Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric And Style by Brett Zimmerman

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By Brett Zimmerman

Critics have frequently charged Edgar Allan Poe with sloppy writing. utilizing stylistics and classical rhetorical thought, Brett Zimmerman demonstrates that Poe used to be actually a super and planned lexical technician who various his prose variety based on style and the area perspectives and the psychological wellbeing and fitness or affliction of his narrators. Zimmerman breaks new floor in Poe reviews via offering a listing of 3 hundred figures of speech and concept within the author's oeuvre, together with his stories, own correspondence, literary feedback, e-book experiences, and Marginalia. This incisive catalogue of literary and rhetorical phrases, awarded in alphabetical order and amply illustrated with examples - as well as shut examinations of a few of Poe's most crucial stories - overwhelmingly demonstrates Poe's rhetorical and linguistic dexterity placing a virtually two-hundred-year-old severe debate to leisure via displaying Poe to be a conscientious craftsman of the top order.

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Additional resources for Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric And Style

Example text

Could not make the Egyptian comprehend the term 'politics,' until he sketched upon the wall, with a bit of charcoal, a little carbuncle-nosed gentleman, out at elbows, standing upon a stump, with his left leg drawn back, his right arm thrown forward, with the fist shut, the eyes rolled up toward Heaven, and the mouth open at an angle of ninety degress" (6: 125). ) Furthermore, in "The Purloined Letter," Dupin suggests to die narrator that "some color of truth has been given to the rhetorical dogma, that metaphor, or simile, may be made to strengthen an argument, as well as to embellish a description" (6: 47; see also 10: 143—4).

I do not believe that any thought, properly so called, is out of the reach of language ... For my own part, I have never had a thought which I could not set down in words, with even more distinctness than that with which I conceived it" (16: 88). If we can take him at his word, then, Poe himself claimed to be able to express any mere thought through words, but some of his own narrators confess an inability to convey verbally certain thoughts related to their own extraordinary experiences. This discrepancy between Poe's linguistic facility and that of his narrators suggests the aesthetic distance that Poe keeps in relation to them.

As Corbett reminds us, "The rhetorical question is a common device in impassioned speeches" (454). The above example of erotesis might even be interpreted by some as epiplexis instead — a question asked not to elicit information but to reproach, upbraid, rebuke. Epiplexis is clearly a device of vehemence. We also find some imperative statements, various exhortations (adhortatio) to the narrator's auditors: "Hearken! and observe how healthily — how calmly I can tell you the whole story" (88). The first paragraph also involves some instances of hyperbaton — the inversion of normal word order for emphasis: "Object there was none.

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