0 24 2017

Bodies Out of Place: Poe, Premature Burial, and The Uncanny

Carl H. Sederholm


“Bodies Out of Place” discusses some of the ways Edgar Allan Poe confronted the taboos or boundaries associated with dying bodies. In tales such as “The Premature Burial,” “Ligeia,” and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” Poe blurred the boundaries between life and death not only to show how strange they are but also to suggest how little human beings understand about the problem of death. Poe complicates this matter by suggesting that, even though some bodies may show all appearances of death, they remain very much alive. Even more frightening, Poe also suggests that some dead bodies may even somehow force their way back to life. Ultimately, Poe’s bodies resist easy classification because they are neither completely alive nor completely dead. 

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ISSN 1749-9771