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Secular LyricThe Modernization of the Poem in Poe, Whitman, and Dickinson$
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John Michael

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823279715

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823279715.001.0001

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Poe’s Posthumanism: Melancholy and the Music of Modernity

Poe’s Posthumanism: Melancholy and the Music of Modernity

(p.25) Chapter 1 Poe’s Posthumanism: Melancholy and the Music of Modernity
Secular Lyric

John Michael

Fordham University Press

This chapter focuses on Poe’s debts to Sappho and to Petrarch and the ways in which his lyrics and tales assume and transform these traditions. Poe emerges not only as modern but as a post-humanist, despite his debts to the humanist tradition in the arts. Despite his exploitation of traditional forms of prosody, Poe becomes an origin of modern poetry in his insistence that poetic effect depends upon the materiality rather than the meaning of language, the musical elements of the signifier, rather than the meaning or abstraction of the signified. In this way he negotiates a critical relationship with art and a popular relation with the literary marketplace.

Keywords:   marketplace, modernism, modernity, Petrarch, Poe, prosody

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