what book of poe deal with race?

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what book of poe's deals with race?

-- Anonymous, October 14, 2003


ealing with race or anything political? A little remote. The Twainesque character of Jupiter in "The Gold Bug" is nothing but a linguistic cariacature. Probably you mean the novel "The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym" which has a number of comments developing about blacks, the worst perhaps lying in the mysterious duality of light and darkness, the origins of the Southernmost islands with the worst savages, and prior to that the black cook mutineer on board the Grampus.

Poe's possible allusions to the inferiority and even evil degeneracy of blacks is really not so general. The "polarization" (sorry for the pun) is another example of Poe splitting the extraordinary to the extremes wrapped in a mystery. The whiteness is equally if not more scary,a theme reprised by melville with more justification in studies of Asian culture. The South Seas sources(Jermeiah Reynolds) that Poe drew most heavily upon in fact are based on just such a seemingly degenerate and violent indigenous culture near Tierra Del Fuego also commented upon by the Wilkes Expediton which Poe awaited in vain for more facts to guide his possible sequel- the missing final chapters supposedly of the "Pym" manuscript.

Poe's attidudes were likely understood to be the common ones of the day(even those held by westerners like Lincoln and even many norhterners). Mostly he was indifferent to social issues except as they related to expansionism and blight, education, American literary culture, the obsolescence of war, the promise and romance of scientific progress and new knowledge, the tyranny of owners and bosses(i.e. editors and critics). Some equally naive and crude anti-semitic humor. Antipathy toward nobility that seems more generic American liberalism than the Godwin socialism in aristocratic Europe.

Poe did sell his mother in law's property inheritance of a slave. His own financialand life style situation in some ways more insecure and desperate he might not have seen the Virginian and Maryland slaves as being in such a bad state. Most of the Revolutionary fervor now become tradition had less philosphical reflection behind it than the literary studies that wholly absorbed him. His own estrangement from the northern literary establishment split from the south put him in stubborn conflict with any position they might hold, including some articles attibuted to Poe(possibly not his though?) that attacked the abolitionists and defended the South in the typical ideological terms.

-- Anonymous, October 14, 2003

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