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Poe’s “Loss of Breath” and the Problem of Writing

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Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU,volume 28)

Abstract

On the surface, “Loss of Breath” seems to be a story about sexual impotence. At least Marie Bonaparte’s purely Freudian reading is a noteworthy argument. But this paper will stipulate that the primary text, albeit sub-rosa, is about words, specifically Poe’s fear of being unable to find his “writing voice”, or of having his voice plagarized (“purloined”) by someone else. The story is about how language in its most basic component — breath — has the power to change shape and form in the enunciation of its meaning.

Keywords

  • Fairy Tale
  • Physical Shape
  • Golden Ball
  • Mirror Stage
  • Sexual Impotence

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Every author should confine himself to matters of experience.1

Edgar Allan Poe, “Loss of Breath” (158)

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Works Cited

  • Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. New York: Knopf, 1977.

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  • Derrida, Jacques. “Freud and the Scene of Writing”. Freud: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Perry Meisel. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1981, pp. 145–82.

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  • “The Frog-King, or Iron Henry”. The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Introd. by Padraic Colum. Commentary by Joseph Campbell. NY: Pantheon, 1972, pp. 17–20.

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  • Lacan, Jacques. “The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I as revealed in psychoanalytic experience”. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. NY: Norton, 1977, pp. 1–7.

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© 1990 Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Abdoo, S. (1990). Poe’s “Loss of Breath” and the Problem of Writing. In: Tymieniecka, AT. (eds) The Elemental Passions of the Soul Poetics of the Elements in the Human Condition: Part 3. Analecta Husserliana, vol 28. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-2335-5_30

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-2335-5_30

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Dordrecht

  • Print ISBN: 978-94-010-7550-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-94-009-2335-5

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