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The Sublime and the Pictorial in Two Gothic Tales by Edgar

Grant number: 22/16456-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2023
Effective date (End): February 29, 2024
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Modern Foreign Literatures
Principal Investigator:Cilaine Alves Cunha
Grantee:Matheus Ramos Silveira
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This research proposes to analyze the way in which the romantic writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) conceives, develops and problematizes the sublime and its relationship with the pictorial elements in the formal aspects of two of his most prestigious Gothic tales, "The Descent into the Maelström" and "Ligeia", aiming the comprehension of the production of the effect (or force of impression) of his work. One can note in these two tales the way in which Poe appropriates elements from English Gothic literature, especially the novels by Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823), to configure objects typically endowed with sublimity (such as the storm and the castle on the peak of the mountains), to create poetic paintings and to describe paintings. The chosen tales (especially "A Descent into the Maelström"), seem to develop topics that are fundamental to the philosophy of romanticism (the power of imagination, the Gothic setting, the grotesque etc). The tales also operate with Friedrich Schiller's (1759-1805) notion of the sublime by conceiving, in addition to the impulse of self-preservation described by the German philosopher, an impulse of self-destruction that Poe called "Perverse". It is possible that this is a force dissociated from the self-preservation one, because it seems to irresistibly drag the characters towards their own death. Thus, the research proposes to analyze the configuration of the sublime in these two Gothic tales by Poe, their relations with the aesthetic philosophy of romanticism and, at length, their formal elaboration of expressive poetic images and their effect.

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