Brockden Brown and Poe: Inner Excesses
In the writings of Charles Brockden Brown and Edgar Allan Poe an analysis of the workings of the human mind is the authors’ unremitting concern. They seek, in a manner which Godwin had pioneered, to follow the processes of consciousness in minute and intricate detail. In some sense this is a rationalist project, since it involves an attempt to chart unexplored areas of consciousness; yet the result is more equivocal, rather disconcertingly suggesting that there is little basis for assuming that mental activity is necessarily reasonable. Moreover, if the irrational is precisely that which is not amenable to reason, it would seem that the irrational is by definition excessive and therefore dictates that what is needed, if anything, is yet more strenuous efforts to control it.
KeywordsRationalist Project Foreign Birth Morbid Sensation Imaginative Mediation Purloin Letter
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