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date: 25 May 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses Edgar Allan Poe’s relation to postmodernism in three parts. It first considers the postmodern elements of Poe’s writing with an emphasis on hoaxes, metafictional self-referentiality, fragmentation, and an overall postmodern suspicion of metanarratives. Next it offers an overview of how Poe’s fiction has been used by poststructuralist theorists—notably, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, and Barbara Johnson—as well as critics including Dennis Pahl, Michael J. S. Williams, J. Gerald Kennedy, and Louis A. Renza, to illustrate poststructuralist claims about the nature of the self and language. Finally, it explores how the postmodern elements present in Poe’s fiction make him attractive to modern sensibilities. This final section considers the commodification not just of Poe’s writing but of Poe himself—how his biography and image themselves become postmodern narratives available for appropriation and exploitation in the contemporary culture of the Gothic.

Keywords: author function, Barbara Johnson, fragmentation, historiographic metafiction, hoax, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault, Myth of Poe, perverseness

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