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date: 25 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter updates psychoanalytic concerns already identified in Poe with the temporal dimension of trauma theory known as Nachträglichkeit. First translated by Freud’s editor James Strachey as “deferred action,” this important concept is now more appropriately translated as “afterwardsness.” My case study uncovers a relationship between traumatic time in Poe’s satiric sendup of sensation in “How to Write a Blackwood Article” and “A Predicament” and his emphasis on “vivid effects” in “The Philosophy of Composition.” The argument includes Poe’s use of the word graphicality in a review of Margaret Fuller, sometimes thought to be the target of his earlier satires. Poe’s intense if ambivalent engagement with Fuller’s writing highlights a temporal dimension often obscured by earlier psychoanalytic readings, allowing us to consider the value of trauma theory for understanding the evasive operations of history so vital to his appeal.

Keywords: afterwardsness, flashback, graphicality, history, Freud, Margaret Fuller, Nachtrglichkeit, trauma theory, vivid effects

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