domain or memory, but they symbolize(tragically, melancholy)the poet's connection to truth, beauty, life, happiness, etc. etc. Which only goes to show you what a generally miserable time Poe had in his quarrel with life. The honest effect of this portrayal of women is Poe being faithful to his point of view and not presuming to roam around from another perspective or give the other person the same value he gives his own emotions.

However he could be happy(Eulalie=Virgina during the happy years)In rare comic pieces women have a more robust existence(The Spectacles). But the strongest Muse sealed by real tragedy is melancholy.

-- Anonymous, February 18, 2002

I do know French if that things easier. J'ai enseigne a l'ecole secondaire du Sacre Coeur il y a trente ans.

-- Anonymous, February 18, 2002

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