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date: 20 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This essay examines Poe’s conception and use of the Gothic via his engagements with the work of earlier writers from Horace Walpole through Ann Radcliffe, William Godwin, Charles Brockden Brown, Mary Shelley, and E. T. A. Hoffmann. Poe’s uses of the Gothic, and his relationship with the work of these writers, was informed by his philosophical materialism and framed by his dialogue with the writings of Sir Walter Scott. Tracing these associations reveals Poe’s transformation of the idea of “Gothic structure” from an architectural model, the ancestral pile of the eighteenth-century Gothic, to one of energetic transformation, the electric pile featured in many of Poe’s tales.

Keywords: Edgar Allan Poe, Ann Radcliffe, Charles Brockden Brown, Gothic fiction, Horace Walpole, Mary Shelley, Sir Walter Scott, William Godwin, supernaturalism in literature, philosophical materialism

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