A Narrative of Subjectivity in Central Aesthetic Role in Edgar Allen Poe’S Gothic Stories

Essay by ainoxtinaUniversity, Master'sB-, October 2014

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A Narrative of Subjectivity in Central Aesthetic Role in Edgar Allen Poe'S Gothic Stories Bui Hoang Nga (student ID A2106143) Topics in American Renaissance Literature Professor Frank Stevenson November 20th 2013

Widely acclaimed to be the masterpieces of Gothicism and origins of the

detective genre, short stories written by Edgar Allan Poe, published mostly in the

early 19th centuries, had established worldly literary milestones and evidenced the

writer's timeless influences upon not only literature but also other studies on

humanity, specifically psychology. In his writings, Poe managed to achieve "a

unity of effect" in which different aesthetic tools being employed, in a relative

economy of words, contribute toward a key tone over the whole story. One of the

most effective and recurring aspects of Poe's oeuvre is the intensified narrative

subjectivity, which appears to be his distinctive aesthetic trait against other writers

of his time. With an origin from the Romanticism, this stylized subjectivity in

Poe's acted as the central mean to deliver the horror theme of classic Gothic

fiction, provide methods for contemporary psychological studies, and open up

future case studies for other scholar fields such as philosophy and psychoanalysis.

In the light of such interpretation, this essay attempts to examine the role of the

subjective narration in two of Poe's short stories: The Tale-tell Heart and The Fall

of the House of Usher.

Born and bred in the age of Enlightenment, Poe, like many other writers of

his time, tempts to project reality through a manipulative lens of Romanticism.

However, unlike Emerson and his peers' concentration in optimism, Poe, in a

much more extreme manner, surpasses the delighted stage of individualism and

enters himself into a much more shadowy area, the realm of desperation and

ultimate obsession and madness. Both The Tell-tale Heart and The Fall of...