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The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym: The Abyss of Interpretation

Overview

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym is Edgar Allan Poe's only novel; indeed, Poe likely wrote it because he was unable to interest his publisher in a collection of his stories at that time (1836). Poe himself dismissed the novel shortly after its publication as "a very silly work," and Pym enjoyed minimal commercial success. After the novel's inclusion in a collection of Poe's works in the 1850s, however, it exercised considerable influence on or was recognized by such writers as Jules Verne (who wrote a sequel), ...
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Overview

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym is Edgar Allan Poe's only novel; indeed, Poe likely wrote it because he was unable to interest his publisher in a collection of his stories at that time (1836). Poe himself dismissed the novel shortly after its publication as "a very silly work," and Pym enjoyed minimal commercial success. After the novel's inclusion in a collection of Poe's works in the 1850s, however, it exercised considerable influence on or was recognized by such writers as Jules Verne (who wrote a sequel), Arthur Rimbaud, Henry James, and W. H. Auden. Further, certain elements of Pym prefigure Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. In this new study of Pym J. Gerald Kennedy considers the novel in light of the political turbulence and racial unrest prevalent at the time of its publication while examining the divide in criticism between those who see the voyage as a meaningful journey toward illumination and those who see it as an ironic commentary on human self-deception. A skillful and thorough analysis of both Pym and the myriad studies of the work, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and the Abyss of Interpretation will prove a significant addition to the literature on Poe and his works at both the high school and college levels.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805794434
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 12/1/1994
  • Series: Twayne's Masterwork Studies, #13
  • Pages: 125
  • Product dimensions: 5.39 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Table of Contents

Note on the References and Acknowledgments
Chronology: Edgar Allan Poe's Life and Works
Literary and Historical Context
1 The Cultural Foreground of the 1830s 3
2 The Significance of Pym 10
3 Critical Reception and Continuing Controversy 14
A Reading
4 The Preface 31
5 The Ariel Escapade 36
6 The Fate of the Grampus 41
7 The Travels of the Jane Guy 52
8 The Tsalal Episode 57
9 Into the Whiteness 67
10 The Concluding Note and the Problem of Meaning 75
Notes 85
Selected Bibliography 93
Index 101
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