A World of Words: Language and Displacement in the Fiction by Michael J. S. Williams

By Michael J. S. Williams

"A global of phrases" deals a brand new examine the measure to which language itself is a subject of Poe's texts. Stressing the methods his fiction displays at the nature of its personal signifying practices, Williams sheds new mild on such concerns as Poe's characterization of the connection among writer and reader as a fight for authority, on his wisdom of the displacement of an "authorial writing self"; by way of a "self because it is written"; and on his debunking of the redemptive homes of the romantic image.

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Have already set in order," as Poe puts it in his 1842 review of Longfellow (CW 11: 73). The implication that artistic creation is always a form of quotation is revealed in the narrator's wish that his "young and talented friend, Chiponchipino, the sculptor, had but seen the [General's] legs" (TS 380); presumably the sculptor would have delighted in such a model. But, of course, the convention that art imitates life is here ironized; the proposed original is already a copy modeled to surpass "the marble Apollo" (TS 379).

It is at this point in his account that he oilers his summary of Locke, as if asserting his credo in the face of threat. Certainly Schelling attacked Locke as antiphilosophical, asserting that his empiricism, like that of Francis Bacon, attempted "to measure the unlimited hy the limited, and to extend the finite into the infinite. "24 Schelling's "doctrines of Identity" are of a different order from the concept of personal identity to which the narrator subscribes. Schelling's idealism asserts not distinctions between individual selves, but the undifferentiated identity of all reality as it rises from the Absolute.

Another, related question is posed by the case of corporeal reduction. By how much can the material body be diminished, how many limbs and organs can be removed, before personal identity is altered or lost? In "The Man That Was Used Up" (1839), this question is raised in the context of the disjunction between a public identity created by a combination of "personal appearance" and gossip, and a personal identity made ambiguous by corporeal reduction. The tale has been read as a satire directed at the contemporary enthusiasm for the gadgets of the mechanical age, an attack on the mindless celebrity worship of the "mob," and as a dismantling of either Vice President Richard M.

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