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Edgar Allan Poe and Elias Canetti: Illuminating the Sources of Terror

Edgar Allan Poe and Elias Canetti: Illuminating the Sources of Terror Edgar Allan Poe and Elias Canetti: Illuminating the Sources of Terror by Jeff rey J. Folks In The Torch in My Ear, the second volume of his four-volume autobiography, Elias Canetti recounts an episode from his university days in which he passed an uneasy morning in chemistry laboratory with a fellow student, Eva Reichmann: “I talked about a book I had started reading the day before: Poe’s tales. She didn’t know them, and I told her about one, ‘The Telltale Heart,’ which had really terrifi ed me. . . . I tried to free myself of this terror by repeating the story to her” (191). In seeking to dispel the terror generated by reading Poe’s tale, Canetti turns to another human being and attempts to relieve his uneasiness by communicating his frightening experience to her as they seek to analyze his fears. In its approach of uncovering and dispelling the sources of ter- ror in human relations, the episode points toward the long and distin- guished career that Canetti would enjoy, not as a chemist but as novel- ist, playwright, literary critic, autobiographer, and, most importantly, as author of Crowds and Power, the most authoritative and original of modern http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Edgar Allan Poe and Elias Canetti: Illuminating the Sources of Terror

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Edgar Allan Poe and Elias Canetti: Illuminating the Sources of Terror by Jeff rey J. Folks In The Torch in My Ear, the second volume of his four-volume autobiography, Elias Canetti recounts an episode from his university days in which he passed an uneasy morning in chemistry laboratory with a fellow student, Eva Reichmann: “I talked about a book I had started reading the day before: Poe’s tales. She didn’t know them, and I told her about one, ‘The Telltale Heart,’ which had really terrifi ed me. . . . I tried to free myself of this terror by repeating the story to her” (191). In seeking to dispel the terror generated by reading Poe’s tale, Canetti turns to another human being and attempts to relieve his uneasiness by communicating his frightening experience to her as they seek to analyze his fears. In its approach of uncovering and dispelling the sources of ter- ror in human relations, the episode points toward the long and distin- guished career that Canetti would enjoy, not as a chemist but as novel- ist, playwright, literary critic, autobiographer, and, most importantly, as author of Crowds and Power, the most authoritative and original of modern

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 16, 2005

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