The Kingdom of Inorganization



Attraction and Repulsion acquire a remarkable purity as they collaborate on the spectacular narrative scale of Eureka. The emotional and physical debris of the earthly maelstrom—the chaos of terror and wonder, the wreckage of ships and of people—drop from view when Poe focuses his attention on the great theater of space and duration. Neither the titanic nor the infinitesimal realms of being are designed to accommodate the intermediate sphere of human feeling. Atoms are free of the contagions of the flesh; they work out their story of expansion and contraction in an uninfected universe of force: the “ kingdom of inorganization,” Roderick Usher’s childhood friend and visitor will call it, a sentient dimension only briefly visible to human organs.


Ruling Expression Sailing Vessel Coffee House Bodily Life Closing Vision 
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  1. John Irwin recognizes the evocative nature of Pym’s reference to “the mystery of our being in existence” in American Hieroglyphics, though the mysteries of language rather than of sheer being are Irwin’s overriding interest. Burton Pollin’s edition of The Imaginary Voyages (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1981)Google Scholar
  2. J. Gerald Kennedy, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and the Abyss of Interpretation (New York: Twayne, 1995)Google Scholar
  3. Ronald C. Harvey, The Critical History of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym: “A Dialogue with Unreason” (New York: Garland, 1998).Google Scholar
  4. Umberto Eco’s nested boxes depicting the multilayered structure of Pym’s story appear in Six Walks in the Fictional Woods (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1994).Google Scholar

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© Douglas Anderson 2009

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