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date: 22 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines how Edgar Allan Poe’s angelic and mesmeric dialogues explore the nature of the body and soul, as well as the capacity of language to transcend death. These esoteric conversations respond to two dimensions of Poe’s oeuvre: an ongoing terror in the imminence of death and an effort to enact an aesthetic transcendence. Speaking from an in-between consciousness following physical death and/or through a sixth or mesmeric sense, these tales diminish the terror of death and instead imagine a more complete knowing unimpeded by the corporeal senses. In channeling his views of God and the soul through the interlocutors’ speculations, he brings to the living the redemptive designs of divine creation. Thus, these dialogues mark Poe’s mesmeric effort to retrieve the irretrievable: the divine thought that sets in motion and affirms the power of his own words.

Keywords: Edgar Allan Poe, angelic dialogues, death, God, mesmerism, power of words, soul, transcendence

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