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date: 25 May 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Poe experimented with one of the most popular genres of the nineteenth century: travel and exploration literature. Poe’s engagements with the genre highlight its dominance in the era’s print culture as well as his own negotiations of antebellum publication economies. This essay considers Poe’s experiments—particularly The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, “The Journal of Julius Rodman,” and “The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall”—alongside his many reviews and essays about travel and exploration literature. Even as Poe plagiarized extensively from published accounts for Pym and “Rodman,” these works offer a generic remapping. Emphasizing the novel effects travel can offer rather than its facts, Poe’s fictionalizations dislocate the racialized imperial vision often associated with the genre to offer, instead, Gothic travels that refuse to map terra incognita.

Keywords: Edgar Allan Poe, travel and exploration literature, genre, plagiarism, imperialism, race, print culture, terra incognita

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