By Michael J. S. Williams
"A international 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 information of the displacement of an "authorial writing self"; through a "self because it is written"; and on his debunking of the redemptive houses of the romantic image.
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Additional resources for A World of Words: Language and Displacement in the Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe
And always the question of personal identity is implicated in the ambiguities of the relationship between self and language, and the directly related issue of the fate of a self once it becomes written in the language of its text. Some tales are more explicit and literal than others in their line of attack on the assumption of a stable, essential self, hut the interrogation of personal identity recurs consistently, regardless of any identifiable dominant mode-in the comic and satiric tales as well as in those apparently serious.
Or, rather, he discovers an "oddlooking bundle of something" that squeaks the protest "I really believe you don't know me at all" (TS 386, 387). P Is the "odd-looking bundle of something" the General? Is the General merely a combined creation of artifice and gossip? The narrator begins by reciting a series of stock phrases that emphasize his assumption of the essential unity of the General's character: "There was something . . remarkable . about the entire individuality of the personage in question.
Burned with fires it had never before known; but the fires were not of Eros" (TS 229). " Clearly a part of himself is not open to analysis. Similarly, after he denies the influence of "the ideal" or of "mysticism," he feels a "forbidden spirit enkindling" within him. It is "forbidden" in the sense of being prohibited by the rational definition of selfhood to which he holds. He has temporarily "abandoned [him]self" to his wife's studies, and these release within him forces that threaten the dissolution of this reasonable self.