Publications and Research

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 2008

Abstract

This essay unfolds the complex intertextual relationship between the work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and that of Edgar Allan Poe. References to and extended borrowings from Coleridge’s poetry and philosophical texts mark Poe’s œuvre throughout, but – as is only fitting for borrowings from the great borrower Coleridge – they are never anything as simple as plagiarisms or acts of intellectual theft. As this piece demonstrates through readings of Poe’s early poetological text “Letter to B–,” the Dupin story “The Purloined Letter,” and the late tour-de-force prose-poem Eureka, tracing the recurrence of Coleridgean poetry and prose in the work of Poe means to document, not so much literary influence, but rather the emergence of a modern aesthetic from a romantic one, a transformation that takes place in an act of narrative displacement, where purloined words take on new meanings.

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