Erudition and Sickness in Edgar Allan Poe's Gothic Stories

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Syeda Rizvi


Edgar Allan Poe's gender representation is intricate because it revolves around the sickness and disease of both men and women. The illness and death of women have captured the attention of feminist scholars, but they have generally overlooked how in portraying his physically invalid and psychologically unstable narrators, Poe rejects the cultural norms of nineteenth century masculinity that stressed the intellectual and physical supremacy of men. If Poe's portrayal of women is a key to understanding his gender perceptions, it is equally imperative to critically analyze his representation of men and their diseased condition to understand his critical appraisal of the cultural discourses of male authority, and how he converts the patriarchal idea of male dominance and superiority into monomaniacal thinking. In this paper, l critically analyze Poe's representation of men in "Morella," "Berenice," "Ligeia," and "The Fall of the House of Usher" to understand his insight into antebellum gender discourses.


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Arts & Letters