Text: David E. E. Sloane, “Chapter II: Medicine in the Short Stories,” Early Nineteenth-Century Medicine in Poe’s Short Stories, Master of Arts Thesis, Duke University, 1966, pp. 16-53 (This material is protected by copyright)


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Medical materials in Poe’s short stories fall into four major divisions: phrenology, nosology, pathology and mesmerism. Phrenology and mesmerism are both studies of the mind, although mesmerism tends to be more spiritualistic than anatomical.(1) Nosology is the identification of diseases by symptoms. Pathology, for Poe, is little more than an interest in decomposition and some of its attendant problems, particularly “miasma,” conceived of as a major element of contagion. Pathology is connected to mesmerism by a common view of the body as a congregation of magnetic or electric atoms, which decompose through a loss of mutual attraction. In each of the four categories, Poe’s earlier stories use medical material imaginatively to create an emotional atmosphere. Later stories use medical details as factual documentation in a predominantly rational framework.

1. Phreonology

Phrenology appears early in Poe’s short stories. A critical review in the Southern Literary Messenger indicates [page 17:] that Poe knew the science well by 1836. His story “Ligeia,” using phrenology terms extensively, appeared in September, 1838, the same month that Dr. George Combe arrived from Britain to lecture on the science. Dr. Combe’s lectures influenced “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “William Wilson,” both appearing while the interest in phrenology was at its highest in the United States. Poe’s last significant use of phrenology, in “The Imp of the Perverse,” appeared in July, 1845. Although critical opinions on the story differ, in “The Imp of the Perverse” Poe seems to be applying scientific rationalism as the introduction to a story which is not dependent on medical material for its effect.

Poe’s critical notice of Miles’ Phrenology appears in the Southern Literary Messenger, March, 1836.(2) This review outlines the technical terms and intricacies of phrenology, material which Poe uses in “Berenice,” “Morella,” and, later, “Ligeia” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Poe lists in this early review all of the mental faculties described by the phrenologists. His inventory of the instinctive propensities shows the intrusion of moral concepts into an analytic medical framework, a prominent trait of many medical doctrines in the early nineteenth century which is apparent here in the facultative names:

The Faculties are divided into Instinctive Propensities and Sentiments and Intellectual Faculties. The Instinctive Propensities and Sentiments are subdivided into Domestic Affections, embracing Amativeness, Philoprogenitiveness, Inhabitiveness, and Attachment — Preservative [page 18:] Faculties, embracing Combativeness, Destructiveness and Gustativeness — Prudential Sentiments, embracing Acquistiveness, Secretiveness, and Cautionness [Cautiousness] — Regulating Powers including Self-Esteem, Love of Approbation, Conscientiousness, and Firmness — Imaginative Faculties, containing Hope, Ideality, and Marvellousness — and Moral Sentiments, under which head come benevolence, Veneration, and Imitation.(3)

Virtually all phrenological texts use the same list of faculties, although some of the names vary. Dr. George Combe, for example, changes the name of “inhabitiveness” to “concentrativeness” and gives cases suggestive of the central figure in Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” to support the alteration:

3.  Concentrativeness. Spurzheim, observing it large in animals fond of dwelling in one place, called it inhabitiveness. I observed persons whose thoughts, like clouds, come and go without regularity — whose sentences have succession without relation, in them I found the organ very small.(4)

A similar transformation occurs between the “marvellousness” of Miles’ Phrenology and Dr. Combe’s “wonder.”(5) This faculty inclines its possessor towards mysticism and a ready belief in theologies like that of Emanuel Swedenborg,(6) another characteristic of the temperament of Poe’s Roderick Usher.

Phreonological “ideality,” like “wonder,” is found in several of the major figures of Poe’s short stories. The definition of “ideality” in Mile’s Phrenology is typical of the descriptions of this faculty. It is “the sentiment of Poesy. [page 19:] This sentiment is the sense of the beautiful, of the sublime and of the mystical.”(7) In his book Elements of Phrenology, Dr. Charles Caldwell, the phrenological polemicist, calls ideality the “organ of poetry” and “the real Helicon.”(8) Poe’s baffled poets, Ligeia and Roderick Usher, have a large bump of ideality, as we would expect.

The list of instinctive propensities given above is only part of the phrenological background regulating Poe’s characters. Poe also listed a number of intellectual faculties in his review of Miles’ Phrenology:

The Intellectual Faculties are divided into Observing Faculties, viz: Individuality, Form, Size, Weight, Color, Order, and Number — Scientific Faculties, viz: Constructiveness, Locality, Time, and Tune — Reflecting Faculties, viz: Eventuality, Comparison, Casuality [Causality], and Wit — and lastly, the Subserviant Faculty, which is Language.(9)

Of special interest to us is “Language,” seated directly behind the eyes. Large eyes indicate a talent in linguistics. This linkage of large eyes and linguistic ability is particularly noticeable in Poe’s “Ligeia.”(10) Poe uses the faculties of “order” and “constructiveness” humorously in “The Business Man”(11) [page 20:] and “Diddling Considered as One of the Exact Sciences.”(12)

Poe quotes several passages from Miles’ Phrenology which are developed in his later short stories. One citation suggests the idea of “William Wilson” with its duel between the animal and the moral halves of a man’s nature. The case history which is mentioned is found in almost every work on phrenology:

Some passages in Mrs. Miles’ little book have a very peculiar interest. At page 26 we find what follows:

‘The cerebral organs are double, and inhabit both sides of the head, from the root of the nose to the middle of the neck at the nape. They act in unison, and produce a single impression, as from the double organs of sight and hearing. . . . Tiedman reports the case of a madman, whose disease was confined to one side of his head, the patient having the power to perceive his own malady, with the unimpaired faculties of the other.’(13)

Benjamin Rush mentions the same case of split personality in his Medical Inquiries. Poe’s short stories include a number of madmen who are similarly able to observe their own maladies. Poe also notes in Mrs. Miles’ book the assertion that man has reason and is therefore responsible for vice.(14) Thus, a man may be impelled by his faculties, a viewer of his own derangement, and a morally responsible actor, all at the same time. We see this conjunction often in Poe’s tales.

Some notes by Poe concerning the analysis of cranial contours conclude his review of Miles’ Phrenology. After noting [page 21:] that “certain forms of the head denote particular talents or dispositions,” he goes on to describe the cranial characteristic found in Roderick Usher, Ligeia, and Berenice:

To this may be added the opinion of Gall [the original founder of phrenology and Dr. Spurzheim’s teacher], that a skull which is large, which is elevated or high above the ears, and in which the head is well developed and thrown forward, so as to be nearly perpendicular with its base, may be presumed to lodge a brain of greater power (whatever may be its propensities) than a skull deficient in such proportion.(15)

Many of Poe’s characters have the high forehead which suggests a large skull, in keeping with Dr. Gall’s notation.

In “Berenice,” appearing in the Southern Literary Messenger in March, 1835, Poe mentions the high forehead suggested in the critical notice of Miles’ Phrenology. Although Poe knew that superficial changes in the cranium did not reflect character changes,(16) it is possible that he intended his reference to her hollow temples to represent the mental consequences of Berenice’s unnamed disease:

The forehead [of Berenice] was high, and very pale, and singularly placid; and the once golden hair fell partially over it, and overshadowed the hollow temples with ringlets now black as the raven’s wing, and jarring discordantly, in their fantastic character, with the reigning melancholy of the countenance. [My italics.](17)

Berenice’s placid forehead is an indication of her mindlessness in the face of disease. Her hollow temples are a poetic indication of the loss of ideality — the sense of beauty and [page 22:] sublimity which raises man above the animals — which appears in the disturbance of “the identity of her person.”(18)

“Ligeia” utilizes more fully the nascent phrenological symbolism of “Berenice.” Appearing in September, 1838, the publication of “Ligeia” coincided with the arrival in New York of the famous British phrenologist Dr. George Combe. Since Poe had already mentioned Dr. Combe favorably in two reviews for the Southern Literary Messenger,(19) he undoubtedly knew of this event. In “Ligeia,” he appears to have been moved to apply some of Dr. Combe’s tenets to the description of the central character.

Poe’s description of Ligeia mentions a high forehead, swelling temples, and large eyes, each of these features having a phrenological significance. The lofty forehead, as in “Berenice,” is used to indicate a brain of greater power than appears in a smaller cranium. “The commanding extent” of Ligeia’s forehead and “the gentle prominence of the regions above the temples”(20) indicate ideality. Dr. Combe uses similar phrasing to describe a subject with great ideality:

His forehead, immediately above the nose, rose perpendicularly . . . and extended itself a good deal laterally, as if a piece had been added on each side.(21)

Ligeia’s poetry corresponds to her physical description as does [page 23:] her search after “wisdom too divinely precious to be forbidden,”(22) a search which is in keeping with the “mystical” interests of a person with large ideality, noted in Miles’ Phrenology.(23)

Ligeia has two other characteristics which are borrowed from phrenology. Her swelling temples indicate “love of life” in addition to ideality, and her large eyes are evidence of a large “Subservient Faculty, Language,” which is listed in George Combe’s Elements of Phrenology,(24) a work mentioned in the Miles review.(25) Edward Hungerford has noticed, in Ligeia, both her deep proficiency in the classical tongues and her overpowering love of life, which Poe mentions again and again. It comes as little surprise to Mr. Hungerford that Ligeia, under the influence of this organic will to live, returns to inhabit the body of Rowena, her successor in marriage.(26) Poe’s use of phrenology in this story is a formulation including a number of phrenological faculties of an almost supernatural power. His environment thus arranged, Poe carried through the metempsychosis of the climax of the story.

In September, 1839, Poe published another story which [page 24:] showed the influence of Dr. Combe’s visit to the United States, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine. Dr. Combe had given two courses of lectures in Philadelphia, in January and in March, and these lectures played an obvious part in the story which Poe published in September. Ideality is mentioned explicitly in Poe’s story. The “nervous” temperament of Roderick Usher is a direct borrowing from Dr. Combe’s lectures. Most interesting, however, is the similarity of the description of the house of Usher to the phrenological bust.

The phrenological bust(27) is a small model of the human cranium divided into thirty-two blocks of space representing the areas occupied by the individual phrenological faculties. Since the human brain is “duplex,” these facultative areas appear on both sides of the model in corresponding positions. Variations in the sizes of the areas represented on the bust were thought to be inherited by individuals from their parents. Usher’s description of the mansion follows all of these details:

The belief [in the sentience of the house], however, was connected (as I previously hinted) with the grey stones in the home of his forefathers. The condition of the sentience has been here, he imagined, fulfilled in the method of the collocation of these stones — in the order of their arrangement, as well as in that of the many fungi which overspread them . . . in the long undisturbed endurance of this arrangement, and in its reduplication in the still waters of the tarn.(28) [page 25:]

The word “sentience” is carefully chosen, for it means “feeling” in a medical context,(29) and looks forward to the resemblance of the “many fungi” which overspreads the stones of Usher’s mansion to the nerves of the brain. Completing the metaphor, the house of Usher has a “lofty” hall of entrance corresponding to Usher’s “lofty” reason.(30)

Roderick Usher’s appearance, like that of his house, is drawn from Dr. Combe’s lectures. As a basis for his discussions, Dr. Combe established four character types, one of which, the “nervous,” Poe transmuted into the fictional character of Usher:

4. The nervous is indicated is indicated by fine thin hair, small muscles, thin skin, paleness of countenance, and brightness of eye. This temperament gives great vivacity of mental action.(31)

In keeping with Dr. Combe’s description, Usher’s “peculiar physical conformation and temperament” are cited as forewarning of his “excessive nervous agitation.”(32) More specifically, Poe’s “nervous” character has “hair of a more than web-like softness,” “delicate features,” “a cadaverousness of complexion,” and “a miraculous lustre of eye.”(33) It is scarcely surprising to find Usher in a state of continual tension, granted these peculiarities. [page 26:]

The hereditary arrangement of Usher’s phrenological propensities accurately reflects Dr. Combe’s teachings, in keeping with the appearance of Usher’s mansion and physique. The most prominent feature of Usher’s head is “an inordinate expansion above the regions of the temple.”(34) This area appears on the phrenological bust as the area of wonder and ideality. Wonder “aids genius by prompting it to originality.”(35) A large organ of wonder is the outstanding feature of the followers of Heaven and Hell, among other esoteric works. In conjunction with Usher’s “excited and highly distempered ideality,”(37) wonder produces fanciful pictures and strange poetry, while Usher’s hereditary musical ability joins with these faculties to produce striking musical improvisations.

Poe’s concentration of phrenological lore in “The Fall of the House of Usher” is striking. Environment, temperament, and physical appearance are all described in terms and images traceable to Dr. Combe’s Lectures on Phrenology, the transcription of the lectures which Dr. Combe delivered in the United States. The appearance of corresponding phrenological details on three distinct levels in Poe’s story increases the atmospheric density through the involutions of the single metaphor. [page 27:]

Poe’s last major use of phrenology, “The Imp of the Perverse,” appearing six years after “The Fall of the House of Usher,” in July, 1845, indicates his abandonment of phrenology as a source of Gothic imagery. Poe’s treatment of the science is analytical and non-dramatic:

In the matter of phrenology, for example, we first determined, naturally enough, that it was the design of the Deity that man should eat. We then assigned to man an organ of alimentiveness, . . . secondly, having settled it to be God’s will that man should continue his species, we discovered an organ of amativeness . . . and so combativeness, with ideality, with causality, with constructiveness, . . . whether representing a propensity, a moral sentiment, or a faculty of the pure intellect.(38)

Since this criticism of the a priori reasoning of phrenology attacks the foundations of the science, Poe’s invention of a new faculty, “perverseness,” is inconsistent with the thread of his reasoning. That he should submit phrenology to a reasoning process at all is indicative of his abandonment of the science as a symbolic device. The argument for the sentiment of perverseness is clearly a sophistry measured against Dr. Combe’s Lectures on Phrenology, and there can be little doubt that Poe developed it in “The Black Cat” and this story primarily as an excuse for the theme of his story:(39)

It will be said . . . that when we persist in acts because we feel we should not persist in them, our conduct is but a modification of that which ordinarily springs from the Combativeness of phrenology. But a glance will show the fallacy of this idea. The phrenological combativeness has for its essence, the necessity [page 28:] of self-defence . . . but in the case of that something which I term perverseness, the desire to be well is not only not aroused, but a strongly antagonistic sentiment exists.(40)

Poe’s formulative statement concerning perverseness, while explaining the climax of “The Imp of the Perverse,” does not color the events of the story so much as excuse them, and the story is much less unified than “The Fall of the House of Usher.”

The progression in Poe’s use of phrenology is quite clear. Having some knowledge of phrenology from George Combe’s Elements of Phrenology and Miles’ Phrenology, Poe used phrenology faculties as descriptive elements in two or three early stores. In 1838, he borrowed more extensively from Dr. Combe’s writings in “Ligeia,” and in 1839 created a series of phrenological metaphors in “The Fall of the House of Usher.” In 1845, Poe discussed the science directly in his short story “The Imp of the Perverse,” without any effort at dramatic interpolation, and did not use phrenology seriously after that year.

2. Nosology

Poe uses medical symptoms frequently in his short stories, often employing concrete medical details to signify a particular disease by its effect instead of reciting a commonplace name or an inappropriate technical expression, although technical terms appear in their place. The symptoms of disease, [page 29:] consequently, have some importance for the texture of Poe’s short stories, and the differentiation of diseases by their outward manifestations, called “nosology,” has a definite effect on this area of Poe’s work. The symptoms of consumption appear several times in the tales. “Nervous Fever,” a distinct physical ailment to doctors of the early nineteenth century, appears significantly in two stories. Alcoholism and the extraction of tenth reflect Dr. Benjamin Rush’s Medical Inquiries, where these phenomena appear in a nosological context. Poe’s use of descriptive details relating to epidemics, although in some of the most bizarre cases medically verifiable, is not extensive enough to permit treatment.

Consumption appears in Poe’s early stories only through the most generally known causes and symptoms. The disease can originate either through heredity or neglect of hygiene, subjects which Poe referred to in his “Medical Review” in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1836. The disease leads to emaciation, hectic fever, and exhaustion terminating in death. Circumscribed redness of the cheeks and enlarged veins indicate the continuous hectic fever of the advanced stages of the disease.(41)

Poe uses the two most obvious symptoms of consumption in “Morella,” published in 1835. As a consequence of the alienation of her lover, Morella becomes ill. Poe’s narrator says that “the crimson spot settled steadily upon the cheek, and the [page 30:] blue veins upon the forehead became prominent. . . .”(42) Morella dies, seemingly of the consumption indicated by Poe’s few nosological details. The disease itself is unnamed, descriptive details alone suggesting the cause of death.

The use of nosological detail in Poe’s short stories often suggests the actual course of disease. Morella’s decline, like that of several of Poe’s other heroines, appears as a progressive malady which arises from the circumstances in which she lives. A continuing disregard of natural laws brings on debility. In Poe’s era, extreme care or devotion to duty was expected to result in disease quite naturally if the “organic laws of creation” were violated. George Combe’s The Constitution of Man cites many cases of individuals impelled to obey moral laws by phrenological propensities who, in doing so, violated natural laws of the human constitution and suffered the consequences.(43) Like some of Dr. Combe’s unfortunate victims of their own phrenology, Poe’s women are impelled to violate natural laws in their unremitting pursuit of wisdom. Ligeia, like Morella, presumably loses her health as a consequence of her single-minded devotion to scholarship. Although Ligeia is emaciated from the beginning, the symptoms of consumption, glassy eyes and swelling veins, appear as the penalty of her continuous labor.(44) As in “Morella,” the medical knowledge shown in “Ligeia” is elementary. [page 31:] The circumstances in both stories suggest an hereditary cause of consumption, one of the usual causes given by Dr. Rush,(45) and also suggest the results of over-intense studies, Dr. Combe’s suggestion. The use of empirical details, in either case, implies a progressive condition which the name of the disease alone could not convey. “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” 1845, does not develop the sense of progression felt in “Morella” and “Ligeia.” The physical details of M. Valdemar’s advance consumption, however, are much more extensive than anything Poe had published earlier. Popular medical guides such as The Family Physician give only such details as cadaverousness, prominent cheek bones, spitting, and a slight pulse,(46) details easily borrowed from Dr. Rush’s Medical Inquiries. Dunglison’s Medical Dictionary offers a more technical description of phthisis, or consumption, which Poe probably used, as we know that he was aware of Dr. Dunglison’s writings.(47) Dr. Dunglison writes the following:

It [phthisis] consists in the formation of the tubercles in the lungs, which sooner or later inflame and break down. In such a constitution, ulcerations of the lungs do not readily heal; and hectic fever — the universal attendant upon irritability and debility — is established. . . .

The expectoration is evidently purulent, with fever in the evening, and circumscribed redness of the cheeks. . . . [page 32:]

The inspiration and expiration are cavernous and tracheal. The voice and cough indicate unusual resonance and pectoriloquy.(48)

Poe’s account of M. Valdemar’s disease follows Dr. Dunglison’s description of consumption closely. Poe describes M. Valdemar’s “confirmed phthisis” anatomically, justified in this by Dr. Dunglison’s account of the stages of the disease as determinable by percussion of the chest.(49) The description of M. Valdemar’s deterioration was sufficiently convincing to be taken as fact in England, where the story was reprinted in 1846 as a pamphlet, “Mesmerism, ‘In Articulo Mortis.’ ”(50) In the course of the action, Poe mentions M. Valdemar’s cadaverous complexion and well-defined hectic spots,(51) after giving his own observations and a minute account of the patient’s condition from Doctors D—— and F——:

His face wore a leaden hue; the eyes were utterly lustreless; and the emaciation was so extreme that the skin had been broken through by the cheek-bones. His expectoration was excessive. The pulse was barely perceptible. . . .

The left lung had been for eighteen months in a semi-osseous or cartilaginous state, and was, of course, entirely useless for all purposes of vitality. The right, in its upper portion, was also partially, if not thoroughly, ossified, while the lower region was merely a mass of purulent tubercles, running one into another. Several extensive perforations existed and, at one point, permanent adhesion to the ribs had taken place.(52) [page 33:]

Before “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” Poe used medical data concerning consumption only briefly, apparently drawing on the implications suggested by Dr. Combe’s hygienic essays. In this story, he uses technical details as verisimilitude, as well as advancing the action thereby. The central interest of the story, however, lies in mesmerism, which was then a subject of wide interest.

Nervous fever, like consumption, does not figure directly in the climax of Poe’s stories, but is used to advance the dramatic action nevertheless. Rowena, in “Ligeia,” and Roderick Usher, in “The Fall of the House of Usher,” both show the symptoms of nervous fever. Nervous fever was listed as a separate disease in Dunglison’s Medical Dictionary as late as 1852, although it is also listed as a variety of typhus.(53) Nervous fever was supposed to result in anxiety and extreme prostration, for which the remedy suggested is wine.(54) Rowena suffers, in an obvious case of the disease, from an “increase in her nervous agitation,” which leads to fainting.(55) The narrator, in keeping with Dr. Dunglison’s definition, administers the wine, which her doctors ordered, to Rowena.(56) This simple case is only a prelude to the use of the disease in “The Fall of the House of Usher.” [page 34:]

An extensive description of nervous fever, bearing on the disease of Roderick Usher, can be found in The Family Physician, one of the home medical guides of Poe’s era. The most striking features of Usher’s unknown malady — nervous insomnia, murmuring, and fixed staring — are only part of the nosology seen in the following description from The Family Physician:

“Nervous Fever” . . . The sleep is very much disturbed and unrefreshing: the countenance sinks or seems to change . . . to a ghastly appearance. . . . The mind broods over the most melancholy of feelings without knowing the cause; the sight of food is very unpleasant. . . . The symptoms considered very dangerous are . . . a changing of the voice from its usual tone; great vigelance or watchfulness . . . a muttering as if speaking to one’s self; a wild and fixed look, as if the eyes were riveted on some particular object. . . .

This fever originates from putrid animal and vegetable matter, mixing with the air or atmosphere we breathe, such for instance as the decaying vegetable and animal matter arising from stagnant mill ponds. . . . (57)

Usher describes himself in terms “of acute bodily illness — of a mental disorder”(58) which suggest the nervous disorder described above. At the climax of the story, the narrator suffers from sleeplessness, but finds Usher walking around the house when he arises.(59) Usher’s mind, countenance, fixed look, muttering, and changed voice match the description of the nervous fever sufferer:

The pallor of his countenance had assumed, if possible, a more ghastly hue. . . . The once occasional huskiness of his tone was heard no more; and [page 35:] a tremulous quaver, as if of extreme terror, habitually characterized his utterance. There were times, indeed when I thought his unceasingly agitated mind was laboring with some oppressive secret, . . . for I beheld his gazing upon vacancy for long hours. . . .

His eyes were bent fixedly before him and throughout his whole countenance there reigned a stony rigidity. . . . I saw that he spoke in a low, hurried, and gibbering murmur, as if unconscious of my presence.(60)

Every major particular of nervous fever is included in the description of Usher. His acute senses can tolerate only the “most insipid food.”(61) The origin of the nervous fever in decaying matter is suggested by the narrator’s description of the domain of Usher:

An atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn — a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible and leaden-hued.(62)

The narrator also mentions the “rank miasma of the tarn,”(63) “miasma” being the technical nineteenth-century term for the effluvia of decay. The same concept appears in Poe’s patholgical detail more than once, and he uses the term in its technical sense, as we shall see. Poe, it seems, uses the signs of nervous fever skillfully in “The Fall of te House of Usher,” in conjunction with Usher’s increasing agitation over his sister’s premature burial.

The appearance of nosological detail in “The Fall of [page 36:] the House of Usher” is interesting because of the specific correspondences which occur in The Family Physician, but the more generalized influence of Dr. Benjamin Rush’s Medical Inquiries and Observations is equally important in its thematic influence on Poe’s short stories. Several of Dr. Rush’s inquires deal with consumption and fever. Others deal with the extraction of teeth, the effects of alcohol, and epidemics. Dr. Rush’s influence may touch almost any of Poe’s stories, from 1832 to 1849, the period of his work in the form. Since there is little in Poe’s stories to suggest any particularized contemporary interest in Dr. Rush’s work, as there is to indicate an interest in Dr. Combe and the phrenologists, Dr. Rush’s influence on Poe probably occurred during Poe’s youth in Richmond or while at the University of Virginia. In these years, Dr. Rush’s Medical Inquiries was the most widely known collection of medical information in the United States.

One of Dr. Rush’s essays in “An Account of the Cure of Several Diseases by Extraction of Decayed Teeth.” This essay, suggesting the theme of “Berenice,” develops the medical doctrine that sensations may be translated from one area of the body to another, causing unidentifiable diseases to appear:

The Doctor discovered several molares in both jaws to be decayed. He directed them to be drawn, in consequence of which the young woman was relieved of the . . . disease. . . .

We recollect how often the most distressing general diseases are brought on by very inconsiderable inlets of morbid excitement into the system. . . .

This translation of sensation and motion to parts remote from the place where the impressions are made [page 37:] appears in many instances, and seems to depend upon an original law of the animal economy.(64)

Although in “Berenice,” the heroine suffers from “disease — a fatal disease,” it is the narrator whose monomania consists of “a morbid irritability.”(65) Since Berenice’s disease is a general one, however, some significance may be attached to the narrator’s fascination with her teeth. The connection of teeth with general disability provides a rationale for the dental extractions which precede the climax of the story.

In keeping with the linkage of wine and madness in Poe’s stories, such as “Shadow — A Parable” and “Hop-Frog,” Dr. Rush’s inquires into the effects of ardent spirits on the human body and mind find a distinct connection between drunkenness and immorality or madness. Dr. Rush’s inquiry into alcohol was reprinted in many forms throughout the nineteenth century, establishing the contemporary view of hard drinking reflected in Poe’s short stories. Two of Dr. Rush’s numerous consequences of alcoholism follow:

3. Jaundice and dropsey of the belly and limbs, and finally of every cavity of the body. A swelling in the feet and legs is so characteristic a mark of the habits of intemperance that the merchants of Charleston, I have been told, cease to trust the planters of South Carolina, as soon as they perceive it. They very naturally conclude industry and virtue to be extinct in that man. . . .

Lastly, 11. Madness . . .(66)

The two consequences of drink listed by Dr. Rush are reflected [page 38:] in the characters of Poe’s “Hop-Frog.” In this story, a king and seven privy counselors are “large, corpulent, oily men,” great drinkers of wine, and noted for their accomplishments as practical jokers rather than as governors.(67) Their general debauchery is similar to that of the court found in “King Pest,” where dropsy, consumption, and other diseases are linked to debauchery. Disease, in “King Pest,” takes the place of the preoccupation with sadistic humor found in “Hop-Frog.”(68) It should be evident from the citations from Dr. Rush that his influence is more general than specific, and consequently impossible to trace with certainty. Nevertheless, Dr. Rush’s influence on Poe’s era is too profound to pass without some notice.

3. Pathology

Poe’s use of medical pathology in his short stories is limited to decomposition and the nineteenth-century medical concept of “miasma.” In his late stories, Poe also deals with organic decomposition, applying an electrical theory borrowed from the mesmerists. As with phrenology, Poe uses miasma dramatically in his earlier short stories, but analytically in later stories. The theory of miasma and the means of preventing decay are mentioned in several stories, and Poe’s article on [page 39:] “Street Paving” gives a full description of the theories he was using in these tales. Poe’s use of galvanic shock to represent decay, suggestive of the theories of the animal magnetists, appears in two stores, explicitly in “The Colloquy of Monos and Una,” and implicitly in the later story, “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.”

Dunglison’s Medical Dictionary describes miasma fully, citing both common miasma, Koinomiasmata, and miasma arising specifically from a decaying human body, Idiomiasmata. The dictionary description of miasma states that common masma emanates from the bodies of the sick, organic matter, or marshy ground.(69) In the following passage, which appears in the 1835 version of “Berenice,”(70) the narrator refers to both types of miasma. The narrator believes Berenice to be dead:

With a sense of suffocation I dragged myself to the side of the bed. Gently I uplifted the sable draperies of the curtains.

As I let them fall they descended upon my shoulders, and shutting me thus out from the living, enclosed me in the strictest communion with the deceased.

The very atmosphere was redolent of death. The peculiar smell of the coffin sickened me; and I fancied a deleterious odor was already exhaling from the body. I would have given the world to escape — to fly from the pernicious influence of mortality — to breathe once again the pure air of the eternal heavens.(71)

The peculiar smell of the coffin and the body, in the passage [page 40:] above, is frightening because it was considered a possible source of such diseases as yellow fever, nervous fever, or ideopathic phrenitis.(72) Dr. Rush believed it possible that the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793 was caused by miasma from rotting wood.(73) It seems possible, then, that the contagion which threatens the narrator could derive from either of the two potential sources in the story.

Enclosed air was thought in Poe’s era to be as deadly as contaminated air:

Air which stagnates in mines, wells, cellars, &c. is extremely noxious. Such air is to be avoided as the most deadly poison. — It often kills almost as quickly as lightning. For this reason, people should be very cautious in opening cellars that have been close covered.(74)

Poe reflects ideas similar to the one above in his article “Street Paving,” which was published in 1845. His article links miasma to rotting wood and advocates the use of a commonly known chemical preservative for the prevention of this danger:

The first objection [to wooden paving] is that of injury to the public health from miasmata arising from the wood. . . .

The preservative agent employed was that of corrosive sublimate — the Bi-Chloride of Mercury.

Decay being thus prevented, all danger from miasma is of course to be left out of the question; and although it has been frequently asserted that the effluvium is injurious to the health — the assertion has been as frequently [page 41:] refuted. . . . Even where sailors have lived for months in the most confined holds of vessels built of mineralized wood, no ill consequences have been found to arise.(75)

Before discussing Poe’s mention of the bi-chloride of mercury as a preservative, his use of the effects of decay in “The Fall of the House of Usher” should be cited.

Poe combines, in “The Fall of the House of Usher,” the miasmic contagion in “Berenice” with the concept of stagnant air and water in The Family Physician and Dr. Rush’s Medical Inquiries.(76) The comparison of Roderick Usher’s mansion to rotting woodwork, as appears later in Poe’s “Street Paving,” gives the complete background of Usher’s miasma-induced nervous fever, the details of which we have previously confirmed:

About the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinity — an atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn — a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible and leaden-hued. . . .

In this there was much that reminded me of the specious totality of old woodwork which has rotted for long years in some neglected vault, with no disturbance from the breath of external air. Beyond this indication of extensive decay, however, the fabric gave little token of instability.(77)

Poe’s rendering of the ideas expressed in the medical texts is clear in this passage. The pathological details are medically consistent in “The Fall of the House of Usher” with the nosology concerning the central character’s nervous fever. [page 42:]

The concepts of organic decay and chemical preservation appear in 1842 as analytical detail in “The Mystery of Marie Roget.” In the logical train of reasoning used to determine the fate of the body of Marie Roget, the detective Dupin develops the concept of decomposition carefully in order to “test the assertions” of another commentator on the death.(78) Consequently, the reference is even more strictly rational and concise than Poe’s later “Street Paving” article dealing with a comparable subject:

Under certain conditions this result [decomposition] would be brought about within an hour; under others it might not take place at all. There are chemical infusions by which the animal frame can be preserved forever from corruption; the Bi-chloride of Mercury is one. But, apart from decomposition, there may be, and very usually is, a generation of gas within the stomach, from the acetous fermentation of vegetable matter (or within other cavities from other causes), sufficient to induce a distension which will bring the body to the surface.(79)

The knowledge which Poe evidences in “The Mystery of Marie Roget” has been traced to a number of possible sources by Carrol Laverty, in “Science and Pseudo-Science in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe.” Mr. Laverty concludes that Poe’s data originated from the highly publicized “Kyanizing process.”(80) This preservative process, which uses Bi-chloride of Mercury, received considerable attention in English periodicals in the 1830’s. Poe must have been aware of it, but the repetition of the single chemical [page 43:] detail concerning the Bi-chloride of Mercury indicates how narrow a background he drew on in the application of the chemical aspects of medical pathology.

In Poe’s short stories, there is a non-organic view of decay which exists beside the organic view. The alternative view of decay is based on the principle of “vibratility” developed in Dr. Rush’s Medical Inquiries. Vibratility links the animal system with electricity in later applications of the principle. In Dr. Rush’s Medical Inquiries, however, the cause of life is attributed to any stimulus, or a number of stimuli acting in concert.(81) Death may be caused “by the abstraction of all the stimuli which support life,” or by their excessive force.(82) Thus, Dr. Rush links life and death to impression, motion, and, most interesting to Poe, electricity:

The doctrine of animal life which has been taught exhibits, in the First place, a new view of the nervous system, by discovering its origin in the extremities of the nerves on which impressions are made, and its termination in the brain. This idea is extended in an ingenious manner by Mr. Valli, in his treatise upon animal electricity.(83)

Poe’s reaction to theories of an electrical impulse controlling life through sense stimuli must have been favorable. In 1841, his story “The Colloquy of Monos and Una” pictures decay as a sense effect derived from a vaguely realized galvanic impulse tied to the senses and sense perceptions: [page 44:]

A dull shock like that of electricity pervaded my frame, and was followed by total loss of the idea of contact. All of what man has termed senses were merged in the sole consciousness of entity, and in the one abiding sentiment of duration. The mortal body had at length been stricken with the hand of the deadly decay.(84)

The connection of the nervous system to electricity in Poe’s story is a counterpart to Dr. Rush’s analysis of the causes of life. Dunglison’s Medical Dictionary confirms the linkage of the nervous system with electrical impulse in the description of nervous fluid:

The fluid which is supposed to circulate through the nerves, and which has been regarded as the agent of sensation and motion. Of this fluid we know nothing, except that it resembles, in many respects the electric or galvanic. It was formerly called Animal spirits.(85)

The completed picture of the causes of life and death and decay leads from vibratility and sense impression to a consideration of the nervous system as effected by fluids which suggest galvanism and electricity, the idea which Poe employs in “The Colloquy of Monos and Una.” Animal decay thus becomes an electric phenomenon, and, although the chain of reasoning is tenuous, leads to electrical psychology and mesmerism.

Mesmerism, a subject in itself, is closely related to Poe’s interest in medical pathology, particularly as he treats decomposition in “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.” Dr. Rush, discussing the causes of animal life, suggests that “tension” sustains the physical body. Referring to a case in which [page 45:] this tension was supplied by pregnancy. Dr. Rush notes that death from consumption can be delayed by tension, an idea which is directly carried out in Poe’s “Morella,”(86) as well as in “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” and “Mesmeric Revelation”:

IV. A certain tension of the glands, and of other parts of the body, contributes to support animal life. This is evident in the vigour which is imparted to the systems, by the fullness of the seminal vesicles and gall bladder, and by the distention of the uterus in pregnancy. . . . By increasing the quantity of life in the body, it often suspends the fatal issue of pulmonary consumption, and ensures a temporary victory over these diseases, seldom takes place, until the stimulus, from the distension of the uterus, is removed by parturition.(87)

The idea of a vaguely understood tension postponing death is made to function explicitly when Morella dies in giving birth. In the mesmeric stories, Poe replaces the influence of internal tension with the external force of animal magnetism. The application of Dr. Rush’s “tension” in M. Valdemar’s case is implicit in the properties of the galvanic fluid of the animal magnetists.

Dr. Dunglison suggests the relationship between living matter and magnetic influence in his description of “magnetic [page 46:] fluid.” Poe is dealing with this relationship when he attempts to discover whether death might be arrested by the magnetic influence.(88) The term in Dunglison’s Medical Dictionary is originally derived from a supposed property of magnets:

By analogy it is applied to a particular principle, supposed to be the source of organic actions, which affects, it is conceived, the nervous system principally, and is susceptible of being transmitted from one living body to another, by contact or simple approximation, and especially under the influence of fixed volition. . . .

MAGNETISM, ANIMAL . . . It is supposed to be transmitted from one person to another, and to impress peculiar modification on organic action, especially on that of the nerves. . . .(89)

Thus, the nature of death relates to the effects of mesmerism on organic matter, and brings us to the subject of mesmerism, from which Poe may have derived his medico-electric theory of life.

4. Mesmerism

Mesmerism appears in three of Poe’s tales, “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains,” “Mesmeric Revelation,” and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.” In all three stories mesmerism is closely linked to death, in keeping with Poe’s galvanic view of pathology. Poe’s plots may be derived from C. H. Townshend’s Facts in Mesmerism, but the electrical theory of the universe which Poe expresses seems to be common to all mesmerists and is [page 47:] seen quite clearly in the Electrical Psychology of John Bovee Dods and elsewhere. Dr. Dods’s theories indicate that the link between mind and matter is found in the galvanic or nervous fluid of the brain. Poe’s use of mesmerism is more often concerned with plot than with poetic metaphors and background material, as are his uses of phrenology, nosology, and pathology.

The original idea of mesmerism was simply that “human bodies might in themselves harbour a magnetic, curative fluid so that they might have a healing affect on each other.”(90) The vague interconnections in the pathology of Poe’s era between the preservation of the human body and a nervous, or galvanic, tension suggest the possibility of an electric or magnetic influence existing between bodies in this manner. Because Dr. Dunglison was sceptical of the existence of such a fluid as the mesmerists suggest, he defined animal magnetism only as “a mode of action upon the nerves through the medium of the senses.”(91) John Bovee Dods, however, uses the conception of nervous fluid freely in describing mesmerism and his own “electrical psychology.” Although the idea of the body receiving life-supporting impressions, borrowed from Benjamin Rush, is reserved for his own system, Dr. Dods is explicit regarding the source of magnetic or electrical influence, incidentally linking mesmerism and somnambulism much [page 48:] as Poe does in “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains”:

In Mesmerism there is a sympathy so perfect between the magnetizer and subject, that what he sees, the subject sees — what he hears, the subject hears — what he feels, the subject feels . . . and lastly, what the magnetizer wills, is likewise the will of his subject. . . . The person in the mesmeric state can hear no voice but that of his magnetizer, or the voices of those with whom he is put in communication. . . .

Mesmerism and Somnambulism are identical; they are one and the same state. And as no person is naturally in the mesmeric state. Though the experiments of both these states are performed by the same nervous fluid, yet this does not render the two sciences identical, any more than that they are rendered identical with fits, or insanity, which are caused by the same nervous force.(92)

Sidney Lind uses a description close to this one by John Bovee Dods to explain the action in Poe’s “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains,” published in April, 1844.(93) Mr. Lind particularly notes that mesmeric sympathy can operate over great distances. The “magnetic relation” between the two central characters in the story is accomplished through the treatment of “neuralgic attacks,” again implying the closeness of mesmerism to Poe’s galvanic theory of dissolution.

In “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains,” Poe establishes that the mind of the mesmeric subject Augustus Bedlow is not powerful by referring to his broad and low forehead.(94) A Dr. Templeton, administering magnetic remedies to Bedloe’s neuralgic attacks, gains the power to induce magnetic somnolency “even [page 49:] when the invalid was unaware of his presence.”(95) As a result, Bedloe experiences a death which Dr. Templeton writes down many miles away from him. Bedloe’s death scene is like the decay passage in “The Colloquy of Monos and Una.” The addition of the Bedloe-Templeton magnetic sympathy is based on the centrality of the nervous system to both Poe’s notion of decay and mesmeric theory:

‘For many minutes,’ continued the latter, ‘my sole sentiment — my sole feeling — was that of darkness and nonentity, with the consciousness of death. At length there seemed to pass a violent and sudden shock through my soul, as if of electricity. With it came the sense of elasticity and of light. This later I felt — not saw. In an instant I seemed to rise from the ground. But I had no bodily, no visible, audible, or palpable presence. . . . Volition I had none, but appeared to be impelled into motion . . . I again experienced a shock as of a galvanic batter; the sense of weight, of volition, of substance, returned. . .’(96)

The loss of volition mentioned by J. B. Dods is here linked to the electrical conception of the body. Dr. Templeton explains the source of Bedloe’s imagined death as a case of sympathetic influence:

‘In your detail of the vision which presented itself to you amid the hills, you have described . . . Benares. . . . You will perceive by these manuscripts,’ (here the speaker produced a note-book in which several pages appeared to have been freshly written), ‘that at the very period in which you fancied these things amid the hills, I was engaged in detailing them upon paper here at home.’(97) [page 50:]

The influence exhibited in “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains” is somnabulic. The imagined death of Bedloe deals in a pathological sensory perception which appears didactically in Poe’s “Mesmeric Revelation,” published in August, 1844.

A chain of medical speculation extends from Dr. Rush’s inquiries into the cause of human life through mesmerism to the cosmic theory expounded in “Mesmeric Revelation.” Dr. Rush appeals to the book of “Revelation” to rescue “the human body in its state of decomposition in the grave.”(98) He does not venture to suggest the nature of the re-organization of the body after death. Dr. Rush’s speculations suggest that man will be united with God, leaving behind the sense perceptions which are the cause of life.(99)

In the Electrical Psychology of John Bovee Dods, Dr. Rush’s principle is applied to mesmerism. Dr. Dods first suggested his ideas in January, 1843, in lectures positively linking electricity and matter:

Ever since 1830, I have contended, that electricity is not only the connecting link between MIND and inert MATTER, but is the grand agent employed by the Creator to move and govern the universe.(100)

Dr. Dods goes on the advance the idea of nervous fluid, relating life-force or stimulus and mesmerism, to a concept of electro-nervous fluid: [page 51:]

Every principle of philosophy is based upon cause, medium, and effect. Even the Creator himself, were he completely isolated from this globe, could produce no case, no medium of communication. . . . They [two nerves] are both compound nerves, by which we mean, sensation, being connected with the mind as its agent to transmit the electro-nervous fluid to and from it, and through which it holds a correspondence with the external world.(101)

Thus, Dr. Dods creates an inclusive theory of universal matter and links it to the human brain through the nervous fluid.

In “Mesmeric Revelation,” appearing in August, 1844, Poe follows Electrical Psychology closely. The mesmeric subject is dying and possibly dead through part of the recorded interview, in keeping with Poe’s connection of mesmeric phenomena and pathology already discussed. The mesmeric argument presented in Poe’s short story names electricity as the universal medium. Poe follows Dr. Rush’s opinion that man lives as a part of God’s will and is in death reoganized into an eternal non-physical state.(102)

The atmosphere, for example, impels the electric principle, while the electric principle permeates the atmosphere. . . .

God, with all the powers attributed to spirit, is but the perfection of matter. . . .

Mind, existing unincorporate, is merely God. . . .

What we call ‘death,’ is but the painful metamorphosis. . . . Our future is perfected, ultimate, immortal.(103) [page 52:]

Poe’s speculations about life, in “Mesmeric Revelation,” have little to do with medical data as such. This material, however, occupied the mesmerists very much, and Sidney Lind records the confirmation of Poe’s story by a well-known New York mesmerist, Andrew Jackson Davis.(104)

Sidney Lind suggests that Poe’s understanding of mesmerism is derived from C. H. Townshend’s Facts in Mesmerism. In the London, 1844, edition of this work, a prefatory notice includes names similar to those found in “Mesmeric Revelations” and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” which was published in December, 1845.(105) Mr. Lind also notes that Mr. Townshend’s Facts in Mesmerism is praised in Poe’s review of W. Newnham’s Human Magnetism, in the Broadway Journal, April 5, 1845, while the references to the reviewed work are not convincing proof that it was read by Poe.(106) Mr. Lind cites a passage from Townshend’s book, however, which suggests the theme of “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”:

I have watched the effects of mesmeric treatment upon a suffering friend, who was dying of the most fearful disorder — Lumbar abcess. Unfortunately, through various hindrances, Mesmerism was not resorted to till late in the progress of the disease, so that, of course, that it should effect a cure was out of the question. . . . I have no hesitation in saying, that, under God, the life of my friend, R. T., was prolonged, at least, two months by the action of mesmerism.(107) [page 53:]

The prolongation of life in the face of consumption is the same theme which Poe adopts in “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.”

The design in “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” is to apply mesmerism to a patient in articulo mortis in order to study the effect of mesmerism on the patient.(108) The experiment on M. Valdemar is also expected to show whether or not mesmerism impedes death. When M. Valdemar dies of consumption, he is maintained in a state of trance for seven months. Presumably, he is preserved by the external mesmeric tension which is applied to him just before his death. When the magnetic tension is removed from M. Valdemar’s body it immediately putrifies.(109)

Of the four disciplines which Poe employs, mesmerism adds the least to the symbolic dimensions of the short stories. Nevertheless, in “Mesmeric Revelation” and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” an attempt at a theory of the universe appears in the action of the stories. The use of medical detail is open in these later stories, apparent from our ability to discuss them in terms of logic rather than symbols. The later stories appear less carefully composed than the Gothic tales of the 1830’s which employ phrenology and nosology to add suggestive details, developing the meaning of the story.



[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 16:]

1.  Margaret Goldsmith, op. cit., p. 246.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 17:]

2.  Poe, SLM II (March, 1836), 286-287.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 18:]

3.  Poe, SLM II, p. 286.

4.  George Combe, Lectures, p. 143.

5.  Ibid., pp. 210-216.

6.  Ibid., pp. 213.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 19:]

7.  Cited by Edward Hungerford, “Poe and Phrenology,” American Literature 2 (Nov., 1930), 214.

8.  Charles Caldwell, Elements of Phrenology (Lexington: Thomas Skillman, 1824), p. 58.

9.  Poe, SLM II (March, 1836), 286.

10.  Hungerford, pp. 228-229.

11.  [Edgar Allan Poe], The Complete Poems and Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Hobson Quinn, ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1958), I, 301. Hereafter referred to as the Complete Poems and Stories, names of individual stories will not be cited. [[For this online edition, these references will be supplemented with equivalent material in the Mabbott edition. — JAS]] [[Mabbott, Tales & Sketches, 2:481]]

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 20:]

12.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 485. [[Mabbott, Tales & Sketches, 3:868]]

13.  Poe, SLM II (March, 1836), 286.

14.  Ibid., II, 286.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 21:]

15.  Poe, SLM II (March, 1836), 286.

16.  Hungerford, p. 219.

17.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 148-149. [[Mabbott, Tales & Sketches, 2:215]]

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 22:]

18.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 148-149. [[Mabbott, Tales & Sketches, 2:211]]

19.  Poe, SLM II (March, 1836), 286, and SLM II (Nov., 1836), 785-786.

20.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 223. [[Mabbott, Tales & Sketches, 2:312]]

21.  George Combe, Lectures, p. 217.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 23:]

22.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 225.

23.  See Hungerford, op. cit., p. 214.

24.  George Combe, Elements of Phrenology, 4th American ed., (Boston: Marsh, Capen, & Lyon), p. 50.

25.  Poe, SLM II (March, 1836), 286.

26.  Hungerford, op. cit., pp. 214-215.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 24:]

27.  See Appendix 1.

28.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 271.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 25:]

29.  Robley Dunglison, Dunglison’s Medical Dictionary, 9th edition (Philadelphia: Blanchard & Lea, 1852), p. 784.

30.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, p. 265, 269.

31.  George Combe, Lectures, p. 113.

32.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 266.

33.  Ibid., I, 266.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 26:]

34.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 266.

35.  George Combe, Lectures, p. 213.

36.  Ibid., p. 214.

37.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 268.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 27:]

38.  Complete Poems and Stories, II, 637-638.

39.  Ibid., I, 478.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 28:]

40.  Complete Poems and Stories, II, 638.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 29:]

41.  Dunglison, op. cit., pp. 668-669.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 30:]

42.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 153.

43.  George Combe, The Constitution of Man, pp. 38-42.

44.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 153.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 31:]

45.  Rush, op. cit., II, 57.

46.  The Family Physician (New York: Greeley & Winchester, 1834), p. 73.

47.  Poe, SLM II (Nov., 1836), 785.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 32:]

48.  Dunglison, op. cit., pp. 668-669.

49.  Dunglison, op. cit., pp. 653, 668-669.

50.  Arthur Hobson Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography (New York: Appleton-Century Co., 1941), p. 470.

51.  Complete Poems and Stories, II, 660.

52.  Ibid., II, 657.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 33:]

53.  Dunglison, op. cit., p. 376.

54.  Ibid., p. 879.

55.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 230.

56.  Ibid., I, 230.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 34:]

57.  The Family Physician, pp. 53-54.

58.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 263.

59.  Ibid., I, 273.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 35:]

60.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 272, 276.

61.  Ibid., I, 266.

62.  Ibid., I, 264.

63.  Ibid., I, 274.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 37:]

64.  Rush, op. cit., I, 200-201.

65.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 147.

66.  Rush, op. cit., I, 156-157.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 38:]

67.  Complete Poems and Stories, II, 694.

68.  Ibid., I, 195-204.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 39:]

69.  Dunglison, op. cit., p. 562.

70.  A. H. Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography, p. 213.

71.  Edgar Allan Poe, “Berenice,” Southern Literary Messenger I (March, 1835), 335.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 40:]

72.  Carrol D. Laverty, “Science and Psuedo-Science in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe (unpublished Duke University Ph.D. disseration, 1951), p. 92n.

73.  Rush, op. cit., IV, 148.

74.  The Family Physician, p. 39.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 41:]

75.  The Complete Works, XIV, 167-168.

76.  Rush, op. cit., III, 217.

77.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 264-265.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 42:]

78.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 411.

79.  Ibid., I, 411.

80.  Laverty, op. cit., p. 184.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 43:]

81.  Rush, op. cit., I, 5.

82.  Ibid., I, 48.

83.  Ibid., I, 51.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 44:]

84.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 364.

85.  Dunglison, op. cit., p. 596.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 45:]

86.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 154:

And when my spirit departs shall the child live — thy child and mine, Morella’s. . . . She turned away her face upon the pillow and a slight tremor coming over her limbs, she thus died, and I heard her voice no more.

Yet, as she had foretold, her child, to which in dying she had given birth, which breathed not until the mother breathed no more, her child, a daughter, lived. — “Morella.”

87.  Rush, op. cit., I, 16.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 46:]

88.  Complete Poems and Stories, II, 256.

89.  Dunglison, op. cit., p. 533.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 47:]

90.  Goldsmith, op. cit., p. 51.

91.  Dunglison, op. cit., p. 533.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 48:]

92.  Dods, op. cit., pp. 30-32.

93.  Lind, op. cit., pp. 1077-1094.

94.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 514. Also Poe, SLM II (March, 1836), 287.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 49:]

95.  Complete Poems and Stories, I, 515-516.

96.  Ibid., I, 520.

97.  Ibid., I, 521.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 50:]

98.  Rush, op. cit., I, 54.

99.  Ibid., I, 50-54.

100.  Dods, op. cit., pp. 18-19.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 51:]

101.  Dods, op. cit., pp. 226-227.

102.  Rush, op. cit., pp. 50-54.

103.  Complete Poems and Stories, II, 545-548.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 52:]

104.  Lind, op. cit., p. 1087.

105.  Ibid., p. 1090.

106.  Ibid., p. 1085.

107.  Ibid., p. 1091.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 53:]

108.  Complete Poems and Stories, II, 656.

109.  Ibid., II, 662-663.







[S:0 - ENCMPSS, 1966] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Early Nineteenth-Century Medicine in Poe's Short Stories - Chapter II: Medicine in the Short Stories (D. E. E. Sloane, 1966)