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Download e-book for iPad: American Flaneur: The Cosmic Physiognomy of Edgar Allan Poe by James Werner

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 jogging city observer - and the centrality of the flaneur to Poe's literary goals and intimate but ambivalent dating together with his surrounding tradition.

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

Sample text

Poetry, fiction, and engravings), encouraging “extensive” or distracted reading and a taste for variety and novelty. Unlike those who purchased books, newspaper and periodical consumers paid not for a particular text or even the work of a particular author, but for the editor’s services in assembling a particular configuration of discourses. (4–5) In fact, Quoyeser argues, though reading became widely perceived in nineteenth-century America as a means of self-improvement through access to cultural capital, the reading material itself was transformed as much as the reader, if not more: “[i]n the pursuit of such capital, Americans may have adopted a new style of reading….

For many, a product’s mass manufacture and packaging signals a sense of the item’s diminished quality or workmanship: witness the derogatory use of the term “pre-fabricated,” the contrast between particle-board and “genuine oak” furniture, the “frozen” quality of TV dinners. While the producers of such a commodity may have included all the necessary ingredients, they are not combined so as to generate an aesthetically pleasing whole (canned soup vs. “home cooking”). Overall, the consumer may feel that the producers have concentrated too much on economic questions, such as cost-effectiveness or marketing strategies, at the expense of the consumer’s true benefit.

Poe fantasized about offering top-quality literary work from the best writers within a physical product that was itself artistic, an object to be saved and collected, though the magazine’s physical accouterments were never to outshine the magazine’s intellectual value. Snodgrass in 1841, Poe outlines some of this ideal magazine’s aesthetic parameters, both literary and physical: In regard to my plans &c the Prospectus will inform you in some measure. I am resolved upon a good outward appearance—clear type, fine paper &c—double columns, I think, & brevier, with the poetry running across the page in a single column.

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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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