Abstract and Keywords
Critics have had very little to say about marriage as an institution in Poe’s work, despite a recent historical turn in Poe studies that might lead in that direction. This essay demonstrates that Poe was in fact deeply engaged with the idea of legal marriage—one of the most important social and political issues of his day—and deeply ambivalent about the losses to which marriage subjected both husbands and wives. In the wasted, undead wives featured in such tales as “Berenice” (1835) and “Ligeia” (1838) and the undone, dispossessed husbands in “The Black Cat” (1843) and “The Oblong Box” (1844), Poe considers the profound transformations that legal marriage works upon women and men, and the terrifying unity between husband and wife that marriage demands.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.