Poe and Place pp 215-240 | Cite as

Poe’s German Soulscape: Influenced by Angst or Anxiety of Influence?

  • Sonya Isaak
Part of the Geocriticism and Spatial Literary Studies book series (GSLS)


This chapter discusses Poe’s ambivalent relationship with German literary influences. It explores a puzzling dilemma: Poe’s familiarity with and use of German sources countered by his reluctance to be affiliated with the German Gothic tradition. Early in his career, Poe capitalized on the popular appeal of the Gothic by embellishing his works with sensationalistic Germanic titles and elements. Despite his apparent fondness for German literature, Poe became increasingly reluctant to associate with the German tradition as his career evolved, since for him the Germanic took on a pejorative connotation. While he alludes frequently to German writers and philosophers like Kant, clearly Poe was haunted by an “anxiety of influence.” Nonetheless, as the second part of the chapter demonstrates, Poe continued to incorporate German sources like Gottfried August Bürger’s “Lenore” poem into his works.


Edgar Allan Poe Influence Gottfried August Bürger Germanism German gothic tradition Lenore Metzengerstein 

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonya Isaak
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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