the Fantastic in the short stories by Poe : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Who could tell me about the features of the Fantastic in the short stories by Edgar Allan Poe? A list of the short stories by Poe in which the Fantastic appears?

-- Anonymous, March 11, 2004


"Fantastic" is a cleverly broad word. If it means badly supernatural devices there are indeed very few. Most are obscured, suggestive and with a hint of possible scientific explanations that the characters often deny for their own emotional preferences. Some allegorical or similar tales: "King Pest" and "The Masque of the Red Death". Visionary tales. Fantastic Jules Verne usage of real possibilities and new science abound as in the ballooning stories. Fantasy can be of faraway lands and times with a medieval or European flavor or vaguely contemporary or the realm of criminal psychoses as in "The Black Cat" and "The Tell Tale Heart". Going beyond the bounds is normal to dsolve mysteries in themselves fantastic as in the detective stories. Even humor stories are "fantastic" but not riddled with real spooks or otherworldly magic. Even his language is not wild with Gothic similes but innately metaphoric and symbolic.

Poe's early stories give more rein to the supernatural than later ones. "Ms Found in a Bottle" is a contemporary encounter with the Flying Dutchman of Coleridge in a wild ride into a pop theory of the Polar Holes. "Metzengerstein" is almost a typical German ghost story of venegeance beyond the grave.

I suppose the questioner has a precise definition of the "Fantastic" to sort out the ambiguities?

-- Anonymous, March 11, 2004

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