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date: 02 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers not only how Poe’s impact on European symbolism prompted US poets—both expatriates (Eliot, Pound) and the natively grounded (Williams)—to rehash Poe’s literary import but also how the influence of ambivalent perceptions of Poe (the visionary, the ratiocinative hoaxer, the antididactic) extended to poet(ic)s of the Americas, eventually transcending their borders with a radiance that invites thinking of “phosphorescence” as a poetical category. From Baudelaire’s seminal reception to Mallarmé’s shift into the prose poem, from Pessoa’s elaborations on rhythmical versions of the original to Jakobson’s emphasis on paranomasia in “The Raven,” Poe was a cornerstone of the development of modern(ist) poetry on a transnational scale. Translational negotiation, along with defamiliarization and varied understandings of the “legitimate province of the poem,” would inform emerging poetics of the modern lyrical genre. T. S. Eliot’s reading of Poe as the unwitting but productive initiator of a continuous detachment of poetry from meaning, leading up to the French symbolist tenet of “la poésie pure” and culminating in Valéry, had the merit of placing Poe in the context that facilitated high modernism. On the other hand, this reading disregarded the significance of Poe for early Spanish American modernism(o)s, which this essay will recuperate, along with other Latin language proposals for the relation of poetry with aesthetic and cultural inventiveness. It also addresses the effacement of the erudite and popular in language and media, and the echoes of Poe in countercultural movements such as surrealism, concrete poetry, and beat poetry.

Keywords: Edgar Allan Poe, modern poetry, translational poetics, modernism, Latin American modernisms, phosphorescence

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