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dc.contributor.advisorCecil, L. Moffitt
dc.contributor.authorKirkland, Joseph Madisonen_US
dc.description.abstractEdgar Allan Poe's poetry, tales, and literary criticism are widely read and studied, but his theory of the universe, Eureka (1848), is frequently ignored or condemned. A selected survey of criticism, however, indicates that Eureka is increasingly receiving more scholarly attention as an integral part of Poe's canon rather than as an eccentric adjunct. Still, there is a need for a thorough study which focuses primarily on Eureka: its origin and composition; its claims as science, aesthetic theory, and literature; and its place in the Poe canon. Investigation shows that there was a definite chronological growth of ideas that became central to Eureka. From the time of "Al Aaraaf" (1829), Poe exhibited a fascination for literary theories of the universe, the relationship between the poet and God, and the place of beauty in art. Studying the poetry, tales, essays, and letters reveals a gradual development of these ideas. During the ten years immediately preceding Eureka's publication, Poe experimented in tales like "Mesmeric Revelation" (1844) with ideas about God, the poet, and the physical universe. Eureka is the culmination of the various strands of Poe's thought. Although Poe may have anticipated some scientific discoveries and practices of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the conceptual scheme he proposes in Eureka has only limited uses. Poe's rejection of a pervading ether and his recognition of two forces, attraction and repulsion, may anticipate later discoveries. His insistence that intuition is a primary mode of scientific discovery anticipates methods used during the early twentieth century. The conceptual scheme in Eureka, however, has not been widely accepted, although it answered questions Poe had about the structure and truth of the universe. Poe's conceptual scheme functions best as the theoretical base for his aesthetic theory. The principles Poe discovered in the universe serve as the principles for his literary theory and practice. Most important, the principles of Eureka may be employed as tools of analysis for his poems and tales, such as "Al Aaraaf," "The City in the Sea," "A Descent into the Maelstrom," and "The Fall of the House of Usher." Since Poe asks that Eureka be remembered as a romance or as a poem, these claims must be considered. Employing Poe's definitions of romance and poem (disregarding length and verse requirements), Eureka can be both. In addition, Eureka may be called a "nonce-form" that includes qualities of all the forms that Poe had previously attempted: poetry, romance, tale, burlesque, satire, science, and criticism. Eureka is the culmination of Poe's writing career, the all-inclusive work that represents a bringing-together of the many varied works he had written during his life. Just as his universe moved from unity to diffusion and back to unity, Poe's writing moved through different diffusions to the final unity which is Eureka. Although it presents many problems, Eureka is Poe's most important work.
dc.format.extentvi, 190 leaves, bounden_US
dc.format.mediumFormat: Printen_US
dc.relation.ispartofTexas Christian University dissertationen_US
dc.subject.lcshPoe, Edgar Allan, 1809-1849en_US
dc.subject.lcshLiterature and scienceen_US
dc.titlePoe's universe: A critical study of Eurekaen_US
dc.typeTexten_US of English
local.collegeAddRan College of Liberal Arts
local.academicunitDepartment of English
dc.identifier.callnumberMain Stacks: AS38 .K567 (Regular Loan)
dc.identifier.callnumberSpecial Collections: AS38 .K567 (Non-Circulating) of Philosophy Christian University

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