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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Both a poem and scientific treatise, Eureka is famously generically unstable. This essay considers Eureka’s instability as a symptom of the bifurcation between the domains of literature and science that took place in the nineteenth century’s first half. The essay turns to Michel Foucault’s Order of Things for a historical and conceptual framework that describes this division and suggests its implications both for Eureka’s reception and its textual strategies. Written at a time when “knowledge” was relocated from the domain of literature into the discourses of science, Eureka stages a competition between literary and scientific epistemologies.. By pointing to celebrated examples of intuition and imagination in the realm of science, Eureka confirms their epistemological value. The text then reclaims the epistemological imagination for poetry as way to shore up the waning status of literature as a legitimate form of knowledge.

Keywords: Edgar Allan Poe, Eureka, poetic imagination, imagination, knowledge, discursive formation, scientific, epistemology, science

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