"This Unfathomable Longing": The Perverse and the Uncanny in Edgar Allan Poe




Hecker, Madeline

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Edgar Allan Poe is among one of America’s most significant writers of the nineteenth century, and his works remain prevalent in the twenty first century. In this thesis, I explore five of Poe’s most well-known short stories in connection with Sigmund Freud’s theory of the uncanny alongside Poe’s own conception of the perverse. The works which I offer a reading of are “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Man of the Crowd,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Black Cat,” and “The Imp of the Perverse.” All of these tales evoke a certain sense of horror and anxiety within the reader. Through the Freudian concept of the uncanny, the impact of intellectual uncertainty, unknowability, and death are further analyzed. Poe offers his idea of perversity within his short stories “The Black Cat” and “The Imp of the Perverse.” With uncanniness and perversion in mind, I offer my readings of these classic stories through the lens of psychoanalytic literary criticism.



Poe, Psychoanalysis, Perverse, Uncanny


Hecker, M. (2022). <i>"This unfathomable longing": The perverse and the uncanny in Edgar Allan Poe</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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