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dc.contributor.advisor Spector, Cherl Maggiore, Caress 2017-07-14T23:06:49Z 2017-07-14T23:06:49Z 1989 1989-06
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Bibliography: pages 56-57
dc.description.abstract In a somewhat obscure dialogue called "Mesmeric Revelation," Edgar Allan Poe focuses upon an engaging metaphor for death: the metamorphosis of the worm into the butterfly. We need not be readers of Poe to find such an idea attractive, for it implies the permanence of the entity in spite of great physical change, a new existence of more power and beauty than the old, and a more advanced (and presumably benevolent) being who both perceives and understands the change even as we perceive and understand the change of the butterfly. Perhaps a great many of Poe's critical admirers, certainly his casual readers, and especially his detractors may find the idea of the butterfly out of keeping with the subject matter of his tales of disease, decay, and perversity. But this rather comforting image of death as a metamorphosis is the key to a fuller understanding of Poe's work, and illuminates his use of metempsychosis, the subject of this discussion. Though the terms "metamorphosis" and "metempsychosis" usually bring to mind different ideas, the first generally suggesting physical change in a single body and the second, a transference of soul, they come finally to the same thing: the persistence of individuality despite radical transformation. At "death," the worm changes bodily into the butterfly, yet it is the same entity -- its essential identity is unchanged; hence the metaphorical implication that despite bodily death, our individual identities, or souls, remain intact. Only the physical body is shed as the butterfly sheds the cocoon. Metempsychosis involves a complete change of body: the soul enters a body with which it has had no previous connection. Both terms, then, imply changes in body but sameness of soul. [See more in text]
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Caress Maggiore
dc.format.extent 57 pages
dc.language.iso en
dc.subject.other Dissertations, Academic -- CSUN -- English.
dc.title Poe's animate inanimate : the mind as matter
dc.type Thesis 2017-07-14T23:06:49Z
dc.contributor.department California State University, Northridge. Department of English B.A.
dc.contributor.committeeMember Clendenning, John
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