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Poe's Difference

R. C. De Prospo

Poe’s Difference argues that Edgar Allan Poe has much more in common with early American, medieval, and ancient writers than with the modern and post-modern ones with whom the writer is so often associated. This book emphasizes Poe’s anachronisms to make a number of theoretical, pedagogical, literary historical, and political claims about the backwardness of antebellum U.S. culture. Some time ago Michael Colacurcio issued the challenge that "the full case for the Puritan character of Poe’s ‘horror’ remains to be made." Although going back a good deal further than just to the "Puritans," Poe’s Difference aspires fully to make precisely this case.

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Chapter 3. Pym, Prometheus, and the Marinere

Extract

·3·

Pym, Prometheus, and the Marinere

“‘It’s always Prometheus,’ he said. . . . It seemed like a very new story, but, in fact, it was a very old one, a story of metamorphosis, and of Prometheus unbound.’” Craig Wright, reputedly “Satoshi,” reputedly the inventor of bitcoin, on the revolutionary potential of the on-line currency and the revolutionary, “Promethean,” stature of its inventor.1

“It has been passed like a torch down through the ages: a tale of an immense gift with a vicious price. A supernatural hero suffering for his selfless act of courage. A people redeemed by an otherwordly champion.”

— Prometheus Eternal2

“What best distinguishes our species is an ability that scientists are just beginning to appreciate: We contemplate the future. Our singular foresight created civilization and sustains society. . . . A more apt name for our species would be Homo prospectus.”

— Martin E. P. Seligman and John Tierney3

“How should texts from the past be interpreted to create meaning in the present?”

— Simon Gikandi4←85 | 86→

I

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