By Paul Hurh
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Additional resources for American Terror: The Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, and Melville
Without constructing Edwards as a one-note firebrand, I argue that terror is not opposed to sensitivity, and that to ignore or de-emphasize the power of his terrors is to miss what originally drew attention to Edwards in the first place. What is needed is not more sympathy and less terror, but a deeper regard for what makes Edwards’s terror special and how it organizes the affective revolution in the revival. The first part of this chapter qualifies Fiering’s assumption, that Edwards’s terror is inherited seamlessly from an older Puritan tradition.
No perfect enclosure, say a perfect burial or a perfect crime, can ever be final, because of the trace of its framing. As I turn, in the following chapter, to Poe’s later fiction, particularly those horror stories associated with his less emotional but more rigid detective tales, I show how the method of Poe’s fiction (putting the frame into its own frame) anticipates poststructuralism’s critique of disciplinary knowledge. The horrors of mind, in the recursive plot of return, inform Poe’s interest in analysis as literary object.
Perry Miller, for instance, points to a shift in 1652, when the jeremiad’s list of God’s punishments comes to include the sinfulness of the people themselves. According to Miller, in this turn inward, “the subjective preëmpted the objective: a universal anxiety and insecurity had become no longer something, which, being caused, could be allayed by appropriate action, but rather something so chronic that the society could do nothing except Â�suffer” (From Colony to Province 28). The effect on the jeremiad was that, for the next forty years, its terrors became the expression of a people caught between an absolute theological imperative and an emerging capitalist expediency.
American Terror: The Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, and Melville by Paul Hurh