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The sea voyages of Edgar Allan Poe Foucault, Barbara Haran 1976

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THE SEA VOYAGES OF EDGAR ALLAN POE by BARBARA HARAN FOUCAULT Hons. B.A., University of Windsor, 1969 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December, 1976 (c) Barbara Haran Foucault i n the Department of English i i In presenting th i s thes is in p a r t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary sha l l make it f ree l y ava i lab le for reference and study. I fur ther agree that permission for extensive copying of th is thes is for scho lar l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representat ives . It is understood that copying or pub l i ca t ion of th is thes is for f i nanc ia l gain sha l l not be allowed without my wr i t ten permission. The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Depa rtment ABSTRACT The sea tales of Edgar A l l a n Poe—"MS Found i n a Bot t l e " , The  Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, and "A Descent into the Maelstrom"—form an inte r e s t i n g group that has often been overlooked. Together they deal with the problem of the fragmented personality, a theme that l a y at the heart of many of Poe's t a l e s . The sea i s the arena i n which the fundamental struggle against psychic d i v i s i o n takes place. I n testing a man to his l i m i t s , the sea also reveals new p o s s i b i l i t i e s and new knowledge. Poe was a l i t e r a r y s a i l o r coming to the sea not as an experienced hand as M e l v i l l e and Conrad do, but rather i n a symbolic way as the sea and sea experience had come down through the ages. The sea and sea voyage were potent and t r a d i t i o n a l symbols i n l i t e r a t u r e . Poe approached t h i s symbolic heritage from the view point of his time and p l a c e — a s a nineteenth century American and Romantic. The sea permeates the "MS Found i n a Bot t l e " , The Narrative of  Arthur Gordon Pym, and "A Descent i n t o the Maelstrom". The loneliness and i s o l a t i o n of the s a i l o r amidst the vast ocean symbolize the alienation of man i n the universe and within a divided personality. But the triumph 'V" that the sea holds out to the man who can grasp i t i s an equally fundamental aspect of these t a l e s , and helps to set t h i s group apart from those other tales which explore t h i s breakdown of personality from another angle—such as "The F a l l of the House of Usher". Each of Poe's s a i l o r s comes to an understanding of his experience and l i v e s and acts upon that new found knowledge, and that knowledge i s found i n the ebb and flow of the ocean's vast currents. Each of Poe's s a i l o r s i s dominated by one facet of his personality. iv Other concerns are abandoned as that one fa c u l t y i s pushed to i t s l i m i t s . But j u s t as the ship at sea i s a world unto i t s e l f and an able captain a master of diverse forces, so also do Poe's mariners seek triumph, salvation, and knowledge i n the integration of t h e i r p e r s o n a l i t i e s . In r e a l i z i n g the l i m i t a t i o n s of the narrowness that dominates t h e i r worldview, they see p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r new achievement and understanding i n the widening of the angle of perception. Poe's mariners grow from that moment of perception. They come to see the interdependence of th e i r separate f a c u l t i e s reflected i n the interdependence i n the world of nature. In surrendering to the terror and beauty of nature they f i n d themselves anew. They come to appreciate the community that e x i s t s among men, and each i s at pains to share his new found knowledge. V TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract Introduction 1 "MS Found i n a Bottle" 12 The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym 23 "A Descent i n t o the Maelstrom" 5^ Conclusion 66 Footnotes 7^ Bibliography 77 1 INTRODUCTION When on that shivering winter's night, the Pequod thrust her v i n d i c t i v e bows into the cold malicious waves, who should I see standing at her helm but Bulkington' I looked with sympathetic awe and fearfulness upon the man, who i n mid-winter j u s t landed from a four year's dangerous voyage, could so unrestingly push o f f again f o r s t i l l another tempestuous term. The land seemed scorching to his feet. . . Let me only say that i t fared with him as with the storm-tossed ship, that miserably drives along the leeward land. The port would f a i n give succor; the port i s p i t i f u l ; i n the port i s safety, com-f o r t , hearth-stone, supper, warm blankets, friends, a l l that's kind to our m o r t a l i t i e s . But i n that gale, the port, the land, i s that ship's d i r e s t jeopardy; she must f l y a l l hospi-t a l i t y ; one touch of land, though i t but graze the keel, would make her shudder through and through. With a l l her might she crowds a l l s a i l o f f shore; i n so doing, f i g h t s 'gainst the very winds that f a i n would blow her homeward; seeks a l l the lashed sea's landlessness again; f o r refuge's sake f o r l o r n l y rushing into p e r i l ; her only friBnd her b i t t e r e s t foeI Know ye, now, Bulkington? Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that a l l deep, earnest thinkirg i s but the i n t r e p i d e f f o r t of the soul to keep the open indepen-dence of the sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous slavish shore. But as i n landlessness alone resides the highest truth, shoreless, i n d e f i n i t e as God—so better i s i t to perish i n that howling, i n f i n i t e , than be in g l o r i o u s l y dashed upon the le e , even i f that were safety.^ Might Harry Levin be r i g h t ? ^ Could that restless haunted s a i l o r be Me l v i l l e ' s salute to a less robust but equally s o l i t a r y V i r g i n i a n , Edgar A l l a n Poe? As a character Bulkington i s allowed to s l i p from view and so Me l v i l l e ' s purpose f o r him remains obscure, but c e r t a i n l y that homelessness, that plunging ahead at a l l costs evokes the Edgar A l l a n Poe of his best tales and poems. In considering the three sea tales of Edgar A l l a n Poe the a l l u s i o n to Moby Dick i s f o r t u i t o u s . No matter what M e l v i l l e ' s i n t e n t was, Bulkington resembles Poe s a i l i n g i n t o an ocean of narrative and metaphysical p o s s i b i l i t i e s cut o f f from the security of conventional havens of thought. In "MS Found i n a Bottle " , The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym, and "A Descent in t o the Maelstrom", Poe sent his protagonists to sea to confront the g u i l t , fears, arid obsessions that haunt the dark caverns of the mind. 2 The sea i n his tales i s the arena wherein the struggle to know takes place, the struggle to move beyond platitudes and conventional r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s . I t i s e s s e n t i a l l y the same struggle, the struggle against psychic d i v i s i o n that takes place i n his other t a l e s . Like nineteenth-century America i n which the new i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n fragmented economic and s o c i a l l i f e , Poe's narrators gravitate towards an inner s t r i f e . This inner c o n f l i c t results from the f a i l u r e of the characters to integrate the various aspects of t h e i r psyches. The heart and the mind appear diametrically opposed, and the w i l l i s divorced from f e e l i n g . In his "Poetic P r i n c i p l e " , Poe divides the mind i n t o the separate f a c u l t i e s of i n t e l l e c t , taste, and moral sense, and many of his narrators -' suffer under the claims and counterclaims of t h e i r divided f a c u l t i e s . They seek to make one facet of the psyche subservient to the machinations of the other. William Wilson and Montresor seek to dominate and control the moral and emotional sides of t h e i r being. "Ligeia" examines the e f f o r t of the w i l l to triumph over other i m p u l s e s — i n t e l l e c t u a l , emotional, moral. Likewise, f o r each of the s a i l o r s , his sea adventure reveals the fierceness of the mind's struggle to come to terms with i t s e l f . This motif of the breakdown of the personality runs through a good many of the ta l e s , thereby l i n k i n g together many seemingly disparate works. Prospero and the condemned narrator of "The Imp of the.Perverse", Roderick Usher, and those unnamed narrators of "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat" a l l t r y to deny a part of t h e i r being. I n s i m i l a r fashion Poe's three p r i n c i p a l mariner characters set s a i l i n the grip, of one master f a c u l t y — t h e i n t e l l e c t i n the cases of the Norseman and the author of the MS—the imagination i n the case of Pym. C r i t i c s have at various times remarked on t h i s underlying unity i n Poe's work. Daniel Hoffman points out that teach of his writings i s a comment and an extension upon his oeuvre"3, and Richard Wilbur has observed that 3 "d i s s i m i l a r tales t e l l the same t a l e " T h e three sea tales continue and expand the probes Poe hastelsewhere made of the human s p i r i t , e s p e c i a l l y with respect to the fragmentation and alie n a t i o n of personality. But at the same time they are a d i s t i n c t group unto themselves. Poe was aware of the sea as a potent symbol throughout much t r a d i t i o n a l l i t e r a t u r e . The convention of the sea voyage was a popular l i t e r a r y device, especially i n nineteenth-century America, and i t s attitudes and values would have i n e v i t a b l y influenced the shaping of imaginative works of t h i s period, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the case of one so aware of current tastes as Poe, the magazine editor. The experiences i n the sea tales embody f o r the figures involved the central questions of existence. Many of Poe's tales end with the denouement, the revelation, the character's or the reader's 'epiphany' to use Joyce's phrase, but the sea tales go beyond t h i s . Poe's s a i l o r s go so f a r as to act upon t h e i r discoveries. They confront the te r r o r and go beyond i t . I n essence, they suffer death and move through i t , For however b r i e f l y a time, they l i v e and act upon the knowledge gained at so f e a r f u l a p r i c e . The sea tales form an important subgroup i n Poe's canon. Patrick Quinn, f o r example, c a l l s The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym of Nantucket a p i v o t a l piece, "the one central and focusing story i n the entirety of Poe's work".^ Daniel Hoffman sees i t as one of Poe's three ambitious attempts "to unify i n a single work his knowledge, t e r r o r , and transcend-ence". ^  Quinn goeson to say that The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym i s important because "through a study of t h i s book one learns how Poe should be read".^ I t i s here that we f i n d recurrent themes and character-i s t i c methods given large scale expression. The study of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, within the group of stories with which i t i s most close l y associated i n subject matter, themes, and imagery cannot help but 4 be illuminating: "To read the longest of Poe's sea stories i n the l i g h t of the shortest one he wrote, "MS Found i n a Bottle", i s to become aware that i n both cases a si m i l a r emotional and imaginative dynamism i s at work". 8 The tales have seldom been dealt with as a unit ; yet i n coming to understand one of these stories i t i s clear that we are led to a f u l l e r understanding of the others. A l l of Poe's mariners face the ultimate te r r o r , and a l l three transcend the horror and eagerly grasp at the knowledge embedded i n the g u i l t , fears, and obsessions that have been confronted. The sea tales share a si m i l a r emotional response to the horror of the human sit u a t i o n , one that i s played out amidst the r i s e and f a l l of the ocean currents. In these works the sea i s not ju s t a setting, but, as with M e l v i l l e , a dynamic and towering symbol. I t was a symbol that, as has been suggested, had come down through the ages and was taking on new vigour i n the nineteenth century. Considering the America of which he was a part, i t was natural that Poe should have turned on d i f f e r e n t occasions to the sea f o r i n the early nineteenth century the sea occupied a central p o s i t i o n i n the American consciousness. Up u n t i l around 1850 the American frontier.was p r i m a r i l y a nautical one. Despite i t s recent independence i t was s t i l l to the old continent that the new nation looked f o r supply of those goods and services she could not provide f o r herself, Even the emerging American l i t e r a r y scene labored under European—particularly B r i t i s h — i n f l u e n c e with respect to the subject matter and taste and t h i s was, i n c i d e n t a l l y , one of the things against which Poe, the magazine editor, struggled. Even as America sought to fi n d and define her national i d e n t i t y the sea played an increasingly central r o l e . As i t touched so much of the country, the sea was f e l t i n almost a l l 5 aspects of the national l i f e . The nation's commercial l i f e was almost t o t a l l y dependent on ocean t r a v e l . Both the goods she required and those she hoped to s e l l needed transportation back to the old continent and the burgeoning national pride of t h i s era fostered the development of a native merchant navy. This,: i n turn, gave r i s e to a great ship building industry. In addition, the American commitment to the sea had been i n t e n s i f i e d during the nation's early m i l i t a r y c o n f l i c t s . Naval successes of the Revolutionary War and more recently those of the War of 1812 nourished national pride. I t was the sea, before 1850, and not the vast unexplored West, that seemed to o f f e r the surest method of f u l f i l l i n g the nation's grand vi s i o n s . Naturally enough a l l t h i s involvement with things nautical was reflected i n the new flowering of a national l i t e r a t u r e . As Thomas P h i l b r i c k points out i n his study of American sea f i c t i o n , James Fenimore Cooper and a host of lesser writers took to the sea i n t h i s f i r s t part of the nineteenth century. Early works l i k e his The Red Rover dealt with the more idealized and f a n t a s t i c aspects of naval l i f e . These early writers rejected the waning neo-classicism and humanism and adopted the emerging Romantic outlook. But Romantic theory was s t i l l developing and i t s application to the sea was tentative. I t was the wild and primitive aspects that were given f i r s t attention. The symbolic and metaphysical perspectives were added as p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r the genre developed. These early works made much of the separateness and uniqueness of the s a i l o r ' s l i f e , dwelling on the glamourous and the exotic, the faraway ports and strange new places and animals. E x c i t i n g as t h i s material was, i t could not long answer the needs of a pragmatic America. By the 1830's the glorious memories of the War of 1812 were fading and being replaced by more basic concerns. The American whaling industry was growing rapidly u n t i l , as P h i l b r i c k 6 observes, i t comprised almost three quarters of the world's f l e e t . The continuous growth of oceanic trading and a bustling coastal shipping industry kept commercial marine interests i n the forefront of American attention. A public so acclimated towards things of the sea began to desire a more r e a l i s t i c account of that l i f e . Accordingly, P h i l b r i c k remarks, the history of the nautical novel between 1835-50 saw "the gradual disintegration of the idealized conception of maritime l i f e " 9 that had been constructed by Cooper and others i n the early romances and an attempt was made to create a more probing view. Thus, the ship, f o r example i n Cooper's Homeward Bound, was no longer the symbol of freedom from the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s and r e s t r i c i t o n s of society but became instead a microcosm of that s o c i e t y . ^ This was the t r a d i t i o n of which Poe's three sea tales were a part. I t w i l l be remembered that Patrick Quinn referred to The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym as a " p i v o t a l " work i n the Poe canon; hererPhilbrick, i n quite a d i f f e r e n t context, sees Pym as occupying a " p i v o t a l place i n the development of American sea f i c t i o n " . ^ In Pym as w e l l as "MS Found i n a Bottle" and "A Descent into the Maelstrom" we see where American sea f i c t i o n has been as w e l l as where i t was headed. To the extent that Poe r e l i e s on Gothic materials he i s the f r u i t i o n of the exotic and f a n t a s t i c t r a d i t i o n which dominated the genre i n the beginning. Each of the tales exhibits that special doom and disaster which emphasized the separateness of sea l i f e . I t i s the lure of things strange and foreign. While s t i l l able to accommodate t h i s sort of thing, the genre was emerging i n t o a more r e a l i s t i c and yet more symbolic medium. To t h i s also Poe was attuned. As P h i l b r i c k points out The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym was one of the f i r s t works i n response to the general i n t e r e s t excited by the preparations f o r the United States; Exploring Expedition led by Charles Wilkes which, 7 i n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, set s a i l i n the year Pym was published.* 2 In terms of the genre, Pym demonstrates a development over the more exotic "MS" i n that a genuine attempt i s made to acquaint the reader with the r e a l i t i e s of s a i l i n g as w e l l as with the plant and animal l i f e found i n strange climes. Considerable c r i t i c i s m has been made of t h i s aspect of Poe's w r i t i n g , some commentators c a l l i n g i t simply an attempt to pad the work, but others l i k e Richard Levine, w r i t i n g i n the Poe Newsletter, consider the nautical d e t a i l — i n the description of the disordered stowage i n The  Narrative of A. Gordon Pym. f o r example—as r e f l e c t i v e of the mind's inner turmoil.^3 Leaving the merit of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r observation aside f o r the moment, Poe's i n c l u s i o n of such data was i n l i n e with the d i r e c t i o n i n which the genre was headed. In "A Descent i n t o the Maelstrom" as w e l l , a conscientious attempt was made to ground the phenomenon which i s at the centre of the story i n as much s c i e n t i f i c f a c t as possible. M e l v i l l e , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n Moby D^ck, was to perfect t h i s technique. There the same detailed nautical l o r e i s incorporated, though more copiously and overtly than i n Poe. I n tying a work of metaphysical significance to the concrete r e a l i t y of d a i l y sea l i f e , however, i t was Poe who pointed the way. I n his three sea t a l e s , Poe linked elements of metaphysical and symbolic significance and so prepared the way f o r M e l v i l l e and the f u l f i l l m e n t of American sea f i c t i o n . Thus the t r a d i t i o n of sea l i t e r a t u r e that had been developing over the country's early decades was important to Poe and he, i n turn, was an i n t e g r a l part of i t s development. P h i l b r i c k sums up poe's contribution to the genre by observing that: Pym serves as a useful index to American attitudes towards the sea at the midpoint between The P i l o t [Cooper} and Moby Diefe. The mere f a c t a w r i t e r so 8 v e r s a t i l e and so sensitive to the vagaries of popular taste as Poe should choose to produce a sea novel at t h i s time indicates the i n t e n s i t y of public demand f o r nautical l i t e r a t u r e . And i n i t s very confusion of aims and concerns, i t s attempts to combine Gothic romanticism and documentary realism, s c i e n t i f i c discovery and mystic revelation, Pym r e f l e c t s the multifarious values that Americans i n the l a t e 1830's attached to the sea, a range of values which Cooper's early romances did not encompass.^ Beyond the American scene, Poe's use of sea materials l i n k s him to the Romantic outlook and i t s decisive s h i f t from the perceptions of e a r l i e r ages. As W. H. Auden points out i n his study of the sea i n l i t e r a t u r e , The Enchafed Flood, i n Greek mythologies the sea was the "symbol f o r the primordial undifferentiated f l u x , the substance which became created nature only by having form imposed upon or wedded to i t " . ^ Darwin and his s c i e n t i f i c discoveries could only confirm what man through the ages had always f e l t to be true. The sea was essential to l i f e , but f o r these early people i t was a p a r t i c u l a r l y dangerous and treacherous place to be. This attitude was conveyed i n t h e i r l i t e r a t u r e . For them, Auden observes, a voyage was a necessary e v i l , something which had to be endured. The ship, then, was a precarious i f e s s e n t i a l vehicle and was an image of society only when that society was i n danger, assaulted, and driven by forces beyond i t s control. Neither sea nor ship had the connotations of freedom and escape from r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s and r e s t r i c t i o n s which l a t e r ages would assooiate with i t nor the function of providing a microcosmic view of society. As man's f a m i l i a r i t y with the sea increased and as crossings became somewhat l e s s dangerous the sea's meaning became altered. Shakespeare's handling of the sea and i t s symbols, Auden suggests, provides us with a t r a n s i t i o n between the Classic and Romantic points of view. In e a r l i e r plays the storm i s more purely negative, a r e f l e c t i o n of human c o n f l i c t or the f a t a l mischance 9 which provides e v i l with i t s opportunity (e. g. Othello). In the l a s t plays, P e r i c l e s , The Winter's Tale, The  Tempest, however, not only do the sea arid the sea voyage play a much more important r o l e , but also a d i f f e r e n t one. The sea becomes the place of purga-t o r i a l suffering; through separation and apparent lo s s , the characters disordered by passion are brought to t h e i r senses and the world of music and marriage i s made possible.16 An important difference between the C l a s s i c a l and Romantic ages i s that i n C l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e the voyage was always a necessity, a d i f f i c u l t means to a desired end. The traveler would never choose to go, never go f o r the pleasure of the journey. But f o r the Romantic, the voyage was able to capture i n a special way the condition of man i n a new i n d u s t r i a l i z e d age. To f l e e the c i t y , the land, with i t s dehumanizing mechanical intrusions was the inevitable desire of the t r u l y sensitive i n d i v i d u a l . For the Romantic "the sea i s the r e a l s i t u a t i o n and the voyage i s the true 17 condition of man". ' In Romantic l i t e r a t u r e the sea i s the arena where the consequential struggles of the human soul take place. As M e l v i l l e phrases i t , as was noted e a r l i e r , "the highest truth resides i n landless-ness". I t was to f i n d t h i s truth, to r i d himself of the values associated with the land that the Romantic took to the sea. He undertook his voyage eagerly. The voyage i t s e l f offered p o s s i b i l i t i e s of meaning and discovery and was not j u s t the; undesired means to a desired end. In f a c t , the end f o r which the journey i s taken remains vague and undefined. Ultimate ends were not r e a l l y sought, nor were they thought to e x i s t . Neither Ishmael nor Pym nor the author of the "MS Found i n a Bottle" s a i l f o r c l e a r l y defined destinations. I t i s i n the voyaging that they hope to f i n d meaning. S i m i l a r l y Coleridge's Ancient Mariner abandons whatever may have o r i g i n a l l y led him to the sea and embraces instead the metaphysical harvest of the voyage. The ship which carried the Romantic explorer on these journeys 10 became invested with new meanings. I t s grace and a g i l i t y suggested escape from the r e s t r i c t i o n s of the shore. I t s a b i l i t y to be steered and controlled made i t seem an extension of man and his w i l l — a s i f captain and crew were one man threading his way through the vast universe. The dependence of these magnificent vessels on the wind could capture i n a special way the precariousness of man's p o s i t i o n i n the universe. Being alone at sea recalled man's essential alienation and i s o l a t i o n . Powerful symbol that i t was the ship was able to project t h i s range of feelings., I f thought of as isolated i n the midst of the ocean a ship can stand f o r mankind and human society moving through time and struggling with i t s destiny. I f thought of as leaving the land f o r the ocean, i t stands f o r a p a r t i c u l a r kind of man and society as contrasted with the average landdwelling kind.18 Poe's mariners are of the l a t t e r v ariety. They reject the values associated with established society and seek the freedom of the open seas. They undertake what Auden c a l l s "the search f o r p o s s i b i l i t y and the escape from necessity" . ^ 9 This i s clearest i n the cases of the author of the "MS Found i n a Bottle" and i n The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym, but the Norseman of "A Descent into the Maelstrom" also rejects the s t r i c t u r e s and cautions advocated by landed society i n favor of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s that l i e beyond the maelstrom. The land i s the home of the known; i t has t i e s and duties which bind. The sea cuts a man off from those claims, cuts him o f f from the joys of home, family, and community, from the joys of the body, the f l e s h , but equally i t frees him from the l i m i t a t i o n s of these things. The world of the ship at sea i s ascetic and austere. Days of the week and seasons of the year matter l i t t l e i n the duties of the ship. Everything around i t i s i n f l u x ; nothing i s permanent. Somewhat paradoxically, t h i s i s the realm of the s p i r i t . In the passage from Moby Dick cited e a r l i e r , the 11 symbolic p o t e n t i a l of the land and sea i s p a r t i c u l a r l y v i v i d . The land offers " a l l that's kind to our m o r t a l i t i e s " , the comforts and Joys of home and hearth. That of f e r i n g of warmth and security i s the ship's greatest threat. I t would draw her to land where but the s l i g h t e s t touch would have f a t a l consequences. The pleasures and comforts of the body would ensnare the s p i r i t . The land's, the body's offerings are the soul's d i r e s t jeopardy. Poe's mariners i n rejecting the comforts and values of landed society reach out f o r the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of the s p i r i t . As Romantic heroes, they are s o l i t a r y men seeking not happiness, but freedom, i n d i v i d u a l i t y , and f u l f i l l m e n t . The sea i s the arena f o r these private struggles. I t takes man back to his beginnings. In putting him i n touch with that from whence he came, the sea opens doors to long buried secrets. The sea tests him to his l i m i t s , and reveals his capacity f o r physical endurance as w e l l as silhouetting his l a t e n t s p i r i t u a l or psychological resourcefulness. The sea attempts to reveal to a man what he i s as an i n d i v i d u a l and member of the human race. A l l of Poe's mariners emerge as s o l i t a r y figures because i t i s only deep within themselves that they can f i n d that which they seek. Their search done, they turn outward again. With new knowledge they can engage other men with the newly acquired awe.and t e r r o r contained w i t h i n themselves. The author of theuMS Found i n a Bottle", f o r example, uses his l a s t moments i n an e c s t a t i c c a l l to those he w i l l never know. Even as he rushes toward more e x c i t i n g knowledge, he hastens to share that already acquired. " I t i s true that I may not f i n d an opportunity of transmitting i t |the journal] to the world, but I w i l l not f a i l to make the endeavour." 2 0 12 "MS Found in a Bottle" "MS Found i n a Bottle", published i n 1833, was one of Poe's early successes, winning $100 i n a short story contest. The reasons f o r i t s success are readily apparent. I t i s a powerful, even spellbinding, t a l e . No extraneous element detracts from i t s single, preconceived e f f e c t . Like the narrator, the tale rushes headlong to i t s conclusion. I n style and, as we s h a l l see, i n meaning i t foreshadows many of the techniques and symbols that w i l l become chara c t e r i s t i c of his w r i t i n g . Steeped i n blackness and whiteness, whirling, plunging vortices hint at the enveloping chaos. In the midst of such terror stands the s o l i t a r y i n d i v i d u a l stripped of the comfort and disguises o f . . l i f e . C h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y , the narrator i s a strongly r a t i o n a l f i g u r e . With him "the reveries of fancy had long been a dead l e t t e r " . He i s at pains to make clear his turn of mind. He was contemplative and methodical and i n no way seems disturbed by the "deficiency of imagination". Indeed, he wants i t c l e a r l y understood that his MS i s no product of a "crude imagination", and speaks of remaining at a l l times within the "severe precincts of truth". He t e l l s us that the study of the German moralists gave him "great delight", not i n t h e i r teachings, but rather i n t h e i r f a l l i b i l i t y , which allows him to "detect t h e i r f a l s i t i e s " . He revels i n the revelation of the errors of others without greatly adding to the general store of truth. This attitude affects his personal relations as w e l l , f o r he i s isolated from his family and country. Indeed, he has spent much of his l i f e i n t r a v e l . In spite of his skepticism—his Pyrrhonism—his wanderings have not been without torment: "A kind of nervous restlessness haunted me as a fiend". Aware of the anxiety but unable to account f o r i t , he simply 13 continues his journeying. Our traveler, thus, seems w e l l suited to the kind of quest that l i e s ahead. His voyage begins i n s t i l l n e s s , but the "entire calm" i s foreboding even though there i s only the "very singular isolated cloud" to "beguile the monotony". The captain perceives no danger, and so sets no watch. At midnight the narrator can r e s t r a i n his uneasiness no longer and so ventures f o r t h to see what can be learned of the s i t u a t i o n . H e _ i s l i n s t a n t l y catapulted into a world of nature gone savage. A H . . . . . . description of the elements defies his imagination. In the face of the b l a s t his Pyrrhonism cannot be sustained. His physical predicament i s overwhelming. I t i s discovered that a l l have perished except f o r himself and an old Swede. Recognizing that they cannot manage the ship, they are swept along at. appalling speed into a world of pitchy blackness. They r i s e and plunge from f e a r f u l heights to t e r r i f y i n g depths. They know only that they t r a v e l southward at a fan t a s t i c v e l o c i t y . Death, the narrator decides, can hardly be deferred beyond the hour. In t h i s state of the "utter hopelessness of hope" they catch t h e i r f i r s t glimpse of the gigantic ship that w i l l carry the traveler ever deeper i n t o t h i s t e r r f y i n g experience. At t h i s moment, overcome by a sudden sense of "self-possession", he "awaited f e a r l e s s l y the ruin that was to overwhelm" him. Surprisingly, the c o l l i s i o n results i n his transference to the larger vessel. The change, thus signalled, i s profound. His self-possession w i l l allow him to take an active, though helpless, role i n his destiny. Amidst the con-tinuing t e r r o r , a sense of awe overtakes him: "A f e e l i n g , f o r which I have no name, has taken possession of my soul . . . a new e n t i t y i s added to my soul". His hew vessel i s peopled with aged s a i l o r s who " w i l l not see" (Poe fs 14 i t a l i c s ) . While on t h e i r ship the voyager carelessly dabs paint on a s a i l only to l a t e r see the word "Discovery" f l y i n g overhead (Poe l a t e r abandoned t h i s sort of obviousness). As the ship i s drawn ever southward into a black area of gleaming i c e ramparts and even more turbulent seas the man i s drawn out of himself: To conceive the horror of my sensations i s , I presume, impossible; yet a c u r i o s i t y to penetrate the mysteries of these awful regions predominates even over my despair and w i l l reconcile me to the most hideous aspect of death. I t i s evident that we are hurrying onwards to some exc i t i n g knowledge—some never-to-be imparted secret whose attainment i s destruction. The knowledge i t appears w i l l save him from despair, though not destruction. The aged s a i l o r s grow hopeful, but the narrator goes down taking the f i n a l knowledge with him. In an afternote Poe suggests that the ship has been drawn i n t o the bowels of the earth. What i s i t that the s a i l o r s w i l l not see? They obviously can see f o r he mentions charts, maps, and they move about the ship unaided'. What i s the " e x c i t i n g " discovery that the narrator carries with him into the bowels of the earth? Has he learned i t as he scans the heights and depths of the universe i n the ceaseless plunging of the sea? The t a l e may be i r r e s o l u t e when compared with the achievement of the l a t e r sea t a l e s , yet we can see c l e a r l y the essence of Poe's a r t present at t h i s early stage. As A l l e n Tate has observed, " i n discussing any w r i t e r or i n coming to terms with him, we must avoid the trap of mere abstract evaluation and 21 try; and reproduce the actual conditions of our. relationship to him". This i s of fundamental importance to an understanding of Poe. When distracted from those "actual conditions" one can e a s i l y wander i n t o a subjective and conjectural psychological analysis or a study of sources. As fascinating and as useful as these can be, they e s s e n t i a l l y miss the mark. The important question i s ; why i t i s , and how i t i s that Poe's 15 story works i t s w i l l on us. As readers of the "MS Found i n a B o t t l e " , we f e e l the p u l l of that great vortex as i t draws the narrator down. To achieve or arrive at an understanding of Poe one has to s k i r t a th i n l i n e between two possible approaches to l i t e r a t u r e , each with i t s own proponents and detractors. Separately, they are capable of d i s t o r t i n g the balance giving perhaps undue weight to the various aspects i t deems appropriate, but together they can suggest the vast richness i n a true l i t e r a r y work of a r t . F i r s t of a l l , Floyd S t o v a l l says that i t i s within the t a l e or poem that the c r i t i c should look f o r i t s meaning. Before considering the unconscious, he warns, the c r i t i c "should understand a l l that the poet's conscious s e l f has contributed. To affirm that a work of imagination i s only a report of the unconscious i s to degrade the 22 creative a r t i s t to "the l e v e l of an amanuensis". But Maud Bodkin, an equally notable c r i t i c , suggafcs that i t i s ft Not a complete account of a poem as an imaginative achievement to trace l i t e r a r y sources of i t s imagery and to refe r to the e f f o r t of conscious thought and w i l l ordering i n accordance with a l u c i d l y conceived design . . . The design i t s e l f i s determined by forces that do not l i e open d i r e c t l y to thought, nor to the control of the w i l l , but of which we may learn something through the comparative study of l i t e r a r y material and i t s psychological analysis. 2 3 One would not l i k e to argue with either scholar, since what each says i s es s e n t i a l l y true. Clearly the conscious s e l f i s the determining factor.or we might a l l be great authors. Poe was c l e a r l y such a conscious a r t i s t . In describing the s k i l l f u l a r t i s t he has observed that "having deliberately conceived a certain single e f f e c t to be wrought, he then invents such incidents, he then combines such events, and discusses them i n such tone as rifeybest serve him i n establishing t h i s preconceived effect 1.'. The evidence of t h i s a r t i s t ' s "construction" i s everywhere present. The incidents and tone j o i n to create the ef f e c t of awe and ter r o r . 16 I t would be a serious error to denigrate Foe's conscious ordering of parts to achieve his e f f e c t s . But i t would be equally wrong, we must acknowledge, to underestimate the more hidden aspects of his narrative a r t . There i s a flow between ta l e and reader that cannot be t r u l y accounted f o r by any construction of incidents. In the "MS Found i n a Bottle", the p u l l one f e e l s towards the vortex i s a p u l l from the deepest parts of our being. Poe, l i k e h is narrators, looked within, and he, too, may have been shocked by what he found therein. Each of Poe's sailor-narrators i s also an author. Poe, thus, understands t h e i r narrative aspirations, t h e i r need to get the t a l e t o l d . Poe's conscious ordering of the t a l e , then, works i t s w i l l . The "MS Found i n a Bottle" works wel l as a simple narrative of adventure. A l l the necessary elements of a f a n t a s t i c account are present along with a sensitive and i n t e l l i g e n t figure to recount the experience. Even the subsequent transmission of the MS back to society i s pla u s i b l y accounted f o r . Poe wanted his readers, though, to look further, and t h i s i s evident from the many clues and introductions i n t o the tale's i n t e r i o r meaning that he provides. The f i r s t and perhaps most obvious one i s the "thoughtless touches" which,-spell out-"Discovery". The narrator's language becomes increasingly excited as the events proceed. What, one i s asked to determine, i s t h i s discovery which has produced so marked a change on the n a r r a t o r — p a r t i c u l a r l y as he had been at some pains to show how resistant he was to such inclinations? One i s l e d , then, quite naturally i n t o the i n t e r i o r of the t a l e . The discovery cannot be told completely because, of course, the narrator has not finished his descent. But his meaning, the discovery of his own p o t e n t i a l f o r discovery i s embodied i n his t a l e . And he has made certain we w i l l have his t a l e . One must look now towards those "undercurrents of meaning which can 1? only be c a l l e d up by the reader". 2 5 The incidents of the t a l e have l e d us to the irrevocable r e a l i z a t i o n that there i s a discovery to be made. The revelation i s i n the t a l e , the frame upon which the incidents are hung. We know from the opening characterization of the narrator that he i s a strongly r a t i o n a l . f i g u r e and i s so to the exclusion of imagination and emotional attachments. His years of t r a v e l t e s t i f y to his i s o l a t i o n and his desire to remain so. He travels alone and makes no mention of even any casual acquaintance. He would seem to be free of the p u l l s and t i e s of the world—unencumbered by the attachments that weigh so heavily on the landlocked. But even here amidst the openness of the sea he i s overtaken. His mind a l e r t s him to the strangeness of the calm, but to no a v a i l . He i s dependent on the captain whose mind perceives no danger. At midnight, unable to stand the uncertainty any longer, he ventures f o r t h . But i n that very instant he i s overtaken by forces f a r greater than himself and from which there i s no escape. Along with the nameless old Swede he i s buffeted, helpless i n the grip of the elements. For f i v e days and nights there i s a steady increase i n t e r r o r . There are incalculable v e l o c i t i e s , dizzying heights, fearsome depths, impenetrable blackness u n t i l a crescendo i s reached with the appearance of the strange gigantic ship. As noted above, the c o l l i s i o n of the two vehicles r e s u l t s i n his transference to the larger vessel, and we sense here also a transference from one state to another. Before sighting the gigarcHc ship he had observed that death could no longer be held at bay and so he gives i n t o despair. A new f e e l i n g surpasses that despair. At f i r s t he characterizes i t as self-possession, but then goes on to see i t as a new f e e l i n g f o r which he has no name but which begins to take precedence over a l l other concerns. S t i l l he doesn't know how to understand the new impression. To 18 a r a t i o n a l mind the overtones of t h i s new experience are e v i l . His past experience w i l l not account f o r i t . His mind i s powerless to fathom i t . But even so he begins to see other p o s s i b i l i t i e s , the most wonderful being the new sense that floods his soul: "A new sense—a new e n t i t y i s added to my soul". In discussing his i n t e r i o r make-up the traveler has stressed his i n t e l l e c t u a l a b i l i t i e s . With pride he points out his lack of fancy, his lack of emotional involvement or commitm«.n.+., For him "the reveries of fancy have been a dead l e t t e r and a n u l l i t y " . This new sense, i t seems, n u l l i f i e s t h i s detachment as we l l as producing a marked change i n his character. Where before he had apparently avoided serious contact with his fellow beings, he now seeks t h i s out. He conceives the idea of a journal i n which he promises to record the experience of his strange venture. H<S acknowledges that his manuscript may never reach society but vows to make the attempt to reach out to his fellow men. This turning outward i s s i g n i f i c a n t to the traveler's achievement of an understanding of his s i t u a t i o n , and t h i s pattern w i l l be repeated i n other t a l e s . One can see a change i n his s i t u a t i o n as he views the possible out-come of his new experience. Whereas i n the beginning he dreaded death, the horror he now sees i s that he may be "doomed to hover continually upon the brink of Ete r n i t y , without taking a f i n a l plunge". This i s , indeed, a fundamental change. As long as they were being tossed about i n the ship there would presumably have been'the opportunity f o r rescue. But t h i s no longer seems important. There i s , i n tru t h , a fate worse than death. His new desire i s not a death wish as such. He has given us no reason to suppose that he wishes to end his l i f e . I t i s rather e t e r n i t y that he seeks, and personal o b l i t e r a t i o n carries no g r i e f i n the face of 19 eternity. The notion i s much akin to the ideas discussed i n Eureka, the prose poem which Poe published i n 1845. In t h i s long and a&struse work Poe sought to explain the universe as w e l l as the working of the human mind within that universe. Basic to his theory was the concept of a t t r a c t i o n and repulsion. P a r t i c l e s expand to f i l l the l i m i t s of eternity and rush inward again to the simple unity from which they sprang. Poe saw the workings of th i s universe as p a r a l l e l to the workings of the mind* The i n d i v i d u a l rushes out to the l i m i t s of his being only to be drawn back again. His conscious acts of decision while allowing him to stand alone as a f u l l y formed i n d i v i d u a l also cut him off from the community of fellowship among men. He comes to crave that c o l l e c t i v i t y . He seeks to abandon his i n d i v i d u a l i t y , before b i r t h . In t h i s sense, then, personal o b l i t e r a t i o n i s a restoration. : : I t i s f o r t h i s that the author of the manuscript now longs. One might again note the passage cited above where he speaks of the horror of his s i t u a t i o n overtaken by a c u r i o s i t y to reach out that he might gain knowledge even though such knowledge may mean destruction. Clearly, i t i s better to die with knowledge than to l i v e i n ignorance. The ignorance of his past l i f e i s no longer tolerable. He seeks the plunge. There are now many clues towards the nature of that knowledge, but s t i l l i t l i e s buried i n the heart of the t a l e . With each reading, however, the d i s t i l l a t i o n of meaning i s yet f i n e r . What emerges i s the study of a mind struggling to know^ltsel.T~antf*it^ that larger universe i n which a l l matter both material and s p i r i t u a l i s a part. In a kind of reverse synecdoche the narrator has a mind estranged from i t s e l f . I t excludes the imagination, the senses, the emotions as i f they have no role . The mind, then,- engages i n study and i n t r a v e l , seeking distance i n miles and skepticism. Thus free an unencumbered, the mind would be 20 independent and powerful. I n the midst of i t s supposed security i t i s overtaken by powerful, i r r e f u t a b l e f a c ts of existence. Nature cannot and w i l l not be ignored. Other d e t a i l s of the story now come to the fore. The ship i s drawn ever southward by what the narrator can only conclude to be a strong current or undertow—some unseen but powerful force. Now, the South might mean many things. Marie Bonaparte has considered i t an image 26 of the mother, f o r Poe. Clearly Poe, the a r i s t o c r a t , was more at home i n the South-than he could ever have been i n the i n d u s t r i a l Morth. Poe most l i k e l y would have f e l t a return to the South as a journey home. As the ship travels southward the notion of a homeward, i n t e r i o r journey i s reenforced. But the south—the South Pole—was also the l a s t major unexplored land mass. I t excited i n t e r e s t i n Poe's day and i t s a t t r a c t i o n f o r him was given considerable play i n The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym. I t i s the old men whose decision not to see f i r s t helps the narrator and the reader to recognize that there i s something to see. Though t h e i r old age carries with i t great i n f i r m i t y , i t i s rather with reverence, awe, and wonder that the narrator regards thep than with p i t y . This wonder arises out of nothing supernatural f o r , we are t o l d , there i s nothing about the captain which suggests "more or less than a man". The narrator finds a s i m i l a r i t y between the captain and himself i n t h e i r heights—which i n c i d e n t a l l y i s also, Poe's height—which might again suggest the closeness Poe f e e l s f o r his narrator, separate though they might have been i n other respects. About t h e i r ship there i s also a sense of mystery. In studying her strange shape he notices that "there w i l l occasionally f l a s h across my mind a sensation of f a m i l i a r things and there i s always mixed up with such i n d i s t i n c t shadows of r e c o l l e c t i o n an unaccountable memory of old foreign chronicles and ages long ago". With these aged men, then, and t h e i r strange ship there i s an aura of half-remembered ideas. Clearly, t h i s i s 21 no ordinary ship and crew—even the wood seems unsuitable. I t i s among these ancient s a i l o r s that our narrator wanders; i t i s with these half-remembered ideas that the mind rushes to meet i t s destiny. We can see, then, the d i r e c t i o n i n which the narrator's mind i s propelled. I t reaches deep within i t s e l f , i n t o the subconscious, that vast f i e l d of half-remembered ideas, while yet reaching out to his fellow men. That these ideas flow concurrently i s essential to the meaning of the t a l e . The narrator's mind, then, i s determined to reach out, to share, to communicate the experience with his fellow men. In noticing when t h i s change overtook t h i s s o l i t a r y traveler, one r e c a l l s that he conceives the idea while on board the strange gigantic ship a f t e r the "new sense" has overtaken his soul. And t h i s new sense i s admitted only a f t e r he had given up cl i n g i n g to l i f e . Death was at hand and there could no longer be any thought of personal security. I n giving up personal concern the experience takes on deep meaning. A l l that takes place a f t e r the sighting of the gigantic ship could be dream. The e f f e c t i s the same either way— to open to the narrator the gates of his r e a l being. The tale i s an account of the mind tr y i n g to discover i t s relationship to i t s e l f , to others, and to the universe. Neither the mind nor the man can l i v e t o t a l l y alone as t h i s leads only to barrenitravels and skeptical studies. I n looking outward, he finds his place within and vice-versa. I t might be useful here to note another pattern that w i l l grow to greater f r u i t i o n i n subsequent t a l e s . Maud Bodkin c a l l s the pattern the re b i r t h archetype. There i s , she says, "a movement downward, or inward toward the earth's center, or a cessation of movement—a physical change which . . . appears also as a t r a n s i t i o n towards disintegration and death. This element i n the pattern i s balanced by a movement upward and outward — a n expansion or burst of a c t i v i t y , a t r a n s i t i o n toward reintegration 22 and l i f e r e n e w a l " ^ The upward movement i s not emphasized f u l l y i n t h i s t a l e . There i s death, but there i s j u s t as c l e a r l y the renewal of l i f e i n the a c t i v i t y of the soul that rushes with excitement towards new knowledge and even i n i t s f i n a l moments reaches out toward a reintegration with l i f e , with society, with those f o r whom experience may open new roads. The pattern w i l l gain strength and c l a r i t y , but i t s presence here t e s t i f i e s to the ess e n t i a l optimism of the t a l e . Knowledge can and must be found, and i f at the cost of personal o b l i t e r a t i o n , so be i t . Poe was not dealing with personal well-being. His own l i f e offered l i t t l e security i n that regard. Knowledge i s the thing—knowledge gained and shared. At great personal p e r i l Poe's mariners come to a truer understanding of the s e l f and of the c o l l e c t i v i t y , the community that exists among men. 23 The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym The l i f e of Arthur Gordon Pym, on the other hand, was f u l l of security and well-being. But t h i s security was rejected i n a determined bid to go to sea. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, written i n 1837, i s Poe's second story of the sea. Here the conventions of the sea voyage play a larger role than i n the "MS Found i n a Bott l e " . A young boy, his imagination inflamed by the. t a l e s of a companion's whaling voyages, decides to abandon a l l and seek his fate at sea. Poe's ta l e abounds with the s t u f f of conven-t i o n a l sea adventures. There i s mutiny, shipwreck, famine, and treachery, but the haunting appeal of the stor i e s l i e s elsewhere. I t i s the boy, Pym, who f a s c i n a t e s — n o t so much because of those wild and incredible adventures which happen to him but rather because of the way i n which he responds to them. Young, reckless, and impulsive he seems the very embodiment of the nomadic American ideal—"Go west" they t o l d him. Rather than go west, Pym goes to sea. But not f o r a single instant does he dream of the riches and rewards that should r i g h t f u l l y , one probably f e e l s , be his at the end of such a quest: "My visions were of shipwreck and famine; of death and c a p t i v i t y among barbarian hordes; of a l i f e t i m e dragged out i n sorrow and tears, upon some gray and desolate rock, i n an ocean unapproachable and unknown". Yet despite such v i s i o n s , such premoni^ tions, Pym and the reader are eager to go. We approve his urgings to explore f u r t h e r — i n t o Antarctica. Never once does he think of returning home; indeed, never a f t e r baarding the Grampus does Pym give a single thought of home. What has been sailed away from, what innocence and naivete f i l l e d those years are now i r r e t r i e v a b l y gone. His only future, whatever i t may be l i e s , ahead. Pym's narrative was slow to gain recognition. Sidney Kaplan c a l l s i t a Rcriminally neglected classic".28 Arthur Hobson Quinn has noted that 24 i t may have been written at the suggestion of Harper Brothers Publishing Company—as long works seemed to s e l l b e t t e r ^ ? In addition, i t may have been an attempt to c a p i t a l i z e on the great public i n t e r e s t i n exploration arid t r a v e l which, as P h i l b r i c k has demonstrated, was very much i n vogue during t h i s period . 3 0 p o e himself may have cherished a hope f o r popular success, but i t was not to be had. The tale's brooding and mysterious end did not win favor with the reading p u b l i c . Yet that same ending has maintained a tenacious hold on sensitive readers. As Arthur Quinn again notes, when the d e t a i l s are forgotten, the mysterious figure remains.31 Paradoxically, that white figure may have prevented the tale ' s popularity but j u s t as equally i t has accounted f o r i t s s u r v i v a l . In spite of such an enigmatic ending the t a l e offers a strong straight-forward beginning. "My name i s A. Gordon Pym . . . My father . . . My maternal grandfather." From the very opening words the focus i s on Pym. I t i s important that we come to know him. He wants us to know more than simply what happens to him. In sharp contrast~k> poe Pym was w e l l situated, f i n a n c i a l l y . His father was a respected s e l l e r of s@a supplies i n t h e prosperous town of Nantucket. His grandfather was i n a strong enough p o s i t i o n to of f e r an inheritance to his grandson. I n short, Pym was w e l l based on land. With the aid of the good education with which he had been provided, l i f e seemed hopeful and stable. C r i t i c s l i k e Marie Bonaparte suggest that such f i n a n c i a l and educational g i f t s were a kind of wish f u l f i l l m e n t on the part of the tale's orphaned author. More to the point, Pym's f i n a n c i a l ; security i s an ess e n t i a l element of h i s t a l e . This was no voyage of necessity as there i s no pressing reason f o r him to venture f o r t h ; rather, reason urged him to remain. Everything contrived to keep Pym i n prosperous Nantucket's arms. Within reach was a l l the well-being the land could o f f e r . Pym's reasons f o r going remain vague 25 and unstated, but we have from the beginning a re j e c t i o n of conventional values and, thus, the injunction to look elsewhere f o r his motives. Throughout the narrative Poe exercises f i r m authorial control, putting to the l i e those c r i t i c s who, l i k e Bonaparte, charge that the tale ran away with him, that i t became too big to handle.^ 2 Time and again items and incidents that may have been thought of as f i l l e r are seen to play an i n t e g r a l part i n Pym's r e a l narrative. His "digressions" on stowage and the rookeries of albatrosses and penguins, f o r example, have i n t r i n s i c value. As an editor, Poe understood current tastes and in t e r e s t s ; as a nearly penniless author he would have l i k e d to appeal to these i n t e r e s t s ; but ever the a r t i s t , each d e t a i l , each incident seems to expand the scope or deepen the i n t e n s i t y of the tale's o v e r a l l design. I t i s the o v e r a l l design that we must search out amidst t h i s most elaborate of arabesques. I n i t i a l l y , the tale excites the reader l i k e a true l i f e adventure but gradually 4he i n t e r e s t i n t h i s aspect weakens. We begin to notice that the appearances serve a r e a l i t y d i f f e r e n t from documentation. Our suspicions are confirmed almost as soon as we enter the polarized world of T s a l a l . Pym repeatedly t e l l s us i t i s l i k e no world he or the crew have ever known. Not the l e a s t of i t s p e c u l i a r i t i e s i s the opposition between black and white. The shades arranged so steadfastly on opposite sides have connotations impossible to ignore. Black and white, these most symbolic of colors, cry out to be noticed. Locked within t h i s dichromatic tableau i s the seed of our awakening to Pym's most probing journey. From the beginning, Pym has revealed his naivete. He i s an ingenue i n t h i s matter of exploration. L i f e up to now had been good, but he i s looking f o r something more. He knows that he must depend on others and so turns to his fri e n d Augustus as the one most l i k e l y to help him. Two years older, Augustus had been i n the South Seas with his father. From that 26 adventure he could f i n d much with which to excite his younger companion's imagination. So strong i s the hold that Augustus acquires that Pym completely surrenders to the older boy's urgings. Augustus has both the means—his father's whaling vessel—and the knowledge—familiarity and experience on s a i l i n g voyages»-to help Pym accomplish his goal of escape to the sea. Augustus i s superb—almost every d e t a i l i s taken care of. But not f o r nothing have we been told of the boys' e a r l i e r misadventure aboard the A r i e l . Besides showing Pym's g u l l i b i l i t y , i t has revealed much of the character of Augustus, on whom Pym w i l l so depend. Augustus may w e l l be the accomplished sailor—Pym had:been "depending e n t i r e l y on the nautical s k i l l of my f r i e n d " — b u t a l l his s k i l l i s useless when his common sense f a i l s due to i n t o x i c a t i o n . This weakness Pym f a i l s to notice j u s t as he overlooks the marked difference i n the manner i n which they respond to t h e i r predicament. Pym did whatever could be done and then surrendered his fate to his god. " I recommended myself to God and made up my mind to bear whatever might happen with a l l the fortit u d e i n my power". With t h i s he plunges d i r e c t l y i n t o his f a t e . As luck would have i t , they are saved by the determined e f f o r t s of an incoming ship's crew. Pym, who vowed to accept his fate, i s rescued e a s i l y . Augustus, who struggles, i s almost given up as l o s t . Pym includes t h i s adventure i n his narrative as a prelude to more momentous happenings. I t does much to establish the character of the two boys. I t i s t h e i r personalities which w i l l shape much of the action that follows. Often they are overwhelmed, but j u s t as often they s a i l d eliberately i n t o t h e i r predicaments. Augustus i s older, more experienced and, c l e a r l y , the'leader of the two, yet his i n a b i l i t y to manage his l i q u o r reveals a v u l n e r a b i l i t y Pym would have been wise to note. Pym, the younger, i s quite e a s i l y l e d . As he i s not so experienced, he i s dependent on the s k i l l s of his companion. 27 The A r i e l incident reveals Pym's p a r t i c u l a r s u s c e p t i b i l i t i e s . He remarks that one would think that such a hazardous incident would have dampened any l i n g e r i n g passion f o r the sea. But Arthur i s no ordinary boy. His conversations with Augustus grow more frequent and yet more intense. Thus begins a pattern we w i l l see repeated throughout t h i s sea t a l e . In contradiction to a l l apparent l o g i c and even r a t i o n a l i t y Pym determines to go to sea. There i s no good reason f o r going. I t i s u n l i k e l y that he would achieve greater f i n a n c i a l success than that already promised by his grandfather, who, i n f a c t , threatens to disown him should he go. He stands to lose more than he might gain. But Pym never speaks of gain. His premonitions are much more somber. S t i l l he f e e l s bound to f u l f i l l them even i f they be as gloomy as he senses. Why then does he goT He himself professes not to know what possesses him at such moments. He knows only that hejmust go to sea. Clearly and emphatically he rejects the values associated with l a n d — s e c u r i t y and s t a b i l i t y . He seeks new values and new discoveries. What these might be i s inherent i n the voyage. Much has been made of the s i m i l a r i t y between the names of A. Gordon Pym and that of his creator, Edgar A l l a n Poe. Poe does much to support the connection. I t i s a f t e r a l l Edgarton from which they s a i l away. Pym i s blessed with loving and wealthy relations as Poe often wished himself to be. Careful reading w i l l reveal t h i s to be a highly personal narrative, as i s the case with a l l of Poe's writings. But j u s t as one would be f o o l i s h to i d e n t i f y too close l y the mad ravings of W i l l i a n Wilson with the author who understood that those anxieties and obsessions l a y not i n Wilson's look a l i k e companion but i n the tortured narrator himself, so i t would be equally f o o l i s h to associate too closely Pym, the created boy, with the creating, author. Daniel Hoffman quotes Professor James Cox iiho suggests that the name Pym, rather than any rhythmic equivalent to the author's own name. 28 may be an anagram.33 p o e w a s c e r t a i n l y fond of such puzzles. Harry Levin suggests several others i n the t a l e . T s a l a l , f o r example, may be an anagram f o r 'as t a l l ' or perhaps even 'a s t a l l ' . 3 ^ pym may, then, be a disguised form of Impwthat figure met throughout Poe's oeuvre. His por-t r a i t i s best painted here i n the a l l - t o o - r e a l scene on the i s l a n d of T s a l a l when Pym's fear of f a l l i n g gives way to his longing to f a l l . But we see him here and throughout Poe's tales as that force which compells us to act i n what seems d i r e c t opposition to our apparent s e l f - i n t e r e s t . I t i s what urges those murderers i n "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Eat" to reveal t h e i r crimes. So fascinated was Poe by t h i s f a c u l t y that he wrote a short piece on i t e n t i t l e d simply "The Imp of the Perverse". I t might be w e l l to digress here and examine a pattern that w i l l grow throughout Pym's narrative. The t a l e i s a condemned man's f i n a l plea to be understood. Tomorrow he dies. Many years before, through cunning ways, he k i l l e d h is benefactor and then inherited his wealth. For years he l i v e d with the security that, through his careful planning, detection was impossible. This afforded him more pleasure than a l l the material advantages accruing from his crime. So content with himself was he that i n pondering his security, as he frequently di d , he would mutter to himself " I am safe". A casual thought grows. " I am s a f e — I am safe; yes, i f I be not f o o l enough to make an open confession". Within moments his whole demeanor has changed. As i f possessed, he begins running through the streets alarming the populace. In the grip of the most t e r r i b l e oppression he b l u r t s f o r t h his secret i n a clear and d i s t i n c t voice. Why has he done i t ? I s i t l i k e l y that one would do such a thing? The narrator has prefaced his story with a s l i g h t l y lengthier account of the human s p i r i t as revealed by h i s experience. He wishes "to explain . . . why I am here". He speaks of a "propensity", an i n c l i n a t i o n 29 which man has overlooked—not through ignorance or lack of v i s i o n , he states, but " i n the pure arrogance of our reason". Reason has no use f o r i t , sees "no need of the impulse", and so has t r i e d to account f o r i t s workings i n other ways. These thinkers, i n t e l l e c t u a l rather than observant, set out to explain, to categorize nature on the basis of what they thought God's plan to be. Far better i t would have been^ he suggests, had we observed what men actually did. Such observations would have forced us to admit the existence of t h i s propensity he c a l l s perverseness. "Through i t s promptings we act without comprehensible object . . . we act f o r the reason we should not. In theory noreason can be more unreasonable; but, i n f a c t , there i s none more strong!!. This i n c l i n a t i o n e x i s t s , thus, i n spite of, i n contrast to, and i n defiance of reason. Who has not, he asks, f e l t such urgings? I t i s t h i s perverseness which causes us to procrastinate. What can be the good of such postponement? Even fore-warned of hardships and danger we yet s t a l l . Who has not capriciously annoyed and hurt those whom he had no desire to antagonize? We do i t because we should not. In a passage reminiscent of that memorable incident of Pym's longing to f a l l , he recounts that implacable change from horror to longing. Even stripped of personality the passage retains i t s power. That which we "know" we should avoid we seek. And we do so f o r reasons we cannot account f o r with l o g i c : "Beyond or behind t h i s there i s no i n t e l l i -gible p r i n c i p l e " , he t e l l s us. But i t s existence, as described, i s d i f f i c u l t to deny. Each of us has at some time acted f o r reaspns that appear unreasonable and which seem to o f f e r no benefit to ourselves. But t h i s propensity toward perverseness e x i s t s and plays i t s role within human l i f e . We seem not to understand i t nor the manner i n which i t "might be made to further the objects of humanity, either temporal or moral". Herein l i e s the i n t r i g u i n g core of the matter. We act f o r no 30 l o g i c a l reason and f o r no apparent good. How, then, might the objects of humanity be furthered? What, then, are the objects of humanity? Was i t good that our murderer-narrator blurted out his crime? He seems not to regret i t , seeking only to explain i t . And what have been the consequences of his action? He i s t r i e d , convicted, and condemned: "Today I wear these chains and am here! Tomorrow I s h a l l be f e t t e r l e s s I — b u t where?"(Poe's i t a l i c s ) . His confession has brought him to that f i n a l tomorrow. He stands poised at the edge of a precipice, at the rim of an immense vortex. At any moment he w i l l plunge. We harken back to another e a r l i e r Poe tale wherein the narrator also stands poised before a f i n a l plunge. He, we remember, hungered f o r that " e x c i t i n g knowledge". Has t h i s perversity, then, furthered the objects of humanity—eternal i f not temporal? I f knowledge, whatever i t s source and subject, be an object then yesya resounding yes. Pym, throughout his adventure, w i l l act within the grip c f t h i s perversity. Time and again he does what we know he shouldn't. His perverseness w i l l bring him, also, to the brink of that white cataract. He, too, has not a single thought of avoiding the encounter/ Pym has a ta l e to t e l l . He dies mysteriously i n the midst of t e l l i n g i t . Would he have had a tale to t e l l had he stayed on land amidst the security of his education and inherited wealth? He has judged such a l i f e not worth l i v i n g and risked a l l to escape i t s embrace. Pym's Imp l e d him from that gray security. Thus i t i s that Pym determines to go to sea. Despite the hazards he envisions, despite the objections of both Captain Barnard and his family, he goes. The benefits are hidden. The setting out i s not easy. Neverthe-l e s s , the problem caused by his mother's hysteria and grandfather's threat of d i s i n h e r i t i n g "only adds f u e l to the flames". The obstacles only arouse his Imp of the Perverse. To surmount these hindrances Pym must r e l y on the 31 s k i l l of Augustus, f o r i t i s he who h i t s upon the plan. Augustus thinks of everything—almost. Pym's absence from home i s p l a u s i b l y accounted f o r ; arrangements and provisions are gathered i n the hold. Once an opportunity i s found i t i s quickly put into e f f e c t . The only impediment remaining i s the chance encounter with his grandfather as Pym i s about to board the Grampus. Unceremoniously the old man and a l l he represents are rejected. This done, Pym i s safe and takes possession of his new compartment. Though he f e e l s the s a t i s f a c t i o n of a monarch, his palace i s simply a long, narrow, i r o n box buried deep within the b e l l y of an old hulk. Eagerly he accepts his entombment. Augustus' s k i l l f u l arrangements cannot prevent Pym's great suffering when events take a sudden turn. Augustus has made no plans f o r the unex-pected, and s i g n i f i c a n t l y , he remains powerless to respond to the new s i t u a t i o n f o r many days. In that time Pym, who has i n f a c t submitted to a l i v i n g burial,undergoes the terrors of the damned. He i s trapped. The vapors combine with hunger and t h i r s t to render him powerless. He i s unable to take any e f f e c t i v e a c t i o n — t o o weak to move the chain cable, tbo disoriented to thread h i s way through the cluttered stowage. Symmetrically, t h i s jumble below deck r e f l e c t s the fresh chaos that has taken hold above deck. Indeed, both w i l l work <to destroy the Grampus. While Pym stiffers i n impotent i s o l a t i o n a mutiny has taken place. Established sea l i f e has been repalaced by brawling, bickering disorder. Augustus has seen i t &3-1 but can do nothing. The e v i l men prove too strong. To his aid comes the half-breed Dirk Peters. Peters' appearance and friendship are, indeed, fortuitous. On him w i l l come to rest many of Pym's hopes throughout the long voyage. Peters i s a swarthy, misshapen, and powerful figure. He saves Augustus' l i f e and welcomes Pym. I t i s he who w i l l put Pym's plan i n t o e f f e c t . With force 32 the ship i s retaken, but t h e i r v i c t o r y i s short-lived. They have been saved from certain death at the mate's hands, but the l i f e to which Pym again emerges i s yet more t e r r i b l e . Through his narrative we begin to see t h i s pattern emerge. Beginning as an innocent boy asleep, he takes to the sea i n a small boat. By luck, he i s saved from a simple death by drowning only to suffer a l i v i n g b u r i a l beneath the decks of the Grampus. He emerges to f i n d a more r e a l horror above. A l l on which he had put his t r u s t has , been overturned by the treacherous hearts of men. His f u l l emergence into the l i f e of the ship i s again more t e r r i b l e . The further he s a i l s from those safe Nantucket shores the more dir e his s i t u a t i o n becomes. Augustus i s grievously wounded i n the fracas. They w i l l soon sorely need the aid he could have provided. For now, almost at the moment of t h e i r success, i t i s the elements that seem to leap i n t o increased fury. The mutiny had neglected the care of the ship,'and now, i n the storm, the disordered stowage s h i f t s and r o l l s and claims i t s t o l l . The b r i g capsizes. They have been abandoned. The death-bearing ship f l o a t s past with i t s stench and hocror. The l i v i n g ship s a i l s g a i l y o f f not wishing to be bothered. Thus abandoned J5>y the l i v i n g and the dead, they are l e f t to themselves. Isolated i n the vast ocean t h i s small group of survivors must turn to themselves to endure the hardships of the voyage. I t i s l e f t to Parker to mention the t e r r i b l e idea. A l l embrace i t w i l l i n g l y except Pym, who has no choice. To that end l o t s are drawn and Parker f a l l s v i c t i m to his own idea. His contribution i s hoarded and sustains them f o r several days. With Parker gone the survivors are reduced to the es s e n t i a l three: Augustus, who made possible Pym's escape to the sea, Peters,whose strength has saved them more than once, and Pym,whose voyage we share. They d r i f t south and cross the Equator. There below that l i n e that divides the halves of the world Augustus f i n a l l y dies. The wounds he 33 suffered i n the struggle to regain the b r i g have continued to eat away at his strength. The predicament has proved to be too much f o r Augustus. For a l l h is experience and s k i l l f u l planning, he i s useless i n t h i s new s i t u a t i o n . Peters and Pym wait f o r n i g h t f a l l to abandon the corpse. No d e t a i l escapes Poe's notice i n his compilation of horrors and so i t i s that Augustus' l e g i s severed as the putrid corpse i s l i f t e d . Now Pym must s a i l onward with only Peters. Augustus* absence, while mourned, i s not greatly regretted as he had been of l i t t l e assistance. I t may seem as though a l l that could possibly happen to them, has happened, but fate holds yet more cards. For some days the ship seemed to be t i l t i n g . They do what they can to secure what possessions they have. But alas a l l are l o s t as the ship capsizes. Once free of the sharks the s i t u a t i o n seems not as bad as they had feared, f o r the k e e l , i t i s discovered, i s p l e n t i f u l l y covered with barnacles, t h i s provision need only l a s t a few days since a s a i l i s soon spotted bearing d i r e c t l y upon them. Experience, however, has taught them r e s t r a i n t . They have been passed before and a footnote even suggest that such an incident i s not rare or even accidental. The elements are c r u e l , but man, i t seems, i s j u s t as c r u e l . But happily;the Jane bears a steady course towards them and they are rescued. After r e s t and nourishment they are again made w e l l . The Jane i s commanded by Captain Guy, an urbane and experienced seaman " d e f i c i e n t , however, i n energy and i n the s p i r i t of enterprise". The fate of Pym and Peters w i l l be carried forward by him. Captain Guy and Pym enter into an intense r e l a t i o n . With Augustus, Pym had shared ^a p a r t i a l interchange of character". With Guy, Pym comes to acquire "much influence over him". Powerless though Pym i s i n his own r i g h t , he again takes and shapes the s i t u a t i o n to his own purpose. And so they s a i l boldly f o r the south. I n the face of t h i s i t i s d i f f i c u l t to agree with those who see Pym as a 34 purely passive character. Despite his ewn apparent lack of power he has remarkably good luck at bending others to his d i r e c t i o n . Although he was quite l i t e r a l l y dependent on Augustus as he i s now on Captain Guy, each w i l l i n g l y ends up doing his bidding. The Jane had been engaged i n a broad mission of trade with no predeter-mined course. After criss-crossing the southern seas looking f o r trade and uncharted islands Captain Guy decides to sat s a i l f o r the South Pole. His was not the f i r s t attempt to reach t h i s i n t r i g u i n g and unknown region. In spite of extensive exploration, however, a vast uncharted area remained: "Of course a wide f i e l d l a y before us f o r discovery, and i t was with feelings of most intense i n t e r e s t that I heard Captain Guy express his resolution of pushing boldly to the southward." This "intense i n t e r e s t " w i l l sustain and urge Captain Guy onward when a l l others would have given up the attempt. No mention i s made of Peters and his desires. As they set a southward s a i l they encounter large i c e f l o e s , but these, amazingly, are l e f t behind as they cross the Antarctic c i r c l e . The weather i s reasonably comfortable at 33°. In an e f f o r t to further under-stand t h e i r s i t u a t i o n they study the current and f i n d i t flowing north a t a rate of one quarter mile per hour. But t h e i r s i t u a t i o n i s not stable. Again they meet i c e , and again i t i s l e f t behind as they s a i l further south-ward, and then they f i n d the current has shifted to a southerly s e t t i n g . The rate of flow increases steadily from one half to one mile per hour. This discovery makes no small impression on the ship's crew, including Captain Guy. Exp l o i t i n g the Captain's s e n s i t i v i t y to r i d i c u l e , Pym i s able to subdue his apprehension. Peters has been allowed to s l i p back into obscurity. He neither approves nor disapproves of the course the Jane has set. But he r i s e s dramatically to the fore with the appearance of the huge A r c t i c bear. The 35 animal i s attacked and shot as a source of food. Despite i t s wounds, i t returns the attack to the u t t e r consternation of a l l on board, save Peters: "Nothing but his promptness and a g i l i t y saved us from destruction," Pym notes/. With h i s great strength he succeeds i n stabbing the bear. The appearance of the animal i s somewhat unusual. In keeping with i t s species i t i s p e r f e c t l y white but seems considerably larger than normal and i t s eyes have a blood red color. V i s u a l l y the bear r e c a l l s the other strange looking animal they encountered which seemed to be a hybrid of cat's head and dog's ears. Like the bear, i t s h a i r i s p e r f e c t l y white and i t s claws and teeth a b r i l l i a n t s c a r l e t . Together these animals formed the gateway i n t o a strange new world of black and white. Their journey has taken them further south than anyone has yet been. To temper the crew's eagerness, p r a c t i c a l concerns begin to weigh. Fuel i s short and symptoms of scurvy appear. Captain Guy begins to give serious thought to returning. Pym i s indignant. Shortly before, on a barren and desolate i s l a n d , thjSy found the prow of a canoe. This and the mild climate suggests that the path ahead may be f a r less desolate than the return route. Having come so f a r , he cannot abide the idea of returning. That great f i e l d f o r discovery s t i l l l i e s ahead. So f o r c e f u l are his urgings that Captain Guy i s persuaded to push forward. Pym, then, i s responsible f o r the events that follow. Hindsight, they say, has 20/20 v i s i o n . Looking back, having survived the white v i s i o n , the bloody violence and black treachery, Pym stands by the decision he so f o r c e f u l l y pressed on Captain Guy. While he cannot help but regret the v i o l e n t and bloody happenings which ensued, he also t e l l s us that he cannot help but be pleased that he was instrumental i n opening the doors of knowledge. Despite his own discomfort and danger, Pym i s glad to have gone ahead. In spite of i t s harrowing cost, then, the journey was w e l l advised. Pym stands emphatically behind his voyage and the 36 truth i i has opened up f o r scrutiny. Once the decision has been reached to continue, they s a i l r i g h t i n t o the island of T s a l a l . The world of black and white p o l a r i t i e s , suggested by the strange white animals i n a steadily darkening sea, i s maintained from the beginning. In the blackness of T s a l a l , Pym encounters the depths of depravity. I t i s a l a s t haven f o r men i n t h e i r most basic state. Beyond the island i s the white with i t s inherent elusiveness. White f o r the islanders has become a kind of taboo. They cannot face that unknown and so rejec t i t at a l l costs. The island can abide no white. No action i s too d r a s t i c to keep i t from them. Not only does the Jane's crew bring white to t h e i r sheltered i s l a n d , but they, urged by Pym, wish to s a i l i n t o that even stronger whiteness and propose to return. Pym, however cannot be e f f e c t i v e l y deterred. Tfiacpull toward discovery i s too strong. The world of Tsalal i s t o t a l l y a l i e n . Everything i s d i f f e r e n t from what they had known previously. Even the water has i t s own p e c u l i a r i t i e s . This strangeness and t h e i r own v u l n e r a b i l i t y induce caution on the part of the Captain and crew and a skeptical eye i s kept on these most unusual natives. Their blackness i s t h e i r most noteworthy feature. They are negroes with a j e t black complexion and the dark wooly hai r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of t h e i r race. Even the animal skins with which they clothe themselves are black. Considering t h e i r polar l o c a t i o n one might have expected them to use the skin of the polar bear, l i k e the one already encountered by the Jane. They are w e l l armed with heavy dark wood clubs and black f l i n t spears. The bottoms of t h e i r canoes are equipped with large black stones. This somber hue seems to encompass thu) e n t i r e l y . Invited aboard ship f o r a closer look, they r e a d i l y accept the crew, even though they seem to evidence a strong aversion to t h e i r f a i r complexions. Pym concludes that they are the f i r s t white men the savages, as he i s already 37 c a l l i n g them, have ever seen. About the Jane they seem to have an intense c u r i o s i t y , though Pym could not help but think some of Too-Wit's, the c h i e f ' s , antics over the ship's "wound" somewhat affected. This shrewd observation, though, he seems to forget. I t i s also noted that while on board they w i l l touch nothing white—neither f l o u r , nor eggs, not: the s a i l s . This oddity the crew finds "impossible to understand". Ever concerned with the p r a c t i c a l side of his mission. Captain Guy, to the annoyance of Pym, decides to remain on the i s l a n d f o r a week while provisions could be taken on and arrangements made to procure the biche de mer and tortoise f o r export. Despite the lack of a commoa language the trading arrangements have gone so w e l l that another v i s i t to the somber and desolate v i l l a g e i s made by the crew. In spite of the amicability shown on a l l sides, no precautions are neglected. The bloody events that follow w i l l reveal again the horrible discrepancy between appearance and r e a l i t y . With great care the savages have devised a w e l l - l a i d plan to r i d themselves forever of thee white skinned v i s i t o r s . Their apparent fri e n d l i n e s s was but the r e s u l t of a cunning and treachery seldom surpassed. The ensuing explosion k i l l s and buries a l l but Pym and Peters, who at that very moment happened to have stepped i n t o a f i s s u r e to gather sprae nuts. The force of the explosion buries them deep within the mountain. The horror of t h e i r condition i s only too intensely f e l t by Pym. " l i v i n g inhumation" i s that old Poe bugaboo and Pym, who has already undergone i t s terrors once before while deep within the flanks of the Grampus^must suffer yet again. I t i s Peters who i n i t i a t e s a response to t h e i r predicament as he suggests that they attempt to f i n d out what has happened. So confounded i s Pym that he has scarcely an idea of what to do. With much struggle, they are able to make t h e i r way up a newly-opened passage i n t o the open 3 8 a i r . Once free of t h e i r immediate confinement the awful r e a l i t y i s only too apparent. Under a cloak of f r i e n d l i n e s s and h o s p i t a l i t y the natives had been engaged i n the most br u t a l treachery. I t i s the natives of T s a l a l who have engineered the devastating avalanche that claimed the l i v e s of a l l but Pymaand Peters. They emerge to f i n d the attack on the Jane about to commence. Overwhelmed, she i s taken and sacked. The ensuing destruction sets o f f an explosion which causes, i n addition to much violence and death, the strange white animal, found e a r l i e r and preserved, to be thrown up on the shore. This causes as much panic among the natives as does the explosion i t s e l f . After imprisioning the carcass they f l e e inland screaming " T e k e l i - l i , t e k e l i - l i " . Neither Peters nor Pym can make any sense of i t . Having escaped from a l i v i n g inhumation t h e i r fate i s yet uncertain. They are the l a s t white men on t h i s i s l a n d of blackness and b r u t a l t e r r o r . Hunger forces them to explore t h e i r mountain prison to see what can be made of t h e i r s i t u a t i o n . Up to now Peters has been eclipsed. He has offered no comment on the decision to push further toward the south. He has surfaced only to k i l l the threatening A r c t i c bear. While on the i s l a n d he r i s e s to a stature of great importance. Without his help, Pym would have perished. Surprised by a large black b i r d Pym i s too s t a r t l e d to make any movement. I t i s Peters who acts quickly to capture i t and, thus, save them from Immediate starvation. And again i n exploring one of the i s l a n d f s strange caverns, i t i s only the "igemuity and resolution" of Peters who saves Pym from a headlong descent. I n a c h i l l i n g l y r e a l i s t i c passage we see Pym so immobilized by his terror that his fear of f a l l i n g changes, inexorably, i n t o a longing to f a l l . I t i s Peters who catches and saves him, but here we have been offered another i n s i g h t i n t o the imaginative capacities of Pym. I n the t e r r i f y i n g i n t e n s i t y of his^desire 39 Pym reveals the power of the imagination. The l u r e , f o r Pym, i s the plunge into o b l i v i o n . I t i s an expression of the mind's desire f o r unity, to escape the separateness of i t s i n d i v i d u a l i t y . Pym's impulse here i s more dramatic, but i t i s the same urge that drove him from the safe shores of Nantucket. With almost uncontrollable passion Pym repeatedly plunges in t o his f a t e . Repeatedly he denies the c a l l of reason and accepts the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of discovery. But he i s saved i n the strong.arms of Peters. Peters' l a s t decisive appearance comes with a surpriseiattack by the natives. Therensuing events force them and a captured savage out to sea i n the remaining canoe. Once again at sea Peters reassumes a secondary r o l e . The remaining adventure i s Pym's. Experience has shown that, however contrary to popular b e l i e f , i c e l i e s behind them to the north and not before to the south. So i t i s that they "resolve to steer boldly to the southward" as Pym has wished to do. Their canoe i s f r a i l , but they do what they can to render i t more secure, receiving some help from the captured Nu-Nu, who exhibits the strange habit of screaming " T e k e l i - l i " on seeing a white surface, He w i l l do nothing towards setting a s a i l . They t r a v e l south-wards towards they know not what. With increasing speed the tale rushes towards i t s conclusion. Pym again notices that "very strong current continually" set towards the south. I t w i l l grow u n t i l i t reaches a "hideous v e l o c i t y " . He i s certain that they must have covered a vast distance. I t i s evident that they have entered i n t o a new region unlike any known before. Strange new occurrences surround them. The water which had been too warm to contain much i c e grows steadily hotter u n t i l i t i s impossible to touch. As w e l l , there i s a d i s t i n c t i v e change i n i t s color and texture. No longer transparent, i t becomes increasingly milky both i n i t s hue and consistency. Gray vapors, f l i c k e r i n g on the surface, steadily loose t h e i r grayness. 40 As they are hurtled forward, a f i n e white powder resembling ashes begins to s e t t l e upon them. Nu-Nu has become progressively more i n e r t . The appearance of a white handkerchief causes shudders and convulsions Which are accompanied by continual " T e k e l i - l i " screams. They attempt to learn from hin what might have been the islanders' motive i n destroying the crew. I n reply he can only display his teeth. These^to Pym's amazement, are black. Nu-Nu can. bear the oppression no longer and so sinks and dies. Peters, too, has grown apathetic. Even Pym experiences a sudden sort of l i s t l e s s n e s s . They neither urge the boat forward nor impede i t s progress, but are simply carried along i n t o t h i s chalky world. Before them r i s e s a cataract or curtain both huge and luminous which seems to of f s e t the darkness that hovers over them. Overhead f l i e s a huge white b i r d screaming the continual " T e k e l i - l i " . Head on they meet the white v i s i o n . I t i s neither welcoming nor forbidding. Thus ends the narrative of Pym's most, unusual voyage. Whether intrigued, confused, or annoyed, the reader i s nonetheless haunted by the white fig u r e . Eagerly one scans the note hoping i t w i l l o f f e r some clue as to what has become of Pym. The appendix to the t a l e i s f a r from conclusive. Pym has suddenly and mysteriously died, and the remainder of his manuscript i s presumed l o s t . Peters i s a l i v e but curiously cannot be met with. He apparently has written no account of the experience. Even more unsettling i s the discovery that one (possibly Poe) connected with the narrative maintains a general " d i s b e l i e f i n the entire truth of the l a t t e r portion of the narration". Despite such skepticism, i t i s evident that the editor takes the journal seriously and would have us do so as w e l l . He i s even, perhaps, a b i t too earnest. I t i s t h i s editor who provides us with the information about the chasms which we could not be expected to know. Taken together, the geologic configurations 41 form the Ethiopian verbal root "to be shady". The characters i n the fourth figure form a composite of the Arabic verbal root "to be white" and the Egyptian word f o r the "region of the south". Peters 1 observation that the most northerly character i s a human figure pointing to the south seems to be corroborated. From there the anxious editor goes on to l i n k the cry " T e k e l i - l i " with both the n a t i v e s — h o r r i f i e d as they encounter w h i t e — and the b i r d issuing from the white c u r t a i n - l i k e substance. He goes on to suggest that possibly T s a l a l , the name of the i s l a n d , might have added significance. The observation i s w e l l sustained when one remembers Pym's lik e n i n g the pronunciation of the name Tsalal and i t s r u l e r Tsalemon with the hissing sound ch a r a c t e r i s t i c of the black b i t t e r n Peters was able to capture on the i s l a n d . The e d i t o r also highlights the opposition of black and white. The i s l a n d i s a somber region harboring no white thing. To the south l a y only the continual white that Nu#Nu finds so frightening and d e b i l i t a t i n g . We have clues, but c l e a r l y we are being asked to consider again t h i s journey which has brought us to such mystery. I t i s i n the haunting appeal of the white v i s i o n that the tale holds much of i t s power. I t i s a perfect enigma. I t i s the color chosen f o r brides and the christening of newborn babes, but also the hue with which we clothe those ghastly apparitions that haunt and t e r r i f y the imagination of men. As M e l v i l l e observed i n w r i t i n g of the whiteness of the whale "there yet lurks an elusive something i n the innermost idea of t h i s hue which s t r i k e s more of panic to the soul than that redness which a f f r i g h t s i n blood".|5 The white takes hold and w i l l not l e t go. We hardly notice the blood red eye or s c a r l e t fangs of the animal encountered before reaching T s a l a l . Blood has flowed throughout the t a l e but i t s violence and treachery pale i n the glare of the white-shrouded f i g u r e . Ishmael • speaks of the color's "elusive q u a l i t y " and, perhaps, herein l i e s i t s hold on us and i t s f i t t i n g n e s s as a conclusion to t h i s most probing journey. Not 42 bound to a single meaning, t h i s pale shade carries with i t a wide range of p o s s i b i l i t i e s . I t offers both comfort and fear, joy and horror. For a we l l known object i t s impression i s strong and clear; but i n a strange and unknown s i t u a t i o n the hue's very indefiniteness i s a source of ter r o r . I t can speak of eternal reward and eternal o b l i t e r a t i o n . Science t e l l s us i t i s no color and a l l colors. I t s meaning, then, as M e l v i l l e suggests, may be a l l meaning and no meaning. This i s the r e a l horror that Pym confronts now i n the f r a i l canoe j u s t as i t has been ever since he pushed away from Nantucket?s safe, secure shores. This ending, then, as unsettling as i t may be; carries home the f r u i t s of the voyage. Pym never sought security and safety; rather, he sail e d away from i t s smothering embrace. I t would have been fate's worst t r i c k to have sent hi/<| scurrying back to those welcoming shores. On the contrary, fate has urged him forward to fi n d what he may. Passively, perhaps, but c l e a r l y acceptinglv, Pym goes forward i n t o that unknown whiteness. The whiteness i s elusive and i n d e f i n i t e . Richard Wilbur has observed that f o r Poe the sequences and si t u a t i o n of his tales are always concrete representations;of states of mind. So here the whiteness with i t s elusiveness and indefiniteness takes on the force of an a c t u a l i t y and represents a concrete state of mind. The v i s i o n i s Poe's representation of the unknown within man. Pym's going f o r t h to meet the v i s i o n i s his acceptance of that unknown and his willingness to confront i t . Edward Davidson has call e d Pym's narrative "a study of the emerging consciousness".^ Pym has passed through terrors and come to self-knowledge. The journey has been his i n i t i a t i o n i n to self-awareness, self-consciousness. The white v i s i o n i s the representation of that state. At the p o r t a l of t h i s ever whitening sea stands the black world of Ts a l a l . I t must be encountered and escaped from i f one i s to meet the 43 p o s s i b i l i t i e s of the white v i s i o n . I t i s the f i n a l stage i n the descent i n t o self-knowledge. The island i s a world of t o t a l depravity. Here man ex i s t s at his most basic and pr i m i t i v e stage. Like whiteness, reason and highly developed consciousness have no place on the i s l a n d . The people are governed by taboos, not l o g i c . Captain Guy, ever p r a c t i c a l and l o g i c a l , i s crushed beneath i t s weight and force both l i t e r a l l y and symbolically. Pym, too, i s stunned by i t s force; though aided he i s able to survive. Only Peters, the former mutineer, i s able to confront the blackness on i t s own terms. As the white i s the realm of the unknown, the possible, black i s the embodiment of the l i m i t a t i o n to man's knowing. The natives know nothing of ^ h i t e and so they fear i t . These white men who propose to s a i l i n to that sea of ever growing whiteness f i l l them with a fear and loathing dramatically depicted i n the panic and consternation with which they f l e e the strange white animal thrown ashore by the explosion on the Jane. To guard and protect t h e i r ignorance no action seems too d r a s t i c . The p o l a r i t y between black and white i s a recurrent image i n these sea t a l e s . The author of the manuscript found i n a bottle, as he makes his f a t e f u l plunge, i s surrounded by "ramparts of white i c e " and enveloped i n the "blackness of eternal night". For the Norseman caught i n the fury of the maelstrom, the "high, black, mountainous ridge" of ocean and ebony walls of the vortex are o f f s e t by the "ghastly radiance" of the moon and surf. And again i n Pym's narrative black stands at the very threshhold of the white v i s i o n . I t i s , perhaps, here that the connotations inherent i n the colors are most apparent. As a color, black absorbs a l l v i s i b l e l i g h t waves and r e f l e c t s nothing. The black world of Tsalal i s that world that takes i n a l l human experience and r e f l e c t s nothing of that experience. I t learns nothing and guards that nothingness, that ignorance. Tsalal i s an i s l a n d — l a n d . I t i s Nantucket reduced to i t s most depraved l e v e l . Nantucket did not w i l l i n g l y send Pym to face the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of his voyage. I t did a l l i t could to hold him there. The natives, more b r u t a l l y , but j u s t as i n e f f e c t i v e l y , t r y to hold him back. Just as he had rejected his grandfather, so does Pym destroy the remaining canoe, leaving both to f u t i l e protestations from «hore. Black i s the ignorance from which man must escape i f he i s to meet the p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r discovery. We see now Pym's journey i n a new l i g h t ; we see more c l e a r l y his reasons f o r going. Augustus sought adventure; Pym sought something more mysterious and metaphysical. We see now that i t was knowledge of the s e l f . For Pym, then, the essential voyage was the journey of the s p i r i t , the imagination. This i s the r e a l Pym and the r e a l subject of his sea yarn. His imagination sent him forward and w i l l i n t e r p r e t his experience. The voyage was important because men must be wrested away from safe, i secure harbors i f they are to gain new knowledge. A l l of Poe's s a i l o r s gather t h e i r knowledge at great personal p e r i l , but once f i r m l y set on that voyage each stands by the v a l i d i t y of the experience—no matter what the cost. Important though Pym's experiences are, i t i s not so much what happens to him as the way i n which he responds that i s important. An imaginative, susceptible bpy, Pym entrusts himself to the care of his frien d Augustus whom he credits with experience, s k i l l , and p r a c t i c a l i t y . Pym^wanted t o g°» but i t i s Augustus who puts the plan i n t o e f f e c t . Pym approaches the problem imaginatively, Augustus i n t e l l e c t u a l l y . Where Pym gives great credence to vague premonitions and suspicions, Augustus reacts l o g i c a l l y and r a t i o n a l l y , deciding what and how i t must be done. I n his excitement to be o f f , Pym has f a i l e d to note how Augustus' p r a c t i c a l i t y f a i l s when he surrenders to his l i q u o r . Nor does Pym anticipate any weakness i n Augustus' plan to board the Brampus. He k5 trusted everything to l o g i c and common sense. Their v u l n e r a b i l i t y i s one of the things he w i l l learn on t h i s monumental voyage. Already we can see a pattern emerge. Pym's journey i s another of Foe's probing explorations into the multi-faceted psyche of man. Pym i s the imaginative, the i n t e r p r e t i v e , even the poetic s p i r i t which i s lodged within us a l l . He acts without knowing the reasons; indeed, the reasons seem superfluous. Augustus, on the other hand, embodies the i n t e l l e c t . He i s a l l planning and organization. Yet his s k i l l and ideas, persuasive though they may be, are not, as we have seen, without flaw. He surrenders to drink but knows not that he i s impaired and, thus, imperils t h e i r l i v e s . Augustus' actions throughout his portions of the t a l e , are revealing. He kas agreed to arrange f o r Pym's undercover boarding of the Grampus. He plans meticulously f o r every conceivable eventuality. So w e l l has he seen to a l l the d e t a i l s that i n taking possession of his box Pym i s enchanted. A l l would be f i n e were i t not f o r the inconceivable, the unexpected. In such a v i o l e n t overthrow of l o g i c and disorder as i n the mutiny, Augustus i s powerless. His own l i f e i s at the mercy of the crew, and there i s no way of acquainting his buried friend with what has trans-pired above deck\ He i s only able to survive through the intercession of the swarthy Peters. With the appearance of Peters, Augustus' r o l e , l i k e h is physical condition, goes i n t o a steady decline. In the retaking of the b r i g , Augustus i s grievously wounded. The e v i l and chaotic forces prove too much f o r him. Through the t e r r i b l e torments i n f l i c t e d by the elements, he weakens. Hunger and t h i r s t take t h e i r t o l l . F i n a l l y , i n a p i t i f u l l y weak condition, he dies. Augustus has done f o r Pym what he could, but he i s no match f o r the disorder that everywhere takes hold. He could plan f o r anticipated needs, but the i l l o g i c a l defeats him. Augustus, ^6 l i k e Poe's other seafarers, makes the arrogant mistake of assuming that l i f e , that nature can be predicted and, thus, controlled. He was r e l y i n g on past experience to anticipate the events of the present. I t i s a mistake avoided by Dupin, the greatest of Poe's ratiocinators, i n , f o r example, 9The Purloined Letter". There he understands and i d e n t i f i e s with the dark forces represented by the Minister D. and the orangutan i n "The Murders i n the Rue Morgue" and, thus, solves mysteries unfathomable to the Prefect of Police who l o g i c a l l y reasons from past knowledge and experience. Not being able to enter i n t o a worldjview that f a i l s to respect the workings of reason, Augustus i s powerless to face the challenge posed by the mutiny and i s , thus, cut o f f from the voyage into self-knowledge. The i l l o g i c a l i n Poe's view i s that part of l i f e which cannot be understood, but the a b i l i t y to attune one's s e l f to t h i s view i s the capacity f o r self-knowledge. Pym, ever the ingenue, i s s t i l l i n need of assistance. That depen-dency he places on the hybrid Peters. Peters i i dark and one of the o r i g i n a l mutineers and had, thus, participated i n the o r i g i n a l butchery and treachery. So anxious are Augustus and Pym to have a confidant that th i s i s overlooked. Peters i s described as simply being "among the less bloodthirsty of the party". And fortunate i t was f o r them that Peters came to the fore. Without him they could not have survived. They would not have been able to retake the b r i g . Later i t i s he who makes repeated e f f o r t s to dive below deck to secure whit food and tools are available. With Augustus too weak and Pym i n a swoon i t i s Peters who stabs Parker. Again and again he r i s e s to center stage when acts of strength and force are required. He saves the crew of the Jane from the attack of the white bear. He rescues Pym from a b u r i a l on T s a l a l , from a f e a r f u l plunge, and an attack by natives. Peters and his strength are indispensible throughout. But as close as they are, there i s never an exchange of ideas such as Pym k7 shared with Augustus. Among the two i t was the younger Pym who listened avidly to Augustus recounting his few sea ex p l o i t s . Of the more seasoned Peters t h i s same Pym asked nothing. Peters rescues Pym from the unexpected, from predicaments which threaten and menace. He provides a bulwarks against the chaotic forces which assault. But f o r d i r e c t i o n or shape to the voyage Peters can add nothing. Even when alone with Pym i n the f r a i l canoe he withholds any and a l l comment and opinion. As he had with Augustus, Pym looks elsewhere f o r shape and d i r e c t i o n f o r his ideas of exploration and discovery. With Augustus gone i t i s to Captain Guy that Pym turns. He w i l l provide the s h i p _ and the idea to explore the South Pole. Captain Guy makes possible what Pym had been dreaming j u s t as Augustus had put i n t o e f f e c t his i n i t i a l dream of a sea voyage. Captain Guy looked upon his voyage i n a p r a c t i c a l and pragmatic fashion. He i s p r i m a r i l y engaged i n trade and commerce. When he comes to the idea of exploration he adopts i t e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y , but i s j u s t as w i l l i n g to set i t aside when p r a c t i c a l matters intervene—scurvy, shortage of f u e l , weather, etc. Pym, being much le s s p r a c t i c a l l y i n c l i n e d , gives those considerations short s h r i f t and uses his influence to urge Captain Guy onward. Augustus, too, had gone to sea f o r l o g i c a l reasons-^adventure—and so made plans to take his friend along. On a r r i v i n g at the island of T s a l a l , Captain Guy takes a l l the sensible precautions. Only a l i m i t e d number of natives board the Jane at any one time. When they go to the v i l l a g e , care i s taken to keep the group from being separated and t h e i r muskets are ever ready. But the unexpected overwhelms him. These seemingly guileless natives have plotted the most v i l e treachery. He and his crew are t o t a l l y overpowered and destroyed by the black, s l i d i n g rubble. Only Pym and Peters, no 48 strangers to violence and treachery,i®ie saved. Pym i s once again abandoned. He and Peters are the only white men on the i s l a n d . Again Pym i s no match f o r his s i t u a t i o n . Despite a l l h is experience he remains the novice. While on the i s l a n d he i s continually too s t a r t l e d , too overcome, too stunned to take any eff e c t i v e action. With Captain Guy gone there i s no one he can turn to f o r d i r e c t i o n but the swarthy Peters. Captain Guy, with his pale skin and i n a b i l i t y to fathom the depths of treachery, had been t o t a l l y foreign to the i s l a n d ; Peters i s no such a l i e n . His dark skin and experience i n violence (the mutiny) give him at l e a s t a l i n k to t h i s i s l a n d of blackness. And so i t i s once again the powerful Peters who w i l l save Pym from the terrors of the i s l a n d , the islanders, and from Pym himself. I t i s Peters who captures the black b i t t e r n , Peters who wards off the attack of the natives, and again Peters who saves a Pym seized by the terrors of his imagination as he hangs upon the precipice. On the i s l a n d Peters i s u t t e r l y indispensable, but with the destruction of the second canoe he s l i p s back i n t o obscurity. The ever whitening sea i s a new t e r r a i n and he comes unprepared f o r i t s challenge. This most southern sea belongs to Pym and Pym alone. He has wrested himself from the embrace of the security of a well-ordered and w e l l -reasoned l i f e , battled with the terrors of i s o l a t i o n , struggled against the forces of treachery and triumphed over the assaults of the elements. He has pushed back a l l the t e r r o r and obstacles that have kept him from the loosing white v i s i o n . The v i s i o n w i l l neither welcome nor impede him. Having come so f a r the knowledge seems owed to him. The current now aids him. The awesomeness of the environment mutes his e a r l i e r enthusiasm so that he; enters the f i n a l experience i n a l i s t l e s s condition. But never i s there a thought of going back or even merely avoiding the encounter. 49 Subdued but w i l l i n g , Pym plunges i n t o the whiteness. He returns; he l i v e s to write the t a l e . He t e l l s us that he survived the whole experience by nine years, and though f i l l e d with "events of the most s t a r t l i n g and, i n many cases, of the most unconceived and inconceivable character", he gives these subsequent years scarcely a mention. The t r u l y s i g n i f i c a n t portion of his l i f e has been his f i r s t sea voyage. To t h i s he returns i n i t s e n t i rety. The immediacy of his tone suggests the strength of i t s presence i n his consciousness. Pym's unfortunate accidental death has the e f f e c t of breaking the narrative rather abruptly, but not, however, i n midstream. What once seemed a middle can now be understood as an end. As David La Guardia has noted, "Poe could have had a conclusion to s a t i s f y seekers of l o g i c and order as he had the ability".3& The narrative's ending, then, i s a conscious authorial decision and r e f l e c t s the care Poe exercised over the t o t a l i t y of t h i s longer-than-usual narrative. Harry Levin has called the conclusion "unsatisfying" but observes that "the termination of our own existence i s 39 equally unsatisfying". This sense of f r u s t r a t i o n which haunts the closing paragraphs doe's much to bring home the truths embedded i n that white apparition. Pym l i v e s j u s t long enough to get the tale t o l d . The abruptness and unsatisfaction are i n t e g r a l . The suddenness of the term-i n a t i o n has the e f f e c t of throwing us back upon the v i s i o n we no more than glimpse at the very moment that Pym himself s l i p s from view. Pym has escaped from equally t e r r i b l e predicaments before. In a sense he does escape from t h i s one. But as noted e a r l i e r i t i s not so much what happens to t h i s boy as the way i n which he responds that holds our attention. The manner of his escape and even the f a c t that he survives t e l l us very l i t t l e . I t i s his accepting response to the white v i s i o n that seizes the reader's i n t e r e s t . The r e a l i s t i c aspects of the voyage are allowed to 50 d r i f t away. Long discourses on stowage, laying-to, biche de mer, and the penguins take on new meaning. "The stowage i s important i n that i t i s the unconscious of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r society (the ship) . . . I t i s no wonder that t h i s ship has trouble, having such a disordered stowage; i t i s the s e l f or society with a disordered unconscious . . . which breeds mutiny,... murder, and cannibalism."^ I f the ship i s to be secure the cargo must be w e l l organized and arranged i n i t s place; likewise an unconscious i n disarray can scuttle the journey to self-knowledge. Other documentation, such as the laying-to, the rookeries, the biche de mer. besides appealing to the popular i n t e r e s t i n the nautical materials that P h i l b r i c k pointed to, also form part of the pattern of contrast cited by Daniel Hoffman: "Passages of nightmarish t e r r o r are followed by l u c i d expositions of natural p h e n o m e n a " I n the midst of the mutiny Poe discusses the i n t r i c a c i e s of laying-to; j u s t before the t e r r o r at Tsalal he speaks of the mutual arrangements of the f i e r c e albatross and the gentle penguin. I t i s as i f animals have achieved what men cannot. Such a l t e r -nation, as reflected i n his s t y l e , Hoffman considers as c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the multiple nature of Poe's mind. For Pym, as f o r Poe, the essential voyage i s that of the imagination. This i s a voyage of the s p i r i t and as such r e f l e c t s Poe's continuing i n t e r e s t i n the d i v i s i o n s w i t h i n man. Poe'nurtured the concept of a t r i - p a r t i t e d i v i s i o n within man. Edward Davidson observes that f o r Poe man was a creature "formed of three separate 42 yet i n t e r a c t i n g parts: body, mind, and s p i r i t " . Poe himself, i n his "Poetic P r i n c i p l e " , speaks of d i v i d i n g the psyche i n t o i t s "obvious" d i s t i n c t i o n s , "Pure I n t e l l e c t , Taste, and Moral Sense". "Just as the I n t e l l e c t concerns i t s e l f with Truth so Taste informs us of the Beautiful while the Moral Sense i s regardful of D u t y . D a v i d s o n has noted that l i f e i n Poe's view "consists i n the disjunction of the sides of the s e l f . 51 Various elements i n the human psyche or being are forever at war with .^y each o t h e r . W a r might seem too strong a term to use here, though we see throughout the narrative the p o l a r i t y between the various sides of the s e l f . Pym, the motivating force i n t h i s t a l e , i s quite c l e a r l y likened to the s p i r i t , to the imagination, to the sense of t a s t e — c a l l i t what you w i l l . . His i s a search f o r the b e a u t i f u l . He has no objective reasons f o r going and Duty would, on the contrary, have bade him stay. The beauty of his search i s , Poe t e l l s us, "no mere appreciation of the Beauty before u s — b u t a w i l d e f f o r t to reach the Beauty above". 4 5 S o ™ 1 1 —Pym's attempt to capture the Beauty above and beyond. Put another way, i t i s Harry Levin's notion of Poe's struggle f o r "posthumous consciousness". For t h i s Pym has endured terrors and s u f f e r i n g s — t o catch a glimpse of what i s beyond. That glimpse i s e f f e c t i v e l y captured i n the looming white shrouded f i g u r e . But the imagination i s a f r a i l creature and cannot go long unaided i n a world of harsh r e a l i t i e s . I t turns f i r s t to i t s i n t e l l e c t u a l counter-part to help i t through the maze of terrors which menace i t s v u l n e r a b i l i t y . So Pym, the ingenue, f i r e d only by a vague desire to be o f f , turns to h i s more r a t i o n a l companion. Augustus' clever planning attests to the strength of the mind and i t s indispensablity i n a world of obstacles. Pym seems not to notice that of i t s e l f the mind can f a i l . I t can become the victim of conditions of which i t remains unaware. Unbeknownst to either boy, Augustus i s intoxicated when he urges them to take to the sea i n the A r i e l . Though he i n t u i t i v e l y "knew" i t should not be done Pym allowed himself to be swayed by the force of the i n t e l l e c t . Augustus was experienced so Pym shut his eyes to the danger. But these are not the only dangers which threaten the resourcefulness of the mind. There are outside forces which i t cannot control. Augustus, l i k e his father.who i s another r a t i o n a l and 52 p r a c t i c a l figure, i s overwhelmed by the chaos released by the mutiny. Against such violence t h e i r reasonings o f f e r l i t t l e support. Nor can Augustus survive the torments which follow. He sickens and dies, and his l o s s , while mourned, i s not regretted. For some time Augustus has been useless. His place w i l l be taken by Captain Guy. But Captain Guy soon goes the way of Augustus. He i s no match f o r the cunning depravity of the islanders. He, too, i s overwhelmed and destroyed. The i n t e l l e c t and the powers i t gave these characters offered much to Pym. I t carried him from the insulated and protected safety of Nantuckejt to the very threshhold of a "vast and ex c i t i n g f i e l d f o r discovery". I t i s doubtful that that the imaginative but unskilled Pym could have come so f a r unassisted. But the i n t e l l e c t i s not omnipotent. I t may carry one to the edge of discovery but not beyond. That imaginative leap must be made by Pym alone. Even the trustworthy Peters i s excluded from that f i n a l experience. Peters comes to the fore as Augustus i s shackled. He survives the voyage because he i s no stranger to violence. He i s not a vict i m of the mutiny because he i s a par t i c i p a n t i n the bloody deeds. I t i s p r i n c i p a l l y his force that retakes the b r i g j u s t as i t i s he who does most to insure t h e i r s u r vival once the elements have taken t h e i r t o l l . For t h i s sort of vi o l e n t world he i s admirably suited. Peters i s purely physical. The only plan he has throughout the ta l e i s to take the Grampus to the South Pacfic and l e t come what may. I t i s r e a l l y no plan at a l l and never again does he make a suggestion as to what they should do beyond the immediate predicament. But as a representative of the body he i s superb. His powerful limbs and ferocious face suggest the resources on which time and again Pym w i l l r e l y . Without Peters Pym would most probably have perished on board the Grampus. He would have died the ingenue with only l i m i t e d growth beyond what he was i n Nantucket. Just as Augustus and Captain Guy were e s s e n t i a l to the voyage i n providing both the means and even the germ of the idea so also 53 was Peters indispensable to i t s f r u i t i o n . When the i n t e l l e c t f a i l e d the body would sustain him. But reliance oh Peters, on body, on i n s t i n c t i s equally l i m i t e d . When a l l others have gone and they are l e f t alone i n the f r a i l canoe Peters can add nothing. I n t h i s new environment he sinks into apathy. He, too, survives the adventure but inexplicably cannot be met with, nor apparently has he communicated anything to others. Peters simply has no tale to t e l l . For him i t has been a perhaps peculiar escapade but merely one but of a l i f e of such incidents. For Peters the adventure i s a l i t e r a l one/ and Poe l e t s him s l i p from view. Pym's more s p i r i t u a l quest i s the subject of the narrative. 54 "A Descent into the Maelstrom" In a l e t t e r to James Lowell, July 2, 1844, Poe l i s t e d h is f a v o r i t e works, and among these he included "A Descent i n t o the Maelstrom". That he should have done so i s no surprise. Certainly the t a l e has much that i s d i s t i n c t i v e of his a r t and outlook. There i s the horror of nature i n fury and the t e r r o r of the i n d i v i d u a l caught i n i t s grasp. There are the rhythms of blackness and whiteness, deafening sound, t e r r i f y i n g depths, and dizzying heights. I t was a t a l e with an immediate and powerful e f f e c t . In short, unlike the more ambitious Narrative of A. Gordon Pym. i t was successful on many le v e l s as evidenced by the f a c t that i t has been frequently anthologized. At the same time i t i s a tale that has often been overlooked by sophisticated commentators. Unlike his other voyagers, the Norseman i n "A Descent into the Maelstrom" i s a professional man of the sea—professional i n that he and his brothers seek to master and e x p l o i t the sea, to turn i t to t h e i r personal advantage. They are not lured by vague premonitions of awesome encounters, nor drawn i n t o t h e i r wanderings by jadedness and skepticism. They were simply fishermen, and l i k e a l l fishermen, they were determined to reap the benefits of the sea, only perhaps a l i t t l e more greedily than t h e i r brethren. Inevitably, though, the t a l e takes on those disturbing reverberations of meaning that so enliven Poe's other tales of maritime wandering. From a f i e l d f o r harvest, the sea becomes again an arena i n which men contend with the elements and with themselves. I t took but a single day—rather s i x deadly h o u r s — f o r the narrator, a man of vigour, to wither. He survives to t e l l his t a l e , but as a man broken i n body and soul. The hair which changed from black to f r o s t y white i s but the most v i s i b l e sign. His countenance i s so altered that his d a i l y companions f a i l to recognize 55 him. The contest i s followed by the ordeal of the mariner's climbing of the steep and slippery Helseggen to t e l l again the tale of his s i x t e r r i b l e hours. As i s the case with Goleridge's Ancient Mariner, those hours w i l l not l e t him go, nor, i t seems, the man to whom he t e l l s his story. To t e l l the t a l e i t i s necessary f o r the narrator to climb the mountain and view the maelstrom i n a l l i t s fury. No cozy spot by a tavern f i r e , no chatting with the busy wayfarers beside the road w i l l do. He must t e l l "the whole story with the spot j u s t under your eye". We can only speculate about the power i n the old man's voice and eye as he drives his timorous companion up the steep slope. The mariner i s determined that he wants his l i s t e n e r to do more than i n t e l l e c t u a l l y grasp the t a l e . Poised on the precipice, looking down at the fury that rages below him, deafened by the noise and wind roaring around him, every moment fearing f o r his l i f e , the narrator experiences i n a graphic way the descent of the mariner into the maelstrom. Moreover, t h i s narrator uses the suggestive powers of language, unpossessed by the simple fisherman, to bring a l i v e f o r us the experience of the vortex. Through a r t the narrator seeks to make the f i c t i o n a l i z e d descent immortal. In the mariner, who i s suddenly imperiled, helplessly buffeted and whirled about, we see again the mind of man isolated and a d r i f t amidst h o s t i l e forces that threaten to overwhelm i t a t every moment. In the mariner's escape from these external forces f a r stronger than himself are the seeds of the mind's own escape from the dangers that menace from without and within. Inseparably linked to i t s powerful and arresting story of a nautical mishap are these truths discovered by a mind unafraid to push out from safe havens. This moral i s fundamental to the t a l e . As Jay Halio has demonstrated, 4? Poe was a very moral w r i t e r . "Poetry," Poe wrote, "has nothing to do with either morality or truth, not because these 56 are unimportant but because i t i s not i n the poem that they are best t r e a t e d " . ^ That would seem to discourage a search f o r moral t r u t h among his t a l e s . But he says elsewhere that poetry- " i s not forbidden to moralize — i n her own fashion. She i s not forbidden to d e p i c t — b u t to reason and preach of v i r t u e " . ^ And so i t i s that within these tales we are not argued, pushed, or cajoled i n t o ideas end theories about the human psyche, but rather, threaded through the currents of these turbulent seas are the experiences—moral, i n t e l l e c t u a l , and emotional—of the mind a d r i f t on an uncharted course. Poe's voyager i n "A Descent i n t o the Maelstrom" makes his f i r s t appearance as a weak and winded old man atop the Helseggen. We see him only a f t e r the confrontation that has brought about such a sharp degeneration i n him: "You suppose me a very old man—but I am not". He was, as the ta l e i l l u s t r a t e s , u n t i l a short while ago a hale and hearty seaman given to exploits of courage and s k i l l — v e n t u r e s with "the r i s k of l i f e standing instead of labor, and courage answering f o r c a p i t a l " . These three brothers were an ambitious crew. The choicest f i s h i n g grounds l a y beyond the dreaded Moskoe-strom. Other fishermen avoided t h i s place, preferring the safer coves closer to home. With cunning and s k i l l , the brothers bested the currents time a f t e r time and gathered i n a single day what often took the others a week to harvest. That the brothers were aware of the r i s k s involved i s clear i n that they would not permit t h e i r sons to accompany them despite the great help they could have been. To accomplish the deed they needed both courage and s k i l l , courage i n that they had but a scant f i f t e e n minutes to cross the deadly channel and s k i l l and knowledge of the currents to t e l l them when to make the rush. But on t h i s day the mariner's watch f a i l s and the brothers f i n d themselves bearing d i r e c t l y on the Moskoe-strom while i t b o i l s i n f u l l fury. They had taken no precautions; 57 everything had seemed fine--"the oldest seaman among us could not have forseen what was to follow". Nevertheless, they are t o t a l l y overwhelmed. Around and around they w h i r l . The younger brother i s l o s t immediately; the other two clutch and c l i n g at anything that offers a shred of safety. Assaulted by speed and noise, the Norseman i s disoriented. But as was the case i n Poe's other sea t a l e s , despair gives way to a sense of the wonder i n feis predicament. With the l a s t shreds of hope f o r personal safety crushed against those g l i s t e n i n g ebony walls he looks out at the force, power, and even beauty of the chaos swir l i n g about him and he begins to take a careful view of what i s happening. I t i s then that he makes his observations about cylinders and i s saved. As such the tale seems to stand as a testament to the resourcefulness and strength of the m i n d — i t s a b i l i t y to extricate i t s e l f from situations which are seemingly beyond i t . Many have seen such confirmation i n the t a l e . For Harry Levin, the tale shows "a mind able to exert control over matter".5° Daniel Hoffman sees the mariner's escape as "due s o l e l y to the exercise of the r a t i o c i n a t l v e f a c u l t y when i n the relentless grip of a catastrophe".51 Another commentator sees the s a i l o r ' s release as due to "the counter forces of reason and imagination".52 Yet i s i t reason that saves him? I n s t i n c t rather than thought saved him i n i t i a l l y . Can i t be said that r a t i o n a l i t y frees him f i n a l l y ? I t seems not. In addition, though he l i v e s , he has not escaped the grasp of the maelstrom as i s seen i n the way he continues to drag l i s t e n e r s up the steep Helseggen. Nonetheless, he lives- and his brother does not. The elder brother's actions are few, but they do help to set o f f the character of the protagonist. I t i s the elder brother who f i r s t names the terror that l i e s ahead. We notice him again as he comes forward to wrest away his younger brother's hold on the ring b o l t . There i s room f o r only one, and 5 8 J i n his paroxysm of terror the elder can think only of himself. With great p i t y i n his heart the mariner takes up the rejected water cask. I r o n i c a l l y , t h i s becomes the means of his own escape. We again see the elder brother j u s t as the younger i s about to cut himself loose and save himself. Whether or not he can understand the younger*s pleading i t i s d i f f i c u l t to determine, but he refuses to move and so plunges headlong i n t o the chaos. The elder brother remains a prisoner of his fear, and so perishes. Blood t i e s matter l i t t l e to him i n his ordeal. He would force even his brother from whatever -safety he had gained f o r himself. The younger brother, on the other hand, transcends his anxieties. Despair and gr i e f give way to wonder and awe. This r e c a l l s the f e e l i n g of the author of the"MS Found i n a Bott l e " . He, too, was overcome by the "utter hopelessness of hope" and so prepared himself "gloomily f o r that death which I thought nothing could defer beyond the hour". S i m i l a r l y , Pym, aboard the storm-tossed Ariel,, with the drunken Augustus, sees c l e a r l y the horror of t h e i r predicament. Having done what he could to ease t h e i r p l i g h t , v»x recommended myself to God and made up my mind to bear whatever might happen with a l l the forti t u d e i n my power". The whole of Arthur Pym's narrative i s an acceptance of his despair. His imaginings upon his intended voyage are f e a r f u l . He envisions no reward, however i n s i g n i f i c a n t , but rather a l i f e t i m e dragged out i n i s o l a t i o n and desolation. Having done what he could to ease his p l i g h t , he recommends himself to the powers that be and resolves to bear whatever might happen with a l l the fortitude i n h is power. Despair i s an almost tangible f a c t f o r Pym as i t i s f o r the two brothers i n "A Descent i n t o the Maelstrom" who w h i r l about at sense-defying speed. But unlike the elder brother i n "A Descent i n t o the Maelstrom" who remains locked w i t h i n his despair and so perishes i n the grip of ter r o r . 59 Pym and the Norseman, as w e l l as the nameless author i n the "MS Found i n a Bottle" move beyond despair, beyond a desparate c l i n g i n g to personal s u r v i v a l , and so achieve an i l l u m i n a t i n g i n s i g h t that takes away the sting of o b l i t e r a t i o n . Each unexpectedly turns to embrace the experience: "A c u r i o s i t y to penetrate the mysteries of these awful regions predominates even over my despair, and w i l l reconcile me to the most hideous aspects of death". This c u r i o s i t y t o t a l l y a l t e r s the complexion of the MS writer's experience. The episode i s a j u s t and f i t t i n g culmination to his ceaseless, skeptical wanderings. Pym survives, and looking back on the pain and suffering whibh he has f e l t , he s t i l l values his experience: "While, there-fore, I cannot but lament the most unfortunate and bloody events which immediately arose from my advice, I must s t i l l be allowed to f e e l some g r a t i f i c a t i o n at having been instrumental, however remotely, i n opening to the eye of science one of the most intensely e x c i t i n g secrets which has ever engrossed i t s attention?. This acceptance of t h e i r fate i s es s e n t i a l to an understanding of Poe's sea characters, and to the p o s s i b i l i t y of s e l f - r e v e l a t i o n that l a y at the bottom of each of these sea voyages. This acceptance by the characters of t h e i r fates i s followed by t h e i r turning outward, by t h e i r renewing the bonds of community they had heretofore spurned. Both the MS's author and Pym had renounced f a m i l i a l and communal claims. The Norseman and his brothers, too, were men set apart. They alone ventured across the feared channel. But once t h e i r uniqueness had been surrendered to the power and beauty of nature the way was open f o r i l l u m i n a t i o n , revelation, and escape. For the Norseman, awareness comes within the jaws of the maelstrom. Inexplicably freed from the shackles of anxiety, he begins to look around and sees things i n a new l i g h t . I fcegan to r e f l e c t how magnificent a thing i t was to die i n suci^a manner, and how f o o l i s h i t was i n me to think 60 of so p a l t r y a consideration as my own i d i v i d u a l l i f e , i n view of so wonderful a manifestation of God's power. . . . After a l i t t l e while I became possessed with the keenest c u r i o s i t y about the w h i r l i t s e l f . I p o s i t i v e l y f e l t a wish to explore i t s depths, even at the s a c r i f i c e I was going to make and my p r i n c i p a l g r i e f was that I should never be able to t e l l my old companions on shore about the mysteries I should see. He i s overtaken by a "new sense—a new e n t i t y " , s i m i l a r to that which had so altered the soul of the author of that MS found f l o a t i n g i n a b o t t l e . Like the f i r s t of Foe's seafarers who had resolved to transmit a journal back to the society he had so steadfastly f l e d — " I w i l l not f a i l to make the endeavour"—the Norseman's f i r s t urge i s to share his experience and his i n s i g h t s . He and his brothers had worked f o r themselves, but a f t e r his ordeal, he can think only of others. This aspect of Foe's moral design i s a t the heart of the t a l e . Now freed from egoism, the mariner looks around. This state of wonder, t h i s condition of transcendence beyond s e l f i s not usually the best state f o r r a t i o n a l r e f l e c t i o n . "Never s h a l l I forget the sensations of awe, horror, and admiration with which I gazed about me.1' Now a part of the w h i r l , he begins to watch. With t r i a l and error he begins to see that cylinders make the slowest descent and would, thus, be l e s s l i k e l y to be absorbed i n t o the fury and chaos raging below. To be sure i t was hi s mind which made the observation, but i t was a mind stripped of the 'r a t i o n a l ' concern fo r i t s own s u r v i v a l . I t i s the work of a mind imaginatively attuned to the poetry and beauty of nature. Even so, i t i s not s u f f i c i e n t to merely observe nature. The true i l l u m i n a t i o n that he seeks requires one further step. The Norseman i s already i n the c y l i n d r i c a l l y shaped water cask, the one abandoned e a r l i e r by his brother, but t h i s i s lashed to the ship. The whirlpool, nature, l i f e a l l demand that he cut himself loose and plunge i n t o the chaos. He cannot conquer i t ; he cannot master i t ; he must j o i n forces with i t . Imaginatively he must l i n k himself with the fury. Like 61 Dupin i n "The Purloined Letter", he must enter i n t o the e v i l and work with i t to fathom i t s mysteries. He must acknowledge the e v i l within himself. I t i s as Stein said to Jim i n Conrad's Lord Jim; A man that i s born f a l l s i n t o a dream l i k e a man who f a l l s i n t o the sea. I f he t r i e s to climb out i n t o the a i r as inexperienced people endeavour to do, he drowns. . . . The way i s to the destructive element submit yourself, and with the exertions of your hands and feet i n the water make the deep, deep sea keep you up.53 And so i t was that i n submitting himself to the whirlpool, the mariner was saved. In acknowledging and surrendering to nature's awe some. |>ora9r and beauty h@, was reborn, reintegrated i n t o a new and f u l l e r l i f e , j u s t as i n Mbby Dick Ishmael enters i n t o the darkness and violence of l i f e and survives. M e l v i l l e ' s s a i l o r was drawn i n t o the fearsome power, the f e a r f u l p o t ential f o r e v i l as w e l l as i n t o the t r a n q u i l and majestic beauty of that snow white hump. S i m i l a r l y , out of Ishmael's loving union with the savage, Queequeg, comes his i n s i g h t into the truth of the whale as w e l l as i n t o his own s u r v i v a l on Queequeg's coffin-turned-Iifebony. As i n Poe, i t i s not reason that saves him but an imaginative union with the whole of nature. What was i t , though, that had died? What was i t that had heretofore separated him from nature and his fellows? What sort of man had the mariner been? The Norseman and his brothers were professional seamen, but they stood apart, separated from the l i k e of others by the extent of t h e i r s k i l l and daring. Others were more cautious, more w i l l i n g to acknowledge the power of the vortex, l e s s l i k e l y to think that that power could be circumvented. Not so cautious, not so awed by the maelstrom, the brothers made each expedition "a matter of desparate speculation", setting out to master the sea's fury and to reap i t s harvest. They approached the maelstrom cerebally, as a problem to be solved. Reason acquainted them with the ebb and flow of the t i d e . The gauntlet of the maelstrom could be 62 run but only at the quarter hour between the ebb and flood. So, believed Poe, did science attempt to explain the fury and to contain i t . Watches and mechanical devices endeavoured to channel nature. The mind observed nature, formulated laws, and then expected that nature would adhere to those laws. Thus, with t h e i r knowledge and instruments, the brothers, while nervous, are confident of t h e i r success. Nature, even i n a l l i t s fury, i s seemingly understood and manipulated by the mind of man. The brothers, i n t h e i r mastery, set themselves over nature and apart from t h e i r fellows. They, thus, stand g u i l t y of i n t e l l e c t u a l pride and arrogance,,, The mind which makes possible t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l i t y and t h e i r superiority has led them to too vast a confidence i n themselves. In t h e i r pride they had reached too f a r , and i n the vortex these claims of reason are seen as "paltry" and i n s i g n i f i c a n t . In the vortex, also, the mariner gives up his individualism and goes back to the community of men and to a respect f o r God's power i n nature. The r e a l i z a t i o n of the l i m i t s of the mind's power and of the value of an imaginative harmony with nature i s reflected i n the narrator's preface to his rendering of the Norseman!stadventure. His experience mirrors the mariner's f o r i n a sense, he, too, descends into the maelstrom. Through his involvement he comes to know the f o l l y of t r u s t i n g too completely i n r a t i o c i n a t i o n and learning. To better convey the truth of t h i s encounter he turns not to the language of science but to that of the imagination. To the s c i e n t i f i c accounts of the maelstrom with which he as an educated man was f a m i l i a r he gives short s h r i f t and "smiles at the s i m p l i c i t y " of t h i s version of r e a l i t y . I n i t s a b i l i t y to render the impression, the s c i e n t i f i c sense of the phenomenon i s "exceedingly feeble". I t s attempts to explain and define the maelstrom "however conclusive on paper become 63 altogether u n i n t e l l i g i b l e , even absurd, amid the thunder of the abyss". To make the account as v a l i d f o r us as i t was f o r the mariner aboard his whi r l i n g ship and f o r himself atop the Helseggen, the narrator turns to impressionistic language. Where Jonas Ramus refers to the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of describing the howling and bellowing of animals trapped i n the vortex, the narrator brings these sounds a l i v e i n his v i v i d description of the "appalling voice, h a l f shriek, h a l f roar, such as not even the mighty cataract of Niagara ever l i f t s up i n i t s agony to Heaven" and i n his image of the "moaning of a vast herd of buffaloes upon an American p r a i r i e " . The maelstrom y i e l d s to simile and metaphor and surrenders to a sympathetic rendering of i t s power, but steadfastly r e s i s t s the e f f o r t s of science to define and contain i t . The mariner refers to the maelstrom not as such but as the Moskoe-strom. As Gerald Sweeney has observed, 5 4 i t i s a subitle but important d i s t i n c t i o n . Maelstrom i s a technical term meaning "that which grinds". As a term i t seeks to explain what takes place between Lofoden and Moskoe. I t attempts to t e l l what happens and what does not. In being thus defined, i t offers the mind a kind of power to cope with i t . But as has been seen, the mind i s not equal to the fury and i s , i n f a c t , there revealed as a "pa l t r y " thing. Attempts to define the chaos are, then, worse than useless; For the Norwegian i t i s the Moskoe-strom, a phenomenon that takes place near the Moskoe i s l a n d . I t points to a location, but does not t e l l what happens and as such acknowledges the ungraspable power of nature. Even the w r y naming of the islands was a f u t i l e gesture on man's part i n the mariner's l a t e r view. The mind's every e f f o r t to come to i n t e l l e c t u a l and r a t i o n a l terms comes to nought. S i m i l a r l y , the attempts to understand and then predict nature's movements are f r u i t l e s s . The watch on which the Norseman and his brothers had r e l i e d f a i l e d , and i t s f a i l u r e delivered 6k the mind a helpless victim to that which i t had sought to control. In addition, nature i s mercurial; even the most seasoned seaman would have been taken unawares that day. The mariner i s , b a s i c a l l y , a simple man. I t i s from the school master that he learns the names of the shapes of cylinders and spheres with which he explains his observations. I n the w h i r l the terms were unimportant. What allowed him to r i s e again was abandonment of s e l f - i n t e r e s t and admiration f o r the power and beauty of nature. The companions who rescue the s a i l o r do not know him, and cannot believe his story. That the narrator does believe the mariner's story i s clear from the t a l e , poe has so constructed his t a l e that no response to the mariner's l a s t comment i s needed. We see the narrator's acceptance i n his imaginative i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the wonder of the w h i r l and i n h i s i n t u i t i v e acceptance and use of the Norwegian's term Moskoe-strom. The descent of the mariner c l e a r l y symbolizes f o r the narrator the descent of the human psyche i n t o the nether side of l i f e , i n t o that part of l i f e which does not operate according to l o g i c and reason. This part of l i f e , i l l o g i c a l though i t may be, i s i n s i s t e n t i n i t s demands. Despite man's best e f f o r t s to s k i r t i t , he w i l l be drawn i n to face the chaos and beauty of that truth. Foe c i t e s the observation made by Joseph G l a n v i l l e i n l6?6 that "the ways of God i n nature, as i n Providence, are not as our ways nor are the models that we frame any way commensurate to the vastness, profundity, and unsearchableness of His works, which have a depth greater than the we l l of Democritus". Nature's plan ( i f one can speak so of a fundamental force that shuns the operation of l o g i c and moves according to i t s own design) cannot be comprehended by reason, cannot, thus, be controlled and manipulated by that reason f o r i t s purpose, but can, rather, be i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c a l l y grasped, imaginatively understood. I f the mind surrenders i t s claims and 65 seeks to confront nature, *©logical' l i f e , unconscious l i f e on i t s own terms, a new domain of beauty and truth i s revealed to him. This Poe understood and made rea l i n his t a l e s . True understanding of l i f e i s to be gotten imaginatively, poetry, the language of the imagination, i s , then, the handmaid of truth. While the imagination i n these sea stories i s the essential element i n the human psyche, i t cannot act alone. The imagination opens the paths to new knowledge, but the mind through : r a t i o c i n a t i o n must a r t i c u l a t e and integrate these discoveries with the rest of l i f e . Just as Pym, the embodiment of the imagination cannot triumph alone, so the mariner, i f he i s to r i s e again must use the whole of his being. 66 CONCLUSION And so i t i s that the sea tales of Edgar A l l a n Poe affirm the whole-ness of the human personality. Unlike Roderick Usher, cloistered within the crumbling walls of his mansion and his s p i r i t , PoeIs mariners are saved from disintegration. On the ocean's vast uncharted currents they carry t h e i r g u i l t , t h e i r fears, and t h e i r obsessions to the l i m i t . In plunging d i r e c t l y i n t o these terrors the s a i l o r s are able to ride through them, to move beyond the shackles of these obsessions and so glimpse f o r a b r i e f moment the p o s s i b i l i t i e s that l i e beyond concern f o r the s e l f . The suprapersonal p o s s i b i l i t i e s inherent and made manifest i n the voyage save the s a i l o r s from destruction by revealing the p o t e n t i a l f o r psychic l i b e r -ation i n the loss of the s e l f . And yet i n 'losing' the s e l f the mariners come to a f u l l e r understanding of that s e l f . I n these tales Poe was able to touch and stimulate the emotional patterns adhering to the universal ideas of sea, i n i t i a t i o n , quest, b i r t h and death, i n d i v i d u a l i t y and community. The s h i f t s and currents of these patterns carry home the truths of the voyages, f o r i t i s the account of the inner experiences of the mariners that give l i f e and v i t a l i t y to these nautical tales rather than any portrayal, however documented, of happenings i n the external world. And t h i s i s why as Kathleen Sands suggest the ending of Pym i s so perfect. This i s Poe's masterstroke, f o r whatever might be contained i n the " l o s t " chapters i s surpassed by the imagination of the reader. Subtly, he has drawn us in t o the r i t e i t s e l f , f o r amazing as Pym's experiences have been, they are f a m i l i a r to the subconscious of a l l men. 5 5 For Poe, f o r Pym, and f o r the other mariners the essential voyage has been that of the s p i r i t . Thus an ending so unsatisfying to a r a t i o n a l perspective "becomes a symbol of Ultimate i l l u m i n a t i o n " . 5 ^ I t i s an off e r i n g of 67 p o s s i b i l i t y . The ^bite-shrouded figure i s neither welcoming^ nor comforting^ nor forbidding. I t i s a suggestion that something i s there, perhaps good, perhaps not. For some i t may be an immortal God or more simply, ultimate meaning—the notion that there are values beyond r a t i o n a l and pragmatic concerns. The r e a l source of terror connected with Poe's premature b u r i a l motif i s that, locked i n suffocating darkness and powerless to e f f e c t any change, the victim comes to the t e r r i f y i n g r e a l i z a t i o n that there mjay be nothing else: The blackness of darkness which envelopes the victim the t e r r i f i c oppression of lungs, the s t i f l i n g fumes from the damp earth, unite with the ghastly consider-ations that we are beyond the remotest confines of hope, and that such i s the a l l o t t e d portion of the dead, to ca;rry i n t o the human heart a degree of appalling awe and horror not to be tolerated—never to be tonceiv/ed» 'V. r> r;;^-:;v- - Pym That long, narrow, s t i f f l i n g , black box becomes a symbol f o r Poe of a l l man's fears that there i s no meaning, no value to t h i s existence. Pym survives these l i v i n g inhumations and s a i l s further i n t o the s e l f to grasp at the hints of meaning. The Norseman, too, i n "A Descent i n t o the Maelstrom" descends deep i n t o the bowels of the earth, but there he quickly surrenders to the power of nature, and he finds new value to l i f e , a value independent and i n d i f f e r e n t to i n d i v i d u a l claims but s a t i s f y i n g and s i g n i f i c a n t nonetheless. The Norseman acquires no material, no r a t i o n a l gain from his voyage but he, l i k e the other Poe s a i l o r s , emphatically stands behind the conse-quences of his voyage. For a "broken" man the climb up the steep Helseggen cannot be easy but the truth he has to share gives him stamina and v i t a l i t y . His i n s i g h t i n t o the truth i s the value of his experience. For the s a i l o r s these were voyages of i n i t i a t i o n . Their r i t e s of passage led them to realms of truth more universal than they had known beforb. 68 In i t s broadest conception, the i n i t i a t i o n myth denotes the stages of an inner journey, not merely the education of the young i n t o the s k i l l s of l i f e . The events of the r i t e are symbols of a mental and s p i r i t u a l growth which eventually delivers the i n i t i a t e i n to the knowledge and wisdom of his society.57 The r i t e may be repeated at a higher l e v e l f o r a select few leading to a p o s i t i o n of shaman or seer. This, Kathleen Sands suggests, happens i n the second part of Pym's narrative. In addition, one notes t h i s i n the experiences of the author of the "MS Pound i n a Bottle" and i n the Norwegian fisherman i n "A Descent i n t o the Maelstrom". They undergo intense l e v e l s of separation and i s o l a t i o n , of p u r i f i c a t i o n , and of return to s o c i e t y — t h e stages of progress i n the i n i t i a t i o n ceremonies. There i s a clear movement i n the three tales from innocence or ignorance of these matters to knowledge and experience. For each of these men the s t a r t of t h e i r i n i t i a t i o n comes with an awareness of ".the i n a b i l i t y : of the r a t i o n a l f a c u l t i e s to supply answers to those c r i t i c a l areas of existence where answers are demanded".5® Each of the s a i l o r s experiences the l i m i t s of his mental powers. The leamedness of the narrator of the "MS" leads only to skepticism and equally f u t i l e wanderings. Augustus' account of e x c i t i n g adventure cannot s a t i s f y the longings of his f r i e n d , Pym. And the Norseman sees himself and his claims to existence as p a l t r y and i n s i g n i f i c a n t . The mind prepares them f o r their.discoveries t but of i t s e l f i t cannot make the leap to a higher l e v e l of purpose, of value, of truth. I n keeping with Romantic theory, the truths the mariners grasp are private and tentative. Romantic poets rejected the system!zed and objective truths of e a r l i e r ages. Their conquests were s o l i t a r y and t h e i r truths i n d i v i d u a l . As shamans and seers these mariners o f f e r not a g i f t of truth but a signpost f o r that journey. This sort of i n i t i a t i o n was also t y p i c a l l y American i n the view of R. W. B. Lewis: 69 The prspasitipn, i m p l i c i t i n much American w r i t i n g from Poe and Cooper to Anderson and Hemingway, that the v a l i d r i t e of i n i t i a t i o n f o r the i n d i v i d u a l i n the new world i s not i n i t i a t i o n i n t o society,, .hut .given the character of society an i n i t i a t i o n away, from i t : something I wish i t were legitimate to c a l l "denitiation".5 9 The values embodied i n these voyages lead not to a f u l l e r p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the l i f e of society but to a rejection of that society. Each of the mariners turns to i the sea and accepts i t s landlessness, wherein, as Melvile says, resides the highest truth. The safety of the i n i t i a t e soul as with Pequod l i e s i n scorn and f l i g h t from land and the values of landed society. And so i t i s that Poe's mariners are very special heroes. The heroes of an age, Auden notes, can t e l l us much of that e r a — i t s oulook and views on l i f e , i t s values. And the nature of the heroic role of these mariners incorporates much of what Poe was trying to say. These were not exceptional men as were the c l a s s i c heroes of old. They stand apart, but through t h e i r i n c l i n a t i o n s rather than any extraordinary g i f t s that they possess. Others may not even notice t h e i r special qualties (Pym, f o r example, was an ordinary boy to those around him). Nor are they the sort of heroes Auden c a l l s e t h i c a l ^ who possess a special grasp of truth or knowledge. As a re s u l t of t h e i r experiences they become more l i k e r e l i g i o u s heroes i n that they possess an absolute commitment to the truths they have discovered. But they are r e l i g i o u s heroes with a Romantic coloring. They are s o l i t a r y men, r e l a t i v e l y a n t i s o c i a l who have no r a t i o n a l expectations of being happy. This, Auden suggests, i s a dramatic disjunction with the past. C l a s s i c a l heroes were, c l e a r l y s o c i a l beings admired by a l l . A decline i n such admiration r e f l e c t s a decline i n t h e i r status. Likewise unhappiness suggested either that they had yet to become heroes or had ceased to be one. Romantic heroes, on the contrary, expected to be unhappy, to be d i s s a t i s f i e d with the complacencies of l i f e . Poe's mariners were heroes i n t h i s sense. They came to rejec t the complacencies of l i f e as l i v e d by 70 most men—totally ensnared by r a t i o n a l concerns. They stand outside of and opposed to the values of society i n general. And yet they are heroes admired by those f o r whom the quest f o r self-knowledge and transcendence of s e l f i s the meaning of l i f e . This meaning can be seen to l i e i n the unity and i n t e g r i t y of the human personality. There i s a struggle against d i v i s i o n that takes place i n many of Poe's t a l e s . Characters l i k e William Wilson, Roderick Usher, and Prospero l i v e one-sided l i v e s . In t h e i r atrophied condition they weaken and die. So also do these mariners labor under a compartmentalized worldview that i s narrow and exclusive. They respond to the promptings and urgings of one side of t h e i r beings allowing other claims and view-points to weaken and perish. Herein l i e the seeds of t h e i r destruction. In allowing d i f f e r i n g sides of t h e i r being to perish from disuse the mariners seem confronted by either death as was Roderick Usher or the s t e r i l e l i f e of a Montresor who, despite f i f t y long years, remains locked within his self-defeating and segmented worldview. But the mariners take these g u i l t , fears, and obsessions to the sea. In the sea's vast p o s s i b i l i t i e s they confront the fullness of l i f e and are saved from destruction, saved fromcidissection. As W. H. Auden and Thomas P h i l b r i c k have demonstrated, the sea was a great Romantic and American preoccupation of the nineteenth century. In the sea's a b i l i t y to dissociate i t s e l f from the values of landed and c i v i l i z e d society, i n i t s impermanence and f l u x , i n i t s i n a b i l i t y to be constrained and controlled the sea i n i t s e l f was able to project the i s o l a t i o n and precariousness of the i n d i v i d u a l whether a d r i f t i n the physical environment or tossed between the claims and counterclaims of the psyche. The sea would test the s a i l o r s to the l i m i t s of t h e i r beings revealing to thera the fullness of t h e i r beings. In suffering the torments of hunger and 71 t h i r s t Pym learns that the mind i s one with the body. Corporal needs a f f e c t the mind and i t s workings. The crowded conditions and s t i f l i n g fumes of Pym's below deck confinement j o i n with hunger and t h i r s t to so dis o r i e n t him that he i s suddenly incapable of r a t i o n a l action. He impulsively drinks the l a s t of his food and f a i l s to examine the other side of the note. In t h e i r t e r r o r , i n the fear f o r t h e i r l i v e s , t h e i r bodies, each of the s a i l o r s comes to a f u l l e r understanding of the claims of the body, the importance of the body i n his survival and i n his thinking. In Pym's narrative t h i s relationship i s explored most f u l l y . Time and again the imaginative Pym i s saved by the cunning representative of the body. Dirk Peters. Without him Pym could hardly have survived. Neither can the mind remain i n d i f f e r e n t to physical claims and needs. But the sea i s more than a physical challenge. As a complex and conglomerate symbol i t demands the active p a r t i c i p a t i o n of the entire personality. On previous occasions we have noted the s t e r i l i t y the mariners discover i n t h e i r r a t i o n a l i t y , t h e i r p r a c t i c a l and l o g i c a l concerns. The sea i n i t s awesome beauty and terror reveals to the s a i l o r s both the insignificance of t h e i r existence and the wonder of nature. This discovery i s best expressed i n the excitement and eagerness with which they continue the experiences which had so recently held them i n a t e r r o r so great that each gave himself up to gloomy despair, and i n the strength of the commitment with which they turn outward to t h e i r fellowmen. Despite the consequences, whether to others, l i k e the crew of the Jane, or.^to themselves, as i n the t o l l exacted from the Norseman, each of the mariners stands i n support of his voyage. Each surrenders himself not i n a death wish but i n "a Romantic desire to penetrate the ultimate s e c r e t " . ^ Like M e l v i l l e they know i t i s better "to perish i n that howling i n f i n i t e than be Ingloriously dashed upon the l e e , even i f that were safety". Safety 72 i n such a s i t u a t i o n would be the triumph of the body over the other claims of the psyche. Here r a t i o n a l concern f o r the safety of the body gives way to imaginative p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r new i l l u m i n a t i o n , new joys, and new meanings. I t i s i n the fu l l n e s s of t h e i r now united personalities that the mariners learn a new regard f o r the beauty of l i f e and so l i v e , even i f b r i e f l y , i n the f u l l n e s s and joy of a united personality. I t i s only the Norseman that we see a c t i v e l y returning to a l i f e among men. For him i t i s a kind of l i f e - i n - d e a t h s i t u a t i o n s i m i l a r to the l i f e of Coleridge's Ancient Mariner once returned to shore. Having accepted the truths of landlessness, they l i v e on shore as a l i e n men. In the eyes of the world there i s no •happy' end to t h e i r voyage. Yet to the mariners, newly reborn i n the beauty of nature and the fu l l n e s s of community among men, there i s great ^Joy—more than they have ever known. Psychic d i v i s i o n was reflected i n Poe's society. Nineteenth-century America was rushing headlong i n t o a c i v i l war, the results of which threatened to be as disastrous as the c o l l i s i o n between Madeleine and Roderick Usher, The clash was to reach i t s climax i n the decade a f t e r Poe's death. The nation was coming apart. I t argued over slavery, over state's r i g h t s , and over d i f f e r i n g modes of and views on l i f e . In simple terms the r a t i o n a l , i n t e l l e c t u a l , pragmatic, and i n d u s t r i a l i z e d North sought to impose i t s w i l l and vaules on a more genteel, emotional, and affec t i v e South. For Poe, with his a r i s t o c r a t i c pretensions, the South, l i k e the imagination, was the home of the nation&s f i n e r aspects. He, of course, overlooked the obvious i n e q u i t i e s . Negroes were systematically excluded from p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n these f i n e r things, but then, as has frequently been observed, Poe was no democrat. In "Tamerlane" he speaks of the "rabble raen"(1.159) and remarks i n "The Colloquy of Monos and Una" that araonq"other odd ideas, that of universal equality gained ground". But 73 democratic theories aside, the South, as opposed to the North, was a slower more genteel world l e s s subject to the ravages of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n with i t s crowded c i t i e s and scarred landscapes. As the nation was to discover, however, neither was able to e x i s t alone. The North i n four years of armed struggle managed to impose i t s w i l l much as the author of the "MS" was able to Suppress the more affec t i v e side of his being under a weight of skeptical studies. But r e a l peace did not come to the nation u n t i l certain claims of the South could be recognized as v a l i d and honoured. True reconstruction began only as the values of each view were acknowledged. Likewise, s p i r i t u a l l y , i t was only i n the u n i f i c a t i o n of the separate f a c u l t i e s that Poe's mariners came to the joy of t h e i r " e x c i t i n g Knowledge". FOOTNOTES 74 1. Herman M e l v i l l e , Moby Dick (New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1964). p. 148-9. 2. Harry Levin, The Power of Blackness (New York: Alfred Knopf and Co. Inc., 1958), p. 25. 3. Daniel Hoffman, Poe (New York: Doubleday and Co. Inc., 1972), , p. x i i . 4. Richard Wilbur, "The House of Poe" i n The Recognition of Edgar  A l l a n Poe: Selected C r i t i c i s m since 1829, ed. E r i c W. Carlson C Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1966), p. 258. 5. Patrick Quinn, The French Face of Edgar Poe,(Carbondale: Southern I l l i n o i s University Press, 1957), p. 193. 6. Hoffman, p. 264. 7. Patrick Quinn, p. 200. 8. I b i d . , p. 196. 9. Thomas P h i l b r i c k , James Fenimore Cooper and the Development of American Sea F i c t i o n (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1961), p. lSS. 10. I b i d . , p. 123. 11. I b i d . , p. 168. 12. I b i d . , p. 175. 13. Richard Levine, "The Downward Journey of purgation: Notes on an Imagistic Leitmotif : in.-?The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym". Poe Newsletter, I I * . 2 ( A p r i l 1969), 29-31. 14. P h i l b r i c k , p. 176. 15. W. H. Auden, The Enchaf^d Flood (New York: Vintage Books, I967) . p. 6. 16. I b i d . , p. 11. 17. I b i d . , p. 12. 18. I b i d . , p. 63. 19. I b i d . , p. 68. 20. Edgar A l l a n Poe, "MS Found i n a Bot t l e " i n The Complete Works of Edgar A l l a n Poe, ed. James A. Harrison (New York: AMS Press Inc., 1965), II , p . 2. A l l subsequent references to Poe's work w i l l be from t h i s e d i t i o n . 75 21. A l l a n Tate, "Our Cousin, Mr. Poe" i n Edgar A l l a n Poe: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. Twentieth Century Views (Englewood~Cliffs. N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1965), p. 407 22. Floyd S t o v a l l , "The Conscious Art of Edgar A l l a n Poe", College  English, XXIV (March 1963), 418. 23. Maud Bodkin, Archetypal Patterns In Poetry (London: Oxford University press, 1963). p. 54. 24. Edgar Al l a n Poe, "Tales Twice Told" i n The Complete Works, X I I I , P. 153. 25. Hoffman, p. 151. 26. Marie Boneparte, The L i f e and Works of Edgar Al l a n Poet, A Psychoanalytic Interpretation (London: Hogarth Press, 1949), p.350." 27. Bodkin, p. 54. 28. Sidney Kaplan, "Introduction" i n The Narrative of Arthur Gordon  Pvm (New York: H i l l and Wanglnc., I960), p. i v . 29. Arthur Hobson Quinn, Edgar Al l a n Poe: A C r t i t i c a l Biography (New York: Appleton-Century Co., 1942), p. 2637 ~~ 30. . Poe's other long piece of f i c t i o n , "The Journal of J u l i u s Rodmam", also dealt with exploration and t r a v e l , s p e c i f i c a l l y the Lewis and Clarke Expedition, and r e f l e c t s his awareness of t h i s trend. See Harrison, Complete  Works. IV, p. 9. 31. Arthur Quinn, p. 268. 32. Boneparte, p. 291. 33. Hoffman, p. 274. 34. Levin, p. 118. 35. Moby. Dick, p. 254-5. 36. Wilbur, p. 250. 37. Edward H. Davidson, Poe: A C r i t i c a l Study (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957), p. 17^7" 38. David La Guardia, "Poe, Pym, and I n i t i a t i o n ^ New Approaches  to Poe.: A Symposium, ed. Richard Benton*-.(Hartford: Transcendental Books), p. W. 39. Levin, p. 125. 40. Richard Levine, p. 30. 41. Hoffman, p. 50. 76 42. Davidson, p. 195. 43. Poe, "The Poetic P r i n c i p l e " , Complete Works, XIV, p. 273. 44. Davidson, p. 202. 45. «*he Poetic P r i n c i p l e " , XIV, p. 273. 46. Levin, p. 131. 47. Jay Halio, "The Moral Mr. Poe", Poe Newsletter. I , 2 (October 1968), 23-4. 48. Poe, VII, p. 43. 49. I b i d . , XI, p. 71. 50. Levin, p. 106. 51. Hoffman, p. 134. 52. Robert Shulman, "Poe and the Powers of the Mind", ELH, 37(1970), 253-3. 53. Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1957), p. 230. 54. Gerard Sweeney, "Beauty and Truth: Poe's'A Descent i n t o the Maelstrom 1", Poe Newsletter. VI, 1 (June 1973), 24. 55;' Kathleen Sands, "The Mythic I n i t i a t i o n of Arthur Gordon Pym", Poe Newsletter. VII, 1 (June 1974), 16. 56. G. D. Thompson, Poe's F i c t i o n : , Jlomantic Irony i n the Gothic Tales (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1973), p. 183. 57. Sands, p. 14. 58. La Guardia, p. 83. 59. R. W. B. Lewis, The American Adam (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955), p. 115. 60. Auden, p. 92. 61. Thompson, p. 182. 77 BIBLIOGRAPHY Auden, W. H. The Enchaf^d Flood. New York: Vintage Books, 1967. Bodkin, Maud. Archetypal Patterns i n Poetry. 1934; rpt. London: Oxford University Press, 1963. Bonaparte, Marie. The L i f e and Works of Edgar A l l a n Poe; A Psychoanalytic  Interpretation. London: Hogarth Press, 1949. ~ Davidson, Edward H. Poe: A C r i t i c a l Study. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957. Finholt, Richard D. "The V i s i o n at the Brink of the Abyss: 'A Descent i n t o the Maelstrom' i n the Light of Poe's Cosmology". Georgia Review, 27 ( F a l l , 1973), 356-366. Halio, Jay. "The Moral Mr. Poe". Poe Newsletter. I , 2(0ctober, 1968), 23-4. Hoffman, Daniel. Poe. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1972. Kanjo, Eugene. "'The Imp of the Perverse': Poe's Dark Comedy of Art and Death". Poe Newsletter. I I , 3(October, 1969), 41-4. Kaplan, Sidney. "Introduction" i n The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. New York: H i l l and Wang, Inc., 19o0~. La Guardia, David. "Poe, Pym, and I n i t i a t i o n " , New Approaches to Poe: A Symposium. Ed, Richard Benton. Hartford: Transcendental Books, T968. Levin, Harry. The Power of Blackness. New York: A l f r e d Knopf and Company, Inc., 1958T Levine, Richard. "The Downward Journey of Purgation: Notes on an Imagistic Leitmotif i n The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym". Pee Newsletter, I I , 2( A p r i l , 1969TT29-31. Levine, Stuart. Edgar Poe: Seer and Craftsman. Deland, F l o r i d a : Everett/ Edwards, Inc., 1972. Lewis, R. W. B, The American Adam. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955. Lieber, Todd M. Endless Experiments: Essays on the Heroic Experience i n American Romanticism. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1973. Lindquist, James. "The Moral of Averted Descent: The Fa i l u r e of Sanity i n 'The P i t and the Pendulum'". Poe Newsletter, I I , 2 ( A p r i l , 1969), 25-9. Moss, Sidney, poe's L i t e r a r y B a t t l e s . Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1963. Poe, Edgar A l l a n . The Complete Works. Ed. James A. Harrison. 1902; r p t . New York: AMS Press, 1965. 78 Quinn, Arthur Hobson. Edgar A l l a n poe; A C r i t i c a l Biography. New York: Appleton-Century Company, 1942. "~ Quinn, Pat r i c k . The French Face of Edgar Poe. Carbondale: Southern I l l i n o i s University Press, 1957. Regan, Robert, ed. Edgar A l l a n Poe: A Co l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays, Twentieth Century Views. Englewood C l i f f s , N. J . : Prentice-Hall, 1967^ Rein, David. "The Appeal of Poe Today". New Approaches to Poe: A Symposium. Ed. Richard Benton. Hartford; Transcendental Books, 1968. Rein.SBavid. Edgar A l l a n Poe: The Inner Pattern. New York: Philosophical Library, I960. Ricardou, Jean. "Arthur Gordon Pym: 'A Journey to the End of the Page?'". Poe Newsletter, I , l ( A p r i l , 1968), 13-4. Sands, Kathleen. "The Mythic I n i t i a t i o n of Arthur Gordon Pym". Poe  Newsletter. VII, l(June, 1974), 14-6. Scherting, Jack. "The Bottle and the Coffin: Further Speculation o i Poe and Moby Dick". Poe Newsletter. I , 2(October, 1968), 20. Seelye, John, ed. Arthur Gordon Pym, Benito Cereno, and Related Writings. New York: J . B. Lippincott Company, I967T S t o v a l l , Floyd. "The Conscious Art of Edgar A l l a n poe". College English, XXIV(March, 1963), 417-21. Sweeney, Gerard. "Beauty and Truth: Poe's 'A Descent i n t o the Maelstrom'". Poe Newsletter. VI, l(June, 1973), 22-5. Tate, A l l e n . "Our Cousin, Mr. Poe". Rpt i n Edgar A l l a n Poe: A Co l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. Ed. Robert Regan. Englewood CliffsT N. J . : Prentice-Hall, 1967. Thompson, G. D. Poe's F i c t i o n : Romantic Irony i n the Gothic Tales. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1973. Tynan, Daniel. " J . N. Reynolds' Voyage of the Potomac: Another Source f o r The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym". Poe Newsletter, IV, 2(Deeember, 1971), 35-6. Wilbur, Richard. "The House of Poe". Rpt i n The Recognition of Edgar A l l a n  Poe: Selected C r i t i c i s m Since 1829. Ed. E r i c W. Carlson, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1966. Yonce, Margaret. ?»The S p i r i t u a l Descent i n t o the Maelstrom: A Debt to 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'". Poe Newsletter, I I , 2(April, 1969), 26-9. 

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