UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Edgar Allan Poe’s Chaotic Drive to Unity

Packham, J; (2014) Edgar Allan Poe’s Chaotic Drive to Unity. Tropos , 1 (1) pp. 44-50. 10.14324/111.2057-2212.009. Green open access

[thumbnail of Tropos-online-5-Packham.pdf] PDF

Download (84kB)


In his philosophical prose-poem Eureka, Edgar Allan Poe argues that true unity negates physical matter. By extension, disunity is a necessary part of existence. Additionally, Poe’s theoretical essays stress the importance of the ‘unity of impression’ in writing, by which means a single effect is elaborated and sustained throughout a poem, and to which all aspects of that piece of writing contribute. With these theories in mind, this paper explores the drive towards unity in Poe’s polar fiction, the unified space as a place of revelation, and its effect on the act of writing. These stories demonstrate a complex relationship between the antithetical states of unity and disunity; whirlpools in particular become a symbol for this space where unity and disunity coexist. Poe’s voyagers are forced to make a choice between achieving unity, and with it ultimate knowledge, at the expense of communicating their discovery, and abandoning their quest and returning with nothing to communicate.

Type: Article
Title: Edgar Allan Poe’s Chaotic Drive to Unity
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.14324/111.2057-2212.009
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/111.2057-2212.009
Language: English
Additional information: © Packham, J; (2014). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Edgar Allan Poe, Polar, Revelation, Nothingness, Writing
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1420206
Downloads since deposit
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item