#3 = Vol. 1, No. 3 = Spring 1974
The SF Element in the Work of Poe: A Chronological Survey
After an initial listing of the books of Poe published during his lifetime, this survey includes seventy-three tales, ten essays, and three poems listed in order of first publication, whether in serial or book form, together with one letter entered by the date of writing. The listing of the tales is complete, but from the other writings I have included only those of SF interest or interpretive relevance. Likewise, the only secondary materials listed, aside from bibliographies, are those relevant to the SF elements of Poe's work. The only dates given are those of first publication, but it should be understood that Poe's tales and poems, almost without exception, underwent a series of revisions; for details, consult the standard editions and bibliographes listed below.
STANDARD EDITIONS AND PRIMARY BIBLIOGRAPHIES
¶1. James A. Harrison, ed. The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe. 17v. 1902. The Bibliography is at 16:354-79.
¶2. John W. Robertson. Bibliography of the Writings of Edgar A. Poe. 2v. 1934.
¶3. C.F. Heartman and J.R. Canny. A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe. 1940.
¶4. John W. Ostrom, ed. The Letters of Edgar Allan Poe. 2v. 1948.
¶5. Thomas Ollive Mabbott. Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe. Volume 1: Poems. 1969. Gives bibliographical details on the poems.
BOOKS BY POE PUBLISHED DURING HIS LIFETIME
B1. Tamerlane and Other Poems. By a Bostonian. 1827.
B2. Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems. 1829. See #1.
B3. Poems. 1831. See #2.
B4. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. 1838. See #28.
B5. The Conchologist's First Book. 1839. An embarrassing item in the
Poe canon: for a financial consideration he allowed his name to appear as the author of what is essentially an economy reissue of Thomas Wyatt's A Manual of Conchology (1838); Poe contributed the title page, the preface, and a shell classification plagiarized from The Conchologist's Text-Book (1833) by Captain Thomas Brown.
B6. Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. 2v. 1840. Contains ## 3-17, 23, 25-28, 30-34. Fundamental to all Poe's creative work is the philosophical assumption that man exists in a state of total deception as a result of the idiopathic nature of his awareness, limited externally by his circumscribed position in space and time, and internally by his personal experiences, eccentricities, and, in particular, his unreliable, gullible, and dissecting reason. The corollary distinction, formally introduced by the title of this volume, is used interpretively in the annotations that follow. In the grotesque tales Poe is concerned with revealing the heterogeneous, deceptive, and therefore grotesque nature of everyday reality, which is understood as a fabricated product of the coordinates of time, space, and self. However, the blurring perspective of the "half-closed eye" (see, in $1, 7:xxix ["Letter to B-," 1831]; 8:215 [1836 review of The American in England by Lieutenant Slidell]; 4:166 [#40], 14:189-90 ["A Chapter of Suggestions," 1845]; 16:164 [1849 Marginalia entry]), an image initially for the imagination and subsequently for that combination of reason and imagination that might be called intuition (see #40), facilitates a process of fusion which, while destructive of this illusory reality, allows for the perception of that true reality which is fluid and unified. Because, to the half-closed eye, reality is comparable to an arabesque tapestry with its completely interwoven, convoluted, and fluid design, that superior reality may be appropriately designated arabesque reality. The arabesque tales, then, may be identified as those oriented toward the evocation of arabesque reality.
Two further aspects of Poe's underlying rationale are of particular relevance to the SF concerns of this essay. First, Poe rejects the post-Cartesian opposition of matter and spirit; there is no spiritual reality (see ## 60 & 62); all existence is material-and paradoxically what is falsely considered spiritual pervades all matter. The arabesque realm, is a material state, and is thus comparable to the alternative dimensions of SF. Second, the transition from grotesque to arabesque reality is often effected by a process very similar to the space-time warp of SF in that the translation may be effected accidentally by natural phenomena (vision- and reason-disorienting "arabesque" landscapes, as in #42, or the dizzying experience of falling, whether down a whirlpool, as in #8, or in love, as in #47), and in that such phenomena may be mechanically duplicated in chambers furnished along arabesque lines (as in ## 9, 26, 37) or in an artfully landscaped garden (as in #50). If Poe's creative work can be accepted as a unified totality-and current scholarship seems to endorse this view (see, for example, Modenhauer ¶45, Lynen 1151, and Hoffman 1158)-then the two SF features color the entire corpus. Thus, in a sense to be assumed throughout this survey, all of Poe's creative work is marginally science-fictional.
B7. The Prose Romances of Edgar A. Poe. 1843. Contains ## 31 & 40.
B8. The Raven and Other Poems. 1845.
B9. Tales. 1845. Contains ## 12, 32, 34, 38, 40, 41, 43, 51, 54, 55, 62, 75.
B10. Eureka: A Prose Poem. 1848. See #80.
TALES AND MISCELLANEOUS PIECES
#1. Al Aaraaf 1829. In this the longest of Poe's poems, the nova observed by and named for Tycho Brahe is identified by name with "Al Aaraaf, among the Arabians, a medium between Heaven and Hell" (15, p99) and converted into a planet that wanders through interstellar space. Poe presents this planet, now momentarily at rest and illuminated by four suns in the constellation Cassiopeia, as an aesthetic realm(approximating arabesque reality) inhabited by lesser angels and exceptional mortals like Angelo, whose business is to mediate between heaven and the many worlds of God's universe. It is the "happier star" mentioned in "Sonnet-To Science," which functions as a proem to "Al Aaraaf"; here the world of myth, displaced on earth by science, has taken refuge. Following Angelo's death on earth and the close approach of Al Aaraaf, "the world ... was into chaos hurled ... and rolled, a flame, the fiery heavens athwart" (§2:233-36). This application of the worlds-in-collision concept, here presumably a metaphorical equivalent of the apocalypse of mind that Angelo experiences, may be compared with a similar event in #33. See Stovall ¶12 for the argument that Poe intends an allegorical adumbration of his theory that Passion (represented by the fall of Angelo and Ianthe, unfortunate because merely metaphorical) and Truth (various forms of science and intellectualization) have nothing to do with Beauty, the subject of Poetry; and see Pettigrew and Pettigrew ¶16 for a rebuttal of Stovall's notion that the earth is literally destroyed by the near collision.
#2. The City in the Sea. 1831 (as The Doomed City). A poem of SF interest, given its relation to myths of sunken cities like Atlantis and Gomorrah. Compare the sinking house in #32.
#3. Metzengerstein. Jan 14 1832. Arabesque. An ancient prophecy relating to a family feud fulfilled through metempsychosis, a horse's stepping out of a tapestry into life, and the fiery destruction of a great house. Compare the destruction of a house in #32, the art/life dichotomy of #48, and the appropriate conflation of the three tales in Jean Epstein's famous film, The Fall of the House of Usher (1928).
#4. The Duc De L'Omelette. Mar 3 1832. A satiric grotesque on the refinements of sybaritism (directed at N.P. Willis and parodying Disraeli's The Young Duke ), which involves a card game with the devil; cf #7.
#5. A Tale of Jerusalem. June 9 1832. A grotesque on human gullibility (burlesquing an episode in Horace Smith's historical novel, Zilla, A Tale of the Holy City ) in which the city of Jerusalem, beleaguered by the Romans, is made emblematic of man's imprisoned perceptions. This is the first of three pieces set in the past (see ## 16, 17).
#6. Loss of Breath: A Tale Neither in nor Out of "Blackwood." June 9 1832. Grotesque; a surrealistic fantasy in which the idea that death involves not loss of life but merely loss of breath is combined with a whimsical but, for biographers of Poe's psyche, revealing equation between loss of breath and loss of sexual potency on the narrator's wedding night.
#7. Bon Bon. Dec 1 1832. A satiric grotesque on metaphysical systematizers in which the devil (cf #4) rejects the soul of the protagonist, a philosopher-chef, and expresses his preference for fat philosophers.
#8. MS. Found in a Bottle. Oct 19 1833. Proto-SF on one level; voyage from the grotesque to the arabesque; the first of three sea tales (see ## 29 & 41). The whirlpool serves to introduce the narrator to a supernal or arabesque reality which transcends his previous reliance on reason. The narrator finds himself on a huge and weird ship made of porous wood, which seems to be a stretched version of his original vessel, a composite of all ships, and even related to the cork with which he stops the bottle containing his manuscript-the bottle that he throws overboard before the final descent. A spurious end-note indicates Poe's knowledge of Symmes' "holes at the poles" theory and allows for the possibility that the "DISCOVERY" towards which the narrator is headed will be of a world within a hollow earth, like that depicted by Captain Adam Seaborn (John Symmes) in Symzonia (1820). The concluding reference to "ramparts of ice ... like the walls of the universe," together with the whirlpool motif, may be taken as evidence that this tale, like many of the others, is an allegorical foreshadowing of Poe's cosmology in Eureka and thus SF in a very literal sense. See comment on #79.
#9. The Assignation. Jan 1834 (as The Visionary). Arabesque. The protagonist, a decorist whose apartment compares with the one described in #26, q.v., demonstrates his mastery of the paths between this life and the afterlife, whereupon he and his mistress escape the tyranny of the jealous husband by committing suicide.
#10. Berenice. Mar 1835. Arabesque. In this most gruesome of tales, the narrator's obsession with the teeth of his "dead" cousin Berenice derives from their whiteness. Poe consistently uses the omni-color white to connote the unified arabesque dimension, and often uses women as symbols of a protagonist's propensity for arabesque awareness; cf ## 11, 26, 32, 47, 55, 82.
#11. Morella. Apr 1835. Arabesque. The identity of the narrator's wife passes into the daughter that is born at the moment of the mother's death; i.e., in an arabesque context, dying and being born are the same.
#12. Some Passages in the Life of a Lion: Lionizing. May 1835. A grotesque on the vagaries of fashion and literary reputation.
#13. The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall. June 1835. SF on one level; journey from the grotesque to the arabesque. In the context of a satiric hoax (the journey begins on April 1st), this tale describes in minute physical detail a journey by balloon to a moon inhabited by diminutive, mute, earless beings. A passing reference to the concavity of the north pole could be an allusion to Symmes' theory (see #8). In an end-note Poe compares his hoax with the famous "Moon Hoax" perpetrated by Richard Adams Locke in the same year, explaining why Locke's more immediately successful deception is the inferior work. For the sources of Poe's scientific information see Bailey ¶20. Verne's From the Earth to the Moon (1867) is heavily indebted to "Hans Pfaall."
Although "Hans Pfaall" is overtly the most science-fictional of Poe's tales, I have argued in ¶55 that the satiric attack on the limitations of human knowledge exemplified by the opening description of the Dutch burghers (cf #30) is inconsistent unless the account of the trip to the moon is not the hoax many of the burghers assume it to be, and that Pfaall dies in the explosion at take-off, the trip to the moon being an allegorical rendering of his transference to an arabesque after-life. The hoax form, in providing objective evidence of human gullibility, carries for Poe the philosophical implication that reality itself is a hoax. Hence a hoaxical realism is present in Poe's work and ties in with an overall technical strategy of deception (cf ## 8, 29, 41, 59, 61, 69, 74, 83).
#14 King Pest: A Tale Containing an Allegory. Sept 1835. A grotesque low-life farce and anti-Jacksonian political satire cast in terms of a contrast between a deceptive pestilential realm, made so by King Pest and five characters representing man's distorted perceptions, and the liberated arabesque reality represented by the sea and two sailors. As in "The Masque of the Red Death" (#49), the plague can be interpreted as life itself.
#15. Shadow: A Parable. Sept 1835. The first of six poetic, metaphysical pieces (see ## 25, 34, 43, 70, 80). Oinos describes the entrance of the shadow of death while he and six companions were in a room with the corpse of a friend "in a dim city called Ptolemais" (cf #49). De Falco in ¶49 suggests that this parable makes analogical use of the supplanting of the Ptolemaic system by the Copernican and points to an astrological reference; cf #79.
#16. Scenes from Politian. Dec-Jan 1835-36. The only play by "the histrionic Mr.Poe."Although having such Poeish characteristics as the obsessive awareness of deception and the suggestion of man's doppelganger nature, this unfinished verse melodrama, set in Rome, is based on an historical murder in Kentucky arising from a triangle of jealous relationships.
#17. Four Beasts in One: The Homo-Cameleopard. Mar 1836. A grotesque on human dignity with political implications, this tale, set in the past, characterizes in spatial, temporal, and idiopathic terms, the contradictory, deceptive, and heterogeneous nature of the human state and the grotesque nature of man as represented by the King of Antioch in the form of a cameleopard (i.e., giraffe).
#18. [Review:] Mrs. K. Miles's "Phrenology." Mar 1836. Attests to Poe's belief in phrenology (cf #20). References to the organs of causality and ideality inform Poe's criticism, while a number of the tales incorporate satire on phrenology (## 12, 36, 66, 69). See Hungerford ¶13.
#19. Maelzel's Chess Player. Apr 1836. An essay demonstrating that the Automaton Chess Player, invented by Baron Kempelen and later owned by Mr. Maelzel, was not a machine and depended on the agency of someone concealed within the box on which the chessboard rested. Von Kempelen reappears in #83, a science-fictional tale. See Wimsatt ¶18 for a discussion of Poe's copious and unacknowledged use of Sir David Brewster's analysis of the Automaton Chess Player in his Letters on Natural Magic (ca 1832).
#20. [Review:] Robert Walsh's Didactics--Social, Literary, and Political. May 1836. Objects to the author's ridicule of phrenology (cf #18).
#21. [Review:] Sheppard Lee. Sept 1836. This review of a tale of metempsychosis instructs its readers that such a tale should be written "as if the author were firmly impressed with the truth, yet astonished at the immensity of the wonders he relates," which of course applies to all SF but bears here particularly on ## 3 & 58.
#22. [Review:] J.N. Reynolds' South Sea Expedition. Jan 1837. Relevant here because of Poe's apparent interest in the Symmes theory (see ## 8 & 13), the importance of the south pole in Pym (#29), and Poe's deathbed cry for someone called Reynolds.
#23. Mystification. June 1837. Grotesque. Baron Von Jung's satiric exploitation of the distinction between appearance and reality in the interests of "that species of grotesquerie" called mystification may be read as Poe's artistic manifesto on the grotesque.
#24. [Review:] J.L. Stephens' Arabia Petraea. Oct 1837. Reflect's Poe interest in cryptic and prophetic pronouncement; cf the messages carved on the rock near the conclusion of Pym (#29).
#25. Silence: A Fable. 1837. This second of the metaphysical pieces (see #4) might be described as surrealistic, existential, or supernatural fantasy; an enigmatic devil's version of Christ's temptation in the wilderness.
#26. Ligeia. Sept 1838. Arabesque. The dead Ligeia, who was the narrator's first wife and who represents arabesque reality, usurps the form of the narrator's more mundane second wife while the latter is dying. The weirdly furnished chamber in which it takes place appears in some cabalistic fashion to be the agency of the transformation. Critics differ as to whether the events should be taken in supernatural terms or as indicating that the narrator, subject to hallucinations, murders his second wife. Many of Poe's tales, and all the arabesques, employ a technique of "fluid form" whereby the reader is encouraged to maintain a variety of interpretations, often contradictory, in a state of suspension. The surface of such a tale thus becomes the equivalent of a shifting arabesque tapestry. Cf ## 10-11.
#27. How to Write a Blackwood Article. Nov 1838. A satiric grotesque in which Mr. Blackwood, the famous editor, advises an aspiring authoress either to get herself into, or imagine herself in, a predicament such as "no one ever got into before," and then to describe the sensations she experiences with an "air of erudition." See #28.
#28. A Predicament: The Scythe of Time. Nov 1838. Grotesque combining surrealistic fantasy with a parody of the Gothic tale. Having experienced or imagined the literal impact of time's more usually metaphorical scythe, the authoress of #27 is able to describe some truly heightened sensations. Cf #53.
#29. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. 1838. Proto-SF on one level; voyage from the grotesque to the arabesque; the second of the sea tales (see ## 8 & 40). In this, Poe's only completed novel, the motifs of imaginary voyage and strange catastrophe are combined with many marvelous elements, including a death ship, a black land whose black inhabitants have black teeth, variegated water, white and red animals, mystic script carved in rock, all culminating in a land of total whiteness.
The novel was written in part as a hoax, and for securing verisimilitude Poe relies heavily on books relating to the sea, such as Reynolds' South Sea Expedition (see #22, and Bailey 1120). There are at least two sequels to Pym: Verne's science-fictional, materialistic The Sphinx of the Ice Fields (1897) and H.P. Lovecraft's somewhat more visionary, perhaps more Poesque At the Mountains of Madness (1931). Believing Pym to be incomplete, Bailey in ¶20 suggests that the conclusion would have involved the discovery of an inner world similar to Symzonia (see #8) but called Pymzonia. This would greatly enhance the SF aspects of the tale, but most critics now believe Pym to be complete.
O'Donnell's case for the completeness of Pym, probably the best that can be made, depends on narrative parallels which suggest that the last half of the tale folds back over the first half and thus provides a clue to how Pym escapes from the concluding predicament (see ¶35). (A forthcoming article of my own-"Devious Voyage: The Singular Narrative of A. Gordon Pym"corroborates O'Donnell by showing that, leaving aside §1 which is a microcosm of the whole, in broad thematic terms, §§2-13 are exactly parallel in reverse order to §§14-25. And the number of chapters allotted to these matching themes corresponds exactly.) O'Donnell goes on to draw an analogy with the concept outlined in Eureka (#80) of an expanding and contracting universe. The overturning of the boat in §13 appears to correspond to the bouleversement in "Hans Pfaall" (#13) when the gravitational pull of the earth gives way to that of the moon, and to a similar moment in Eureka when the force of repulsion gives way to that of attraction.
#30. The Devil in the Belfry. May 18 1839. This grotesque allegorical fantasy, which describes the consternation caused by the arrival of an outsider, a French devil, at an enclosed Dutch village, points to the illusory conception of reality that man enjoys as a consequence of his limited position in time and space. The locale of Verne's Dr. Ox (1874) may derive from this tale and #13; the oxygen-invention in the story may owe something to the nitro-extraction of #34.
#31. The Man That Was Used Up. Aug 1939. A grotesque political satire in which the deceptive nature of reality and the "inventive nature" (in a dual sense) of the age are typified by a general whose impressive appearance and reputation depend on artificial limbs and other mechanical apparatus. Compare the androids and cyborgs of modern SF.
#32.The Fall of the House of Usher. Sept 1839. Arabesque. Usher, and by extension his house, torn between the desire for arabesque reality represented by Madelaine, and the hold of common reality represented by the narrator, succumbs finally to the arabesque impulse. The story can be read as a dramatization of the collapse into unity of the Eureka universe (#80); see Beebe ¶27. The sentience of all matter, as proposed in #62, as well as in #80, provides a science-fictional rationale for the sentience of Usher's house; see Robinson ¶33 and St. Armand ¶57. For vampiric interpretations of Madelaine that make the tale supernatural fantasy on one level, see Kendall ¶37 and Bailey ¶38.
#33. William Wilson. Oct 1838. This allegorical fantasy of an externalized conscience is the first seven grotesques centering on a supernatural or psychological double-a doppelganger (see ## 38, 52, 55, 72, 77, 82). On the importance of the doppelganger motif in Poe, see Quinn 1129, passim, and Moldenhauer ¶45, in which the motif is shown to be integral to a unitary conception of Poe's work. Compare Verne's "Master Zacharius, or the Clockmaker Who Lost His Soul" with both this tale and #30, and "Fritt-Flacc" which is an inferior imitation of this tale.
#34. The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion. Dec 1839. SF in part; the third of the metaphysical pieces (see #15); a transcription of a post-apocalyptic conversation between two angels that in some ways anticipates Eureka (#80). The end of the world occurred when a passing comet (cf #1) deprived Earth's atmosphere of its nitrogen and thus caused it to ignite, which is of particular SF interest because, in Moskowitz's words, "Earth had never before been wiped out in fiction in quite this astronomical and scientifically sound fashion" (136, p55). Compare Wells's "The Star" (1897) and especially In the Days of the Comet (1906).
#35. The Journal of Julius Rodman. Jan-June 1840. An unfinished novel (a "western"); in some ways a land-locked version of Pym (#29) with the same black-white opposition and treacherous natives. In a voyage of discovery and adventure beyond the Rocky Mountains, the protagonist journeys through a deceptive temporal reality, typified by the shifting sandbars, to a presumably arabesque realm perhaps prefigured by the occasional descriptions of bucolic retreats, arabesque landscapes like those of #41.
#36. The Business Man. Feb 1840. A grotesque in which the protagonist, thanks to an unusually well-developed organ of order (see #18), is adept at the remunerative business of double-dealing.
#37. The Philosophy of Furniture. May 1840. This essay describing a bedroom is relevant to the transforming function of the arabesque rooms in the tales.
#38. The Man of the Crowd. Dec 1840. In this second of the doppelganger grotesques (see #33), the double, an old man whom the narrator feels impelled to follow, seems to embody unacknowledged guilt. But the continuing gathering and dispersal of the crowd, seen in terms of dualities or a totality, suggests the contraction and expansion of the Eureka universe (#80), and the old man's love of the crowd seems to indicate an impetus to unity, a positive force in Poe (cf #52).
#39. Why the Little Frenchman Wears His Hand in a Sling. 1840 (?). A grotesque on idiopathic deception: each of two suitors thinks he is holding the hand of the lady seated between them.
#40. The Murders in the Rue Morgue. Apr 1841. The first of five tales of ratiocination (see ## 51, 54, 65, 75). The defeat of the plodding Prefect of Police by the brilliantly analytical Dupin in the solution of a murder case points, in rather complicated allegorical terms, to the difference between a deceptive reality contingent upon conventional reason and the awareness of arabesque truth by way of that combination of reason and imagination called intuition. On the relationship between Poe, Dupin, Usher, God, and the universe of Eureka (i.e., on reading the detective tales as shadowy dramatizations of Eureka), see Daniel ¶26; Davidson ¶28, pp2l3-22; Wilbur ¶43; and Moldenhauer ¶45.
#41. A descent into the Maelström. May 1841. Proto-SF on one level; the third sea tale involving a movement from grotesque to arabesque reality (see ## 8 & 29). The narrator escapes the whirl (see comment on #8 for the relationship to Eureka) not so much because of the behavior of a cylinder in a vortex (the scientific information here is spurious and part of Poe's hoax on rationalistic readers) as because of the changed apprehension of reality which he gains from the experience: an awareness of arabesque reality abolishes the distinction between life and death. There is a whirlpool episode derived from this tale in Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (1869), which is also indebted to ## 8 & 29.
#42. The Island of the Fay. June 1841. The first of five arabesque landscape pieces (see ## 50, 67, 78, 85). Here everything is indefinite and fusion-oriented.
#43. The Colloquy of Monos and Una. Aug 1841. The fourth metaphysical piece (see #17). In a post-apocalyptic state, Monos tells Una about the growing reliance on reason which preceded the end of the world and about his sensations while dying (cf #28). Aspects of the account anticipate Eureka (#80).
#44. Never Bet the Devil Your Head: A Tale With a Moral. Sept 1841. Grotesque; a surrealistic satire on Transcendentalism. Toby Dammit bets the devil his head that he can jump over a turnstile, but abstract speculation is undercut by fact: when he jumps an overhanging brace severs his head from
#45. A Chapter on Autography. Nov 1841. An essay indicative of Poe's interest in the pseudo-sciences: "a strange analogy does generally exist between every man's chirography and character."
#46. Three Sundays in a Week. Nov 27 1841. Grotesque. On a Sunday two sailors who have just returned from trips around the world in opposite directions provide the narrator with the opportunity to fulfill the condition set by his uncle for consent to his marriage: when "three Sundays came together in a week!" Truth stranger than fantasy department; cf the business of the time differential at the end of Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days
#47. Eleanora. 1842. Arabesque. The narrator's loss and ultimate recovery of his cousin Eleanora in the form of his wife Ermengarde, together with the changing condition of their valley, is an allegorical reflection of the contest between sexual and spiritual love within the narrator, and ultimately the contest between temporal and arabesque reality.
#48. The Oval Portrait. Apr 1842. Arabesque. The girl who sat for the portrait and died at the moment of its completion now lives in it transcenden-
tally. Cf ## 3 & 49.
#49. The Masque of the Red Death, a Fantasy. May 1842. Arabesque. Prince Prospero attempts to escape the plague of life and avoid the trauma of death by living in a self-created world of arabesque art. Cf ## 3, 14, 15,
48. Related to world-plague catastrophe SF. '
#50. The Landscape Garden. Oct 1842. The second arabesque landscape
piece (see #38); here art has been used to enhance nature, and the landscape gardener is equivalent to God (see references cited for #40).
#51. The Mystery of Marie Rogêt, a sequel to the "Murders in the Rue Morgue." Nov-Dec 1842. Dupin "solves," on the basis of a dubious logic, an historical unsolved murder case which was being investigated while the tale was published in serial form. From what we know of the case today Dupin seems to be wrong. See comment on #40.
#52. The Tell-Tale Heart. Jan 1843. In this third of the doppelganger tales (see #33), the narrator's rationalistic attempt to "murder" that aspect of his personality which is oriented toward temporal reality embroils him in the paradoxical perverse-perverse because his actions aim at his self-destruction, paradoxical because the destruction will bring him to the realm of arabesque unity. See Moldenhauer ¶45, pp294-95.
#53. The Pit and the Pendulum. 1843. Arabesque. Symbolically considered, the General Lasalle who effects a last-minute rescue of the narrator is an analogue of the room in which the narrator undergoes an educative experience encouraging that elasticity of mind whereby the pit is recognized not as a horror but as providing for a fortunate fall, a means of arabesque release, which occurs when the contest between temporal and arabesque reality (the pendulum and the pit) is resolved in favor of the pit.
#54. The Gold Bug. June 21 & 28, 1843. The third ratiocinative tale. Poe's interest in cryptographic analysis figures in this exceedingly complicated account of a search for buried treasure that symbolizes arabesque reality-hence the attainment of the treasure is associated with death in the form of the skeletons buried alongside. See St. Armand ¶1156-57 for an argument pointing to a consistent alchemical symbolism in this tale and #32, and then see #82.
#55. The Black Cat. Aug 1843. In this fourth doppelganger grotesque (see #33), the result of the narrator's mutilating his black cat (a projection of those aspects of his personality he wishes to exorcise) is a series of catastrophes culminating in the death of his wife-i.e., his potential for arabesque awareness.
#56. Diddling Considered as One of the Exact Sciences. Oct 1843. Grotesque satire. A succession of increasingly elaborate diddles demonstrates the value of deception, man's propensity for diddling, and his susceptibility to being diddled; cf ## 31 & 36.
#57. The Spectacles. Mar 27 1844. A grotesque on the limitations of human perception: the vain narrator refuses to wear spectacles and as a result "marries" his great, great, grandmother; cf #39.
#58. A Tale of the Ragged Mountains. Apr 1844. Pseudo-science SF; the first of three mesmeric tales (see ## 62 & 74). This is not a tale of metempsychosis: the life of Oldeb/Bedloe has been preserved after his apparent death by the mesmeric powers of Dr. Templeton. See Thompson 153 on the tale as a hoax, land ¶23, and especially Falk ¶50, which corrects Lind's interpretation and distinguishes between mesmerism and hypnotism. Mesmerism, or animal magnetism, depends on a physical fluid similar to electricity which is presumed to pervade the universe (see comment on #80). This concept points to the ambiguous relationship between Poe as a writer of SF and Poe as a transcendental visionary in that it establishes the arabesque realm as material, not spiritual. Poe seems to have valued mesmerism as a scientific means of putting to the test his belief in an alternate reality. Clearly Poe's interest in the pseudo-sciences of mesmerism, phrenology (see ## 18 & 20), graphology (see #44), astrology (see ## 15 & 79) and alchemy (see ## 54 & 83) is akin to the SF cast of his imagination.
#59. The Balloon Hoax. Apr 13 1844 (as Astounding News by Express, via Norfolk!-The Atlantic Crossed in Three Days!-Signal Triumph of Mr. Monk Mason's Flying Machine! ... ). Grotesque; SF hoax. Published in the New York Sun, as was Locke's "Moon Hoax" (see #13), and with similar success, this is a detailed account of the construction and navigation of the first dirigible balloon. Verne's Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863) owes much, and Around the World in Eighty Days (1869) owes something, to this tale.
#60. [Letter to Robert Lowell]. July 2 1844. Expresses, in different form, the SF theory of unparticled matter embodied in #62.
#61. The Premature Burial. July 31 1844. Grotesque; an inverted hoax like #13. After four supposedly genuine cases of premature burial, the narrator recounts his own experience, which is bogus. The enclosed area turns out to be the berth of a sloop. Fear of claustrophobic entombment recurs in Poe; cf Pyre's confinement in the hold of the Grampus (#29§2).
#62. Mesmeric Revelation. Aug 1844. Pseudo-science SF. This second mesmeric tale (see #57) is basically a vehicle for the cosmological and metaphysical theory later amplified in Eureka (#80). Having put his dying subject into a death-like trance, the mesmerist-narrator questions him about the after-life and learns that there is no such thing as spirit, only "infinitely rarefied matter" or, in the case of God, "unparticled matter." Death is only a "painful metamorphosis" like that of the worm into the butterfly.
#63. The Oblong Box. Sept 1844. Grotesque on man's liability to deception. In attempting to discover the reasons for the strange behavior of a friend, the narrator comes to a number of erroneous conclusions. This tale is a transmogrified version of the ship, tomb, and premature burial motif in #61.
#64. The Angel of the Odd. Oct 1844. A satiric grotesque on the idiopathic nature of man's state, in which the common-sensical narrator,under the ministrations of the Angel of the Odd (in a dream?), is made to realize that reality exceeds the bounds of his unimaginative mind. Includes an episode with a manned balloon; the SF possibilities of travel by balloon are also exploited in ## 13, 59, 81.
#65. "Thou Art the Man." Nov 1844. This fourth of the ratiocinative tales (see #40) combines, in the manner of a parody, the murder-in-a-small-town and least-likely-person motifs.
#66. The Literary Life of Thingum Bob, Esq. Dec 1844. A satiric grotesque probably directed at Lewis Gaylord Clark in which literary success is shown to be based on chicanery and deceit.
#67. The Elk. 1844. The third arabesque landscape piece; cf the elk with
the fay in #40.
#68. The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade. Feb 1845. Marginal SF; the first of three time-displacement grotesques demonstrating that man's deceptive situation is in part attributable to his limited place in time; only the fact that the first is presented as a corrected fantasy, the second (#69) as a dream, and the third (#81) as an April Fools' hoax prevents their being classified as straight SF. In this corrected version of the Arabian Nights, Scheherazade recounts further adventures of Sinbad, in which he comes up against such marvels of 19th-century technology as a manned balloon (see #64), a voltaic pile (see #69), and Maelzel's Automaton Chess Player (see #19), all of which he fails to understand; infuriated by such nonsense, the King has her strangled. Apparently the facts of future ages may be less credible than the fantasies of the present; i.e. the past's sense or
"knowledge" of the future is inaccurate.
#69. Some Words With a Mummy. Apr 1845 (a number of Poe's hoaxical pieces were published in April; see ## 19,58,59,83). Marginal SF; the second of the time-displacement tales (see#68). Here time past is shown to be as much a closed book as time future. In a dream (?) the narrator witnesses the revivification of a mummy by means of a voltaic pile (which has some electrical connection with mesmerism; see #58) and learns that the ancient Egyptians had not only anticipated and surpassed much 19th-century knowledge but had also discovered the secret of suspended animation-hence the revivification.
#70. The Power of Words. June 1845. In this fifth metaphysical piece (see #15), Oinos (who appears in #15), in a post apocalyptic state, is informed that the vibrations of words effect "secondary creation," a notion that recurs
#71. [Review:] The Coming of the Mammoth, by Henry B. Hirst. July 12 1845. The work reviewed is of some SF interest.
#72. The Imp of the Perverse. July 1845. This fifth of the doppelganger grotesques (see #33) is largely an essay on the paradoxical imp of the perverse, which operates in furtherance of both good and evil (see #53). The narrator is in jail, having perversely confessed, in a moment of suffocation, to the murder, by asphyxiation, of his doppelganger (cf #52).
#73. The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether. Nov 1845. A grotesque (which includes a satiric allegory concerning the southern US, as does #29) on the equivocal distinction between appearance and reality. The narrator, who may himself be a lunatic, tells of an asylum where the erstwhile inmates have become the keepers and have subjected the erstwhile keepers
to a tar-and-feather treatment.
#74. The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar. Dec 1845. Pseudo-science SF; hoax? This third and last of the mesmeric tales is like the first (#57) in that the life of the protagonist is prolonged beyond the point of "death" by mesmerism. When reprinted in England this tale was taken as fact and may indeed have been intended as a hoax, as Poe maintains in two letters. In Mathias Sandorf (1855), the revitalizing of a dying man by hypnotism derives from Verne's reading of this tale, which, as with the rest of Poe, he took literally.
#75. The Purloined Letter. 1845. In this the third and last of the Dupin ratiocinative tales, which describes Dupin's discovery of the place where the Minister D- has hidden a compromising letter, the connection between the detective and the criminal (or the resolvent and creative faculties), a relationship that becomes increasingly apparent in the ratiocinative tales, is particularly obvious. Contrast this with the corresponding increasing obscurity of relationships in the doppelganger tales, particularly "Hop-Frog" (#82).
#76. The Sphinx. Jan 1846. A satiric grotesque on the idiopathic nature of man's perceptions. In a state to see horrors, having come from a plague-ridden city, the narrator, a reader of gothic novels, imagines the insect in front of his eye to be a distant monster.
#77. The Cask of Amontillado. Nov 1846. This sixth doppelganger grotesque, too well-known to need much comment, is concerned with a man tormented by the image of a former, supposedly more fortunate, sell
#78. The Domain of Arnheim. Mar 1847. This fourth arabesque landscape piece (see #42) is an enlargement of #50.
#79. Ulalume. Dec 1848. A poem of some SF interest in that it indicates Poe's knowledge (whether accurate or not) of the pseudo-science of astrology. For differing views, see Mabbot ¶24, Davidson ¶28, and Stovall ¶52.
#80. Eureka: A Prose Poem. 1848. SF in the most literal sense. Using the scientific knowledge of his day in a way that appears to anticipate many subsequent theories, Poe describes his "intuitive" cosmology in this last and longest of the metaphysical pieces (see #15). To ensure that his theories can withstand any kind of logical attack, Poe makes equivocal use of a complicated web of irony and of the causality-nullifying principle of reciprocity of adaptation. From its primal state of ultimate arabesque unity the universe has reached its present dispersed, heterogeneous condition by a process of irradiation. It is being maintained in this unnatural state by a balance of the forces of gravity and electricity, but will eventually collapse into its primal state, followed by a new process of irradiation, and so on. The universe is comparable to an expanding and contracting heart, and man is equivalent to God-a notion similar to the universal-mind concept of Stapledon and many other SF writers, as is pointed out by Moskowitz in 11 36.
Connections between Eureka and contemporary or subsequent science have been made by Bond 110, Alterton ¶11, Norstedt ¶14, Wiener 115, Hoagland ¶17, Quinn ¶19, Connor ¶25, and Braddy ¶31. And there have been various arguments that all Poe's creative work should be understood as dramatizing Eureka: Wilbur ¶32, O'Donnell ¶35, Rans ¶39, Moldenhauer ¶45, Broussard ¶48, Lynen ¶51. While this seems equivalent to putting the cart before the horse, there are some real connections between Eureka and specific tales: "Hans Pfaall" #13, "The Fall of the House of Usher" #32, "The Man of the Crowd" #38, "Mesmeric Revelation" #62, the sea tales ## 18, 29, 41, the Dupin tales ## 40, 51, 75, and the post-apocalyptic colloquies ## 34, 43, 70. If Eureka is SF in the most literal sense, and I think it is, these tales may be regarded as displaced SF.
#81. Mellonta Tauta. Feb 1849. SF; "utopia"; April Fools' Hoax. (The title appears as an epigraph for #43, where it is glossed as "These things are in the near future.") This third of the time-displacement tales (see #68) shows future knowledge of Poe's present to be inaccurate. Aboard a balloon that left the ground April 1, 2848, the wife of an antiquarian pens a diary-type letter to a friend which she finally corks in a bottle and throws into the sea. Material on the superiority of intuition to inductive and deductive reasoning is quoted from this letter as part of the burlesque introduction to Eureka (#80). Consistency is not the letter-writer's forte, and her admiration for the reliance of her age on intuition as the road to truth is undercut by her and her husband's complete misinterpretation of past history and certain 19th-century artifacts. (In Eureka the skein of irony renders this contradiction inoperative.) Much of the tale, in standard "utopian" fashion (a la Wells according to Olney ¶30), sets the marvels and revelations of the future-speedy travel by balloon or train, a population crisis that makes individual life valueless, floating telegraph wires, diminutive lunarians erecting a temple on the moon with ease because of the lesser gravity, the "binary relation" between the sun and another star (Alpha Lyrae), the destruction of Long Island by an earthquake in 2050-against the primitive standards and knowledge of the present. This tale is of particular SF interest in that it may well be the first to open directly in the future, i.e., with no frame narrative describing the transition to "utopia" from the author's present world. The connection between this tale and Eureka supports the SF quality of that larger work, while the statement in Eureka that "what is obvious to one mind at one epoch may be anything but obvious, at another epoch, to that same mind" provides a gloss for "Mellonta Tauta" and the two other. time-displacement tales.
#82. Hop-Frog. Mar 17 1849. The seventh and last of the doppelgangerperverse grotesques (see #33). (Of course, there are doppelganger elements in a large number of Poe's tales, aside from the seven tales each directly exploring a fragmented personality; e.g., ## 10, 11, 26, 29, 32, 40, 47, 51, 75). Just as the frivolity of Hop-Frog as dwarf court jester provides a "counterbalance" to the wisdom of the seven ministers, so the chandelier in the grand salon (the artificial light of wisdom) is lowered or elevated by an unsightly counterbalance on the roof. By means of a game Hop-Frog arranges the fiery deaths of the king (his alter ego) and the seven ministers (cf King Pest and his crew, #14) who have suspended themselves from the chandelier, while he escapes to another country with his betrothed, who represents arabesque awareness. The doppelganger connection is more obscure in this tale than in the previous six (cf comment on #75), in part because this is the only one not told in the first person, and because this is the only tale in which the protagonist succeeds totally in expelling his alter ego.
#83. Von Kempelen and His Discovery. Apr 14 1848. Pseudo-science SF. Von Kempelen's alchemical success in turning lead into gold results in gold being no more valuable than lead. (See ## 19 & 54, and St. Armand ¶¶56-57.) This tale was conceived as a grotesque hoax in reaction to the California gold rush. The theme of transformation is specifically related to the ambiguous nature of a reality that may itself be transformed.
#84. X-ing a Paragrab. May 12 1849. The absurdity of a newspaper editor's [o]bstinate idiopathic fondness for the letter"o" is satirically shown up when the printer is required to substitute "x's" for "o's" in the editorial paragraph (or paragrab as the printer pronounces it) because someone from a rival newspaper has stolen all the "o" letters.
#85. Landor's Cottage: A Pendant to "The Domain of Arnheim." June 9 1849. The fifth and last arabesque landscape piece (see #42). Precise emphasis on point of view and compass-point specification paradoxically have a dizzying effect on the reader and thus encourage an arabesque fluidity in the reading of this description of an ideal cottage furnished along the lines of "The Philosophy of Furniture" (#36).
#86. Poe's Introduction to "The Tales of the Folio Club." 1902 (in ¶1). Planned as a framing device for a collection of Poe's early tales, which, as reconstructed, would have included the following probably in this order: 56, 9, 7, 25, 8, 3, 6, 4, 14, 17, 12. Never used.
#87. The Lighthouse. Apr 1942 (published by Thomas Ollive Mabbott in Notes and Queries. In this unfinished narrative related to the sea tales (## 8, 29,41), the narrator-diarist, relieved to have escaped society through appointment to a lighthouse, is disturbed to find that the lighthouse is built on chalk.
¶6. Robert E. Spiller, et al. Literary History of the United States: Bibliography. 3rd edn. 1963. Best source for material prior to 1942.
¶7. J. Laslie Dameron. Edgar Allan Poe: A Checklist of Criticism 19421960. 1966. Annotated, comprehensive.
¶8. Richard P. Benton. "Current Bibliography on Edgar Allan Poe," Emerson Society Quarterly 38(1965):144-47 & 47(1967):84-87, transferred to and continuing in Poe Newsletter, now renamed Poe Studies.
¶9. J. Albert Robbins. Checklist of Edgar Allan Poe. 1969. Categorized but not annotated.
¶10. F.D. Bond. "Poe as an Evolutionist," Popular Science Monthly 71(1907):267-74.
¶11. Margaret Alterton. Origins of Poe's Critical Theory. US 1925. Specifically pp 112-22, 132-69.
¶12. Floyd Stovall. "An Interpretation of Poe's `Al Aaraaf,'" Texas Studies in English 9(1929):126-33.
¶13. Edward Hungerford. "Poe and Phrenology," American Literature 1(1930):209-31.
¶14. George Norstedt. "Poe and Einstein," Open Court 44(1930):173-80.
¶15. Philip P. Wiener. "Poe's Logic and Metaphysic," Personalist 14 (1933):268-74.
¶16. Richard Campbell Pettigrew and Marie Morgan Pettigrew. "A Reply to Floyd Stovall's Interpretation of `Al Aaraaf,'" American Literature 8(1937):439-40.
¶17. Clayton Hoagland. "The Universe of Eureka: A Comparison of the Theories of Eddington and Poe," Southern Literary Messenger 1(1939):307-13.
¶18. W.K. Wimsatt, Jr. "Poe and the Chess Automaton," American Literature 11(1939):138-51.
¶19. Arthur Hobson Quinn. Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography. US 1941. Specifically pp555-56. Remains the best biography.
¶20. J.0. Bailey. "Sources for Poe's Arthur Gordon Pym, `Hans Pfaal,' and Other Pieces," PMLA 57(1942):513-35.
¶21. Howard P. Lovecraft. Supernatural Horror in Literature. US 1945. Specifically pp52-59. This evaluation by a disciple of Poe is of particular interest because he too combines gothic, visionary, and SF elements in his work. See #28.
¶22. J.0. Bailey. Pilgrims Through Space and Time: Trends and Patterns in Scientific and Utopian Fiction. 1947. This survey includes ## 8, 13, 14, 29, 34, 40, 49, 54,59, 68, 69, 74, 81, 83.
¶23. S. E. Iind. "Poe and Mesmerism," PMLA 62(1947):1077-94
¶24. T.O. Mabbott. "Poe's `Ulalume'," Explicator 6(June 1948), Item 57.
¶25. Frederick W. Connor. Cosmic Optimism. US 1949. Specifically pp67-91, "Poe's Eureka: The Problem of Mechanism."
¶26. Robert Daniel. "Poe's Detective God," Furioso 6(Summer 1951):45-54.
¶27. Maurice Beebe. "The Universe of Roderick Usher," Personalist 37 (1956):147-60.
¶28. Edward H. Davidson. Poe: A Critical Study. US 1957. Specifically pp2l3-22.
¶29. Patrick F. Quinn. The French Face of Edgar Poe. 1957.
¶30. Clark Olney. "Edgar Allan Poe-Science-Fiction Pioneer," Georgia
Review 12(1958):416-21. Claims that Poe was "the first writer of sciencecentered fiction to base his stories firmly on a rational kind of explanation, avoiding the supematural" (p4l7); counts seven of the tales as SF: ## 13, 58, 59, 62, 74, 81, 83.
¶31. Haldeen Braddy. "Poe's Flight from Reality," Texas Studies in Literature and Language 1(1959):394-400.
¶32. Richard Wilbur. Poe: Complete Poems. 1959. Specifically the Introduction and Notes.
¶33. E.A. Robinson. "Order and Sentience in `The Fall of the House of Usher'," PMLA 76(1961):68-81.
¶34. Ingvald Raknem. H.G. Wells and His Critics. 1962. Specifically pp366-77. A poor treatment of what is almost a non-subject; but see #34.
¶35. Charles O'Donnell. "From Earth to Ether: Poe's Flight into Space," PMLA 77(1962):85-91.
¶36. Sam Moskowitz. Explorers of the Infinite. 1963. Specifically pp46-61, "The Prophetic Edgar Allan Poe." Divides Poe's SF into those tales in which scientific rationality is secondary to the aesthetic aspect (## 8, 41, 58) and those in which the reverse applies (## 13, 68, 81); also emphasizes the connection between Poe and Verne: see ## 13, 29, 30, 33, 41, 46, 59, 74.
¶37. Lyle H. Kendall. "The Vampire Motive in `The Fall of the House of Usher'," College English 24(1963):463-64.
¶38. J.0. Bailey. "What Happens in `The Fall of the House of Usher'?" American Literature 35(1964):463-64.
¶39. Geoffrey Rans. Edgar Allan Poe. 1965.
¶40. Leslie A. Fiedler. Love and Death in the American Novel. Rev edn 1966. Specifically "The Blackness of Darkness: Edgar Allan Poe and the Development of the Gothic." In this and his later studies (¶¶ 46 & 54) Fiedler develops his conception of Poe as a writer of pop literature who failed to write a successful "Western" but invented the detective story and science fiction.
¶41. I.O. Evans. Jules Verne and His Work. US 1966. Treats Pym (#29) and "The Balloon Hoax" (#59) as SF tales to which Verne was indebted (pp 115-17, 155, passim).
¶42. H. Bruce Franklin. Future Perfect: American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century. US 1966. Specifically pp93-103, "Edgar Allan Poe and Science Fiction." Following a review of past critical treatment of Poe as a writer of SF (particularly Olney and Moskowitz, ¶¶ 30 & 36), Franklin envisages Eureka, "Mesmeric Revelation," and "The Fall of the House of Usher" (## 80, 62, and 32) as a continuum expressing a movement from "science" to fiction: "The three forms may be called pure speculation, pure speculation in a dramatic frame, and dramatized speculation" (plO2). Franklin concludes somewhat oddly by finding Poe's SF rather one-dimensional in comparison with Hawthorne's.
¶43. Richard Wilbur. "The Poe Mystery Case," New York Review 9(July 1967):16,25-28.
¶44. Monique Sprout. "The Influence of Poe on Jules Verne," Revue de Littérature Comparée 41(1967):37-53. Argues that Verne was indebted to Poe for method, incident, and character.
¶45. J.J. Moldenhauer. "Murder as a Fine Art: Basic Connections Between Poe's Aesthetics, Psychology, and Moral Vision," PMLA 83(1968):284-97.
¶46. Leslie A. Fiedler. The Return of the Vanishing American. US 1968. Specifically pp127-36. See comment on ¶40.
¶47. Donald C. Burt. "Poe, Bradbury, and the Science Fiction Tale of Terror," Mankato State College Series 3(1968):76-84. Argues that both Poe and Bradbury write of the destruction of the world, the first by nature, the other by technology; also notes that in the chapter "Usher II" in Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles (1950), an attempt is made to reconstruct Poe's story on Mars, while in Fahrenheit 451 (1953) the hero commits Poe's tales to memory.
¶48. Louis Broussard. The Measure of Poe. 1969.
¶49. J.M. De Falco. "The Source of Terror in Poe's `Shadow: A Parable'," Studies in Short Fiction 6(1969):643-48.
¶50. Doris V. Falk. "Poe and the Power of Animal Magnetism," PMLA 84(1969):536-46.
¶51. John F. Lynen. The Design of the Present: Essays on Time and Form in American Literature. 1969. Specifically pp2O5-71, "The Death of the Present: Edgar Allan Poe."
¶52. Floyd Stovall. Edgar Poe the Poet; Essays New and Old on the Man
and His Work. US 1969. Specifically p229.
¶53. G.R. Thompson. "Is Poe's 'A Tale of the Ragged Mountains' a
Hoax?" Studies in Short Fiction 6(1969):454-60; revised in Poe's Fiction: Romantic Irony in the Gothic Tales, 1973, ppl47-52.
¶54. Leslie A. Fiedler. American Dreams, American Nightmares. US 1970. Specifically pp23-24. See comment on¶40.
¶55. David Ketterer. "Poe's Usage of the Hoax and the Unity of `Hans Pfaall'," Criticism 13(1971):377-85.
¶56. Barton Levi St. Armand. "Poe's Sober Mystification: The Uses of
Alchemy in `The Gold Bug'," Poe Studies 4(1971):1-7.
¶57. Barton Levi St. Armand. "Usher Unveiled: Poe and the Mysticism
of Gnosticism," Poe Studies 5(1972):1-8.
¶58. Daniel Hoffinan. Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe. 1972. One of Hoffman's seven Poes is the inventor of science fiction, but it is argued that the various facets of Poe's work make up a unified totality.
¶59. Brian W. Aldiss. Billion Year Spree: The True History of Science Fiction. 1973. Specifically §2, "`A Clear-Sighted, Sickly Literature': Edgar Allan Poe." Claims that the Poe pieces which are "most likely to pass muster as science fiction"--## 13, 29, 34, 41, 43, 58, 59, 62, 68, 74, 81--are not his best. "Poe preempted a science fictional content, particularly its transcendental content, yet mishandled its form" (emphasis added). Cf ¶61.
¶60. Jack D. Wages. "Isaac Asimov's Debt to Edgar Allan Poe," Poe Studies 6(1973):29. Such novels as The Caves of Steel (1954) and The Naked Sun (1957) and the stories in Asimov's Mysteries (1968), which amalgamate the detective story and science fiction, are influenced by Poe's work in these genres and "contain the kind of minute scientific explanation that is the hallmark of Poe's science fiction, in combination with most of the elements in Poe's detective stories."
¶61. David Ketterer. New Worlds for Old: The Apocalyptic Imagination, Science Fiction, and American Literature. 1974. Specifically §3, "Edgar Allan Poe and the Visionary Tradition of Science Fiction," which argues that Poe's relationship to SF has been misconstrued largely because of the notably mechanistic use Verne made of ideas in several of Poe's tales thereby obscuring that yoking of the science-fictional and transcendental imagination which is Poe's main contribution to the development of SF.
Back to Home