American Flaneur: The Cosmic Physiognomy of Edgar Allan Poe - download pdf or read online

By James Werner

ISBN-10: 020349282X

ISBN-13: 9780203492826

ISBN-10: 0415969778

ISBN-13: 9780415969772

Investigates the connections among Poe and the nineteenth-century flaneur - or walking city observer - and the centrality of the flaneur to Poe's literary goals and intimate but ambivalent courting along with his surrounding tradition.

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Additional resources for American Flaneur: The Cosmic Physiognomy of Edgar Allan Poe (Studies in Major Literaryauthors, 33)

Example text

Who but the flaneur, strolling casually and randomly through the magasin or “storehouse of ideas,” could effectively negotiate such a literary cityscape? The magazinist-flaneur observes the display of the world around him in a random and NEITHER IN NOR OUT OF THE MARKET 23 disengaged way, perceiving in its superficial qualities intimations of deeper truth; he then presents the reader with an art-product that attempts to provide the same experience. As these magazine articles jostle each other, clamoring for the reader’s attention, they become a universe unto themselves and objects to be observed; the magazine editor serves as a meta-flaneur, an artist/critic who scrutinizes the “physiognomies” provided by other flaneurs.

The type will be new (always new) clear and bold, with distinct face. The matter will be disposed in a single column. The printing will be done upon a hand press, in the best manner. There will be a broad margin. ’ The stitching will be done in the French style, permitting the book to be fully open. Upon the cover, and throughout, the endeavour will be to preserve the greatest purity of taste, consistent with decision and force. The price will be $5. (162–3) As is evident from the quote above, Poe devoted considerable attention to the physical product itself, particularly with regard to appropriate illustrations.

22–23) The newspaper was devoted to addressing topics of the day; once the day had passed, the paper’s perceived usefulness was severely diminished. Magazines, although less emphatic regarding the currency of their contents, were still regarded as having less permanence than books. 2 And there were no regrets in so doing, because the materials used in producing this commodity were inexpensive, and the consumer therefore bore only a minimal cost burden. Thus the periodical’s focus on current events and its low-cost construction reinforced its disposability, and in fact encouraged the reader to treat the physical product accordingly.

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American Flaneur: The Cosmic Physiognomy of Edgar Allan Poe (Studies in Major Literaryauthors, 33) by James Werner


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