Text: Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV, “Eleonora: Poe and Madness,” Poe and His Times: The Artist and His Milieu, Baltimore: The Edgar Allan Poe Society, 1990, pp. 178-188 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 178, unnumbered:]



The topic of madness and Edgar Allan Poe places him rather more within than without mainstreams in nineteenth-century cultural contexts. Some biographers opine that he was bad, mad, and altogether sad. These traditions originated in the author’s own hints, furthered by his contemporaries. Henry B. Hirst’s mild portrait of weird Poe was made lurid via the Griswold alembic. Poe’s supposed personal insanity, direct and sans varnishing, was lampooned by Thomas Dunn English: “[Poe] can do nothing in the common way . . . If we ever caught him doing a thing like anybody else, or found him reading a book any other way than upside down, we would implore his friends to send for a straight jacket, and a Bedlam doctor. He were mad, then, to a certainty.”(1) Takeoffs upon Poe the crazed drunkard, debaucher, and dabbler in literary matters have mushroomed over many years. Of course, from my own memories of a graduate school professor’s observations that madness dogged certain eighteenth-century British writers, such as Swift, Cowper, Blake, and Chatterton — and, moreover, that it infused their writings with whatever value they possessed — and from our more general recollections of Michel Foucault’s theory that during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the lazar house was supplanted by the madhouse for purposes of conveying an aura of haunted places, we need not wonder that Poe’s own attentiveness to madness was repeatedly stimulated.(2)

We should remember, however, while keeping an eye on such potentially exciting backgrounds, that Poe knew much about scientific exploration of deranged mental states — particularly as they came to him via the medical information disseminated by the renowned Philadelphia doctor, Benjamin Rush.(3) An unmistakable preoccupation with diseased minds pervades Poe’s works, and that interest must also influence his readers, if we are to judge, say, by the appearance of “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Raven” — plus a host of other pieces in which distorted or disintegrating psyches tend to surface, whatever additional implications may be at work — as perennial anthology favorites. Tales of, and by, crazed characters were, of course, commonplace in Poe’s time.

Poe’s more than cursory interest in insanity is evident as well in his critical pronouncements, for example in reviews of Robert Montgomery Bird’s Sheppard Lee and William Gilmore Simms’s The Partisan (H9: 126-139; 8: 143-157). Poe levels strictures at Simms’s [page 179:] revolting details in describing maniac Frampton’s murdering a victim by drowning. Poe’s own perception that madness and creative artistry draw near in many cases and his dictum (set forth in “How to Write a Blackwood Article”) that “sensations are the great things after all,” are consistent — because they emphasize the intangible and the emotional — with his denigration of Simms’s horrifics.

I wish to concentrate on “Eleonora,” a tale in which madness tantalizes us. We find few extended critiques of this piece, although in its own day it gained attention from piratical editors (M2: 638). Resemblances to Saint-Pierre’s Paul et Virginie, to Walter Scott’s The Betrothed and to Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” have been cited, as has a likeness to Platonic allegory of the twin Venuses.(4) Not long ago, I. M. Walker was content to observe that it is a “morbidly sentimental” tale (p. 29). Critics have usually centered on the romantic elements in “Eleonora,” giving credence to themes of passionate love, albeit with a slant toward the triumph of the spiritual over the fleshly. I would add that the general drift in the tale resembles what we find in one of Shakespeare’s comedies. The common theme is that when passionate, sexual relationships (or at least the desire for sexual consummation is strong) lead from fantasies into marriage and its tempering responsibilities, a couple has moved toward genuine, fully developed love. Benton reasonably points out that Ermengarde, the earthly Venus (representing married love) balances the high-flown, unrestrained feelings engendered in the narrator by his love for Eleonora, the heavenly Venus.

“Eleonora” was at the printer of The Gift for 1842 (where it first appeared) in late February 1841, so Poe had probably completed it at about the close of 1840. The date might in part place this tale as one more counter to charges of “Germanism” that had piqued him sufficiently to prompt his rejoinder in the “Preface” to Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, published late in 1839. (For “German,” we of a later generation substitute “supernatural” or “Gothic.”) Poe’s earlier love tales, in which violence and supernaturalism seemed to contribute substantially to tragic outcomes, are reversed in “Eleonora.” This tale does more than conclude with the death of a formidable woman that in its turn leaves the lover (who is also the narrator) emotionally overwhelmed. Any terror and passion here are, to be sure, not simple “German” sleaziness. Poe, moreover, possibly enjoyed some fun in publishing “Eleonora.” Perhaps it out-romanticizes the romantic fiction of his times, but that feature in no way prevents it from simultaneously yielding soberer import. Poe’s notions of literary fun, as we know, were seldom without a serious tinge. He himself reviewed The Gift in which “Eleonora” first came out [Graham’s, 19(November 1841), 249], commenting that the ending was imperfect [page 180:] and that in general he deemed it “a good subject spoiled by hurry in the handling.” Therefore my critique must encompass matters related to his revisions. “Eleonora” reappeared, revised, in the Broadway Journal, 24 May 1845, and the differences between this and The Gift version repay a consideration. Those changes bear out Poe’s habit of heightening intangibility within a literary work to enrich emotional or psychological texture. Consistently, he tends to minimize or to eliminate the characters’ physical features. These methods, in the end, modify ordinary cardboard Gothic figures and their melodramatic actions and dialogue into more sophisticated art.


One of Poe’s customary unnamed “I” narrators opens “Eleonora” with information concerning himself, which also offers a spirited, if equivocating, defense of madness, and which hints, probably in irony, that he himself is mad. We might suppose that Poe had been reading Charles Lamb, who could never divorce himself from the insanity in his family, when he came to creating a storyteller for “Eleonora.” To his friend Coleridge, Lamb had written a long letter, in June 1796, relating how lunacy had overtaken him, without wholly negative effects: “For while it lasted I had many happy hours of pure happiness. Dream not . . . of having tasted all the grandeur & wildness of Fancy, till you have gone mad. All now seems to me vapid; comparatively so . . . .” Poe, perhaps, encountered this letter in the Talfourd edition of Lamb’s correspondence (1837).(5) Direct influence or no — and Poe knew Lamb’s works — such sentiments echo in the words of Poe’s character: “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence — whether much that is glorious — whether all that is profound — does not spring from disease of thought — from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect. They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night” (M2: 638). The second paragraph begins with the narrator’s establishing latitude that enables us to entertain multiple perspectives in interpreting his tale: “We will say, then, that I am mad.” Thus he can be held to no strict account for introducing fantastic elements.

In dreamlike manner, and in dense, incantatory prose, he recalls his youthful, innocent, love affair with his cousin Eleonora amidst natural, unrestrained surroundings (which led to their sexual initiation); the circumstances involved with her decline toward death and his vow never to marry “any daughter of Earth”; Eleonora’s decease; his eventual infatuation and marriage with Ermengarde; and Eleonora’s blessing of their union. Although this chronicle of the passionate young couple’s [page 181:] maturing in the fantastic Valley of the Many-Colored Grass and the narrator’s later remove into urban environs may indeed seem like so much lunatic gush because of lyrical tone and lush description, a more significant drift seems to underlie “Eleonora.” Poe weights the fiction with symbolic suggestion to achieve that “undercurrent of meaning” he championed in his critical pronouncements (and embodied in his imaginative work). The ambiguities enveloping madness in the tale have elicited divergent readings by Richard Wilbur and Joan Dayan. Wilbur sees the narrator as a visionary, one who produces a poetic effect throughout the tale akin to what Poe elsewhere would term the “rhythmical creation of Beauty.” We should, thinks Wilbur, respond to “Eleonora” as a work in which we identify with the narrator (who is no mere madman) in a quest after supernal beauty. Dayan, conversely, detects in “Eleonora” a skepticism toward ideas of transcendence into realms of spirit. In the conclusion, the narrator makes us intensely crave matter in any of several meanings of that word.(6) What I provide below is intended as a supplement to their readings. Actual madness in the narrator is not the issue as much as portraiture of a mind extremely sensitive to universal human experiences — a repeated feature in Poe’s writings.

In revising “Eleonora” Poe removed the subtitle, “A Fable,” possibly calculating on diminishing whatever unrealities or implausibilities such phrasing could imply (and he had previously used that same subtitle for his prose tale “Silence”). Adding a motto in 1845 — “Sub conservatione formae specificae salva anima (Under the protection of a specific form, my soul is safe)” — from Raymond Lull, or Lully, Poe centralizes the fine line dividing concrete from abstract. That unstable border permeates “Eleonora.” In like fashion, he revised an earlier tale, “The Assignation,” so that what might have initially appealed to readers intent on seduction themes now stands as a subtle rendering of the life-art dualism, intensified in symbolism of sexual creativity being mingled with artistic endeavor.(7) The “specific form” in the later tale, which in form and theme seems almost a reworking of “The Assignation,” signifies Eleonora herself, and here Poe embodies a deft bit of artistry. The heroine’s name derives from Helen (as do others among Poe’s gallery of female characters), which means “light.” Presumably the narrator-lover — that dreamer by day as well as by night — enters the “Vast ocean of the ‘light ineffable’,” which is her love, in all its ramifications. Just as important, implicitly, The Gift text began: “I am come of a race noted for vigor of fancy and ardor of passion. Pyrros is my name.” The second sentence was probably expunged on two grounds. First, Pyrros derives from the Greek words “fire” and “ardent.” Maybe a too obvious lighting of his sexual fire is deliberately muted, and we are thus directed to witness the protagonist’s [page 182:] ardor elsewise. Second, such a name might bring to mind Pyrrho of Ellis (c. 300 B.C.), whose name became synonymous with universal doubt and unalterable skepticism (M2: 645). Surely Poe’s protagonist was not intended to evince absolute qualities from either of these choices. Instead of being a nihilist, he becomes an everyman type — one whose experiences make him compelling because of a beguiling ambiguity established via his unspecified identity. The name in the original, however, may have hinted that readers should proceed with decided skepticism through the tale. Richard P. Benton alerts us to ironies pervading this seemingly lush decorative prose. One feels the force of his theory when the narrator remarks: “We will say, then, that I am mad,” adding that his psyche contains two “distinct conditions”(M2: 638). What an adroit escape clause! A like awareness of audience may occasion changes in the narrator’s speech about readers’ playing the Sphinx or Oedipus in order to accept part two of the tale. Fear of doubting his words (“dare not”), which would entail acting the Sphinx, or long-time destroyer of humankind, transforms into certainty of not doubting (“cannot”) as the hearers assume the role of Oedipus, destroyer of the Sphinx and her savagery.

This lover-narrator, we must also remember, resembles the protagonist in another of Poe’s love tales, “Ligeia.” Their descent from characters in the works of Ossian and Byron (M2: 635) bequeaths them poses of the readily acquired jadedness of youth, insofar as worldly experiences go, along with what appears like the muddle-headedness of senile age. Therefore, crystal-clear recollections of the far-away past merge with an incapacity to respond comprehendingly to recent events. The repetitions throughout “Eleonora” could also mime wandering speech coupled with faulty memory. Several textual changes reinforce my hypothesis. What first read as “And the margin of the river” is abbreviated to “The margin of the river,” thus eliminating a run-on construction that might emanate from aged garrulity. The word will not be put out of mind, though; another change, from “brinks” to “margins,” maintains repetitiveness as it eliminates imperfect diction. Eleonora’s revelation of concerns about her lover’s destiny after she dies gains no particular strength from occurring on “one still evening,” and Poe, rightly, deleted “still” (M2: 639, 642). Insertion of one word alone can intensify meaning, however, instead of suggesting rambling discourse. Commenting how their first sexual experience had left them speechless, the lover in 1842 spoke thus: “We spoke no words during the rest of that sweet day; and our words upon the morrow were tremulous and few” (M2: 640). Turning the phrase into “even upon the morrow,” Poe impresses us with the impact of the young couple’s feelings. Thus, in these workbench tactics, we witness a conscious author taking away here, adding there, as occasion warrants, to produce [page 183:] the best in literary art. As advances beyond his experiments, in the Folio-Club tales, with narrators who speak and act as they do from promptings of drunkenness or extreme gluttony, such storytellers as those in “Ligeia” and “Eleonora” hesitate, doubt, halt, qualify, and restate in their expression — and thus they felicitously mate sound with sense.

The “Eleonora” narrator debates the perimeters of madness and dreaming, concluding that madness constitutes the “loftiest intelligence,” which in the original had been a less forcible “loftier.” Such occupation with mental planes is strengthened in Poe’s recasting a phrase, “the dreamers by night,” into “those who dream only by night,” thereby instilling dramatic vitality into what we would otherwise read as trite phrasing. Several more revisions reinforce the narrator’s fair scope as mental geographer. The Valley of Many-Colored Grass originally “lay singularly far away” from normal habitation. Locating it just “far away” — and thus eliminating one of Poe’s favorite words — replaces inessential foreboding with improved diction. Another telling alteration occurs when we read that instead of “a vague shadow” gathering over the lover’s brain after Eleonora’s death, the “vague” departs and with it go wordiness and redundancy that in so short a tale take away from the narrator’s character because of faulty diction — surely not his mode of expression. When, after the shock of Eleonora’s death, he comes round in “a strange Eastern city,” we find a cliché of literary-annual Orientalism. Revising it as “a strange city,” Poe shifts from gift-book toward interior landscape, the primary setting here. Likewise in “Silence — A Fable,” he condensed “old tomb at Balbec” into the nonspecific “tomb” (M2: 199). The emphasis in both tales goes to psychological effects rather than to geographic places. So strange a city as the one where Eleonora’s lover “finds himself” (i. e., matures), appropriately contains “pomps and pageantries of a stately court, and the mad clangor of arms, and the radiant loveliness of woman,” which “bewildered and intoxicated my brain.” Because of the shock he sustains in consequence of Eleonora’s death, his lack of coherence is understandable, and thus such imprecise locale functions more plausibly than any designated spot could. Unlike his contemporary, Tennyson, who generally used character as a vehicle for projecting imagined topography, Poe seems to make description illuminate character in “Eleonora.” Like Swinburne, rather, he subsumes sharp details to create heightened moods.(8)

In keeping with these deliberate attempts to maintain in “Eleonora” a genuine mental texture, as opposed to another Gothic outpouring for entertainment’s sake alone, Poe pruned two heavy-handed references to the narrator’s emotions, thereby making the character’s ambiguous craziness less of a vehicle for cheap thrills and more of a means for [page 184:] probing depths in a complex psyche. Left alone upon Eleonora’s death, the narrator had “longed — I madly pined for the love which had before filled it [his heart] to overflowing.” Removing “I madly pined” obliterates an ungainly give-away (and triteness) while strengthening the speaker’s credibility. The 1842 description of the narrator’s meeting with Ermengarde involves his “madness, and the glow, and the fervour, and the spirit-stirring ecstasy of adoration” — just the sort of high-flown and overdone verbiage that too often marred Gothic fiction. In the 1845 version, the lover experiences “the fervor, and the delirium, and the spirit-lifting ecstasy of adoration,” and we also read what register as understandable, if nonrational, feelings. He thus attains greater spirituality. His comment that, in recounting the second part of his story, “I mistrust the perfect sanity of the record,” aligns with these emotions because he may or may not allude to actual madness. That he would be prostrated by Eleonora’s death and therefore unreliable in his reportage, we would not question. His feelings of loss and isolation are heightened in another textual change — dropping the specific reference to Eleonora’s mother living with him in the valley. Such a change makes us think of him concentrating on his grief, a grief that would perforce make him feel as if nobody else had ever experienced such loss and lonesomeness as his own. We are given dramatic renditions of what might be lunacy, but what with equal force may be universal sentiments connected with stunning bereavement. Emotion at a high, but not therefore absolutely mad, pitch is brought forward. This theme is carried into the second part of the narrative. For what he describes as “the passion I had once felt” for Eleonora, we read, as the final recasting, “my passion.” The lover’s feeling is not supposed to evince such limits as the 1842 text may impose.

Excising two lengthy passages that describe the physical appearances of Eleonora and Ermengarde — as rather similar versions of the same luscious, auburn-haired charmer — Poe deepens psychological dimension. Thus he removes “Eleonora” from the often near-pornographic entertainment of many other Gothics in his era (and our own). He presents us, finally, with no Liliths or other femmes fatales, whose reddish hair might too readily single them out as creatures of Satan. What he substitutes for visual enticement is a pair of symbolic women as centers of the narrator’s affections.


Poe’s changes in “Eleonora” show his ideas about madness. Brief as the tale is, its intense tone and structure resemble those in lyric poems; therefore any revision accumulates importance. We are left, in the final version, with a careful reworking of what could be another [page 185:] Gothic story featuring stereotypical, shallow characters in lurid situations. The narrator’s initial irony (leaving to us the choice of envisioning him as mad or sane, and, therefore, whether his story reveals credibility or insane hallucination) is constantly buttressed by Poe’s conscious art. The shift from pastoral, unsophisticated and unrestrained existence, through sexual awakening (which in itself enforces the maturing process) and death (of youthful inexperience) toward a renewed and more substantial emotional life (in which the city represents experience), is managed through hypnotic, dream-like cadences. The city itself suggests aspects of ordered, solacing containment, in contrast to Poe’s more usual imprisoning, negative motifs.

Structure dovetails with the innocence-experience theme. The tale in final form extends to sixteen paragraphs. Of these, the longer units convey the narrator’s good feelings and raptures, and the shorter ones deftly coalesce in form with his emotional turmoil, loss, and doubt. Within the second major section that same form reappears, but with this difference: following the tale-teller’s lengthy, and lyrical, paragraph that delineates his fumbles with psychic jolts, come two brief paragraphs of pleasant details that depict his union with Ermengarde. Their brevity itself accelerates the return of his dreaming or hallucinating (as well as our ties to them) once again toward ordered existence. Overall, the experiential journey, regardless of how its hallucinatory elements may promote different views, has proved beneficial. The Victorian poet Coventry Patmore was fascinated by what he called “the point of rest” in art, something to which the eye turns for repose, for restoration of internal and external harmony as a stay against confusion. Patmore illustrated his theory by referring to Shakespeare’s plays, especially those in which mad, or near-mad characters sought such repose. It may be “trivial, even comic . . . but it has an importance outside itself.”(9) Thus the Valley of Many-Colored Grass in “Eleonora” may function as a symbolic ideal rather than a solely fantastic Oriental setting. The narrator resembles a Poe character of perhaps greater fame who is also thought mad by some onlookers: C. Auguste Dupin. As that worthy’s personality mingles the poet, or intuitive being, with the mathematician, or rational, scientific being, so the dreamer in “Eleonora” details vignettes of love-in-the-growing with a methodology that allows him to highlight sexual and emotional suggestions with no offense to censors or other readers. The stories of both men are indeed replete with wonders, and so the presumption that madness may stimulate their weird situations is understandable.

Poe’s analogies between the lunatic and the dreamer-artist are effectively demonstrated in “Eleonora.” His revisions point consistently to his intentional establishment of ambiguity as regards [page 186:] madness. It may be dangerous, as the general interpretation would have it. It may instead promote genius and artistic creativity. Studied turns to an interior landscape and nonconcrete terminology indicate that we encounter no simple Gothic tale of the otherworldly. The “Eleonora” narrator indeed reveals how his vigorous “fancy” (or emotions) rather than his “ardor of passion” (physical-sexual) girds his narrative. From a writer who has often been labeled mad or weird, such art is “Po-etic” justice. His narrator’s expression, in its disjointedness — but a compelling disjointedness — adumbrates that which gives life to the works of Joyce, Faulkner, and other later writers who attempt to concretize emotional upheaval in process through the medium of the printed page. Poe’s narrator may indeed be an actor, on stage, as it were, before us. In such context, Foucault notes that the nineteenth-century public often watched madmen as actors, performing for the amusement of the onlookers (pp. 68-70). He who tells the tale of Eleonora may be aware that he is acting. Thus he may supply readers with what they want in the sense of popular entertainment, all the while ironically insinuating a more serious context. A like spectacle informs “The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether,” for in engaging that tale, we, like the ingenuous narrator who visits a madhouse, only to have his anticipations turned inside out, are manipulated into pondering distinctions between lunacy and rationality. The dreamer-lover in “The Assignation” also comes to mind in this context. His story allows for many interpretations.

Clever Poe, the attentive literary craftsman, keeps readers alert as he manipulates the narrator’s guidance of our journey through the consciously wrought language in “Eleonora.” The narrator’s expression could indeed be the “eloquent madness” Poe mentions elsewhere.(10) We might term the rhetoric in Poe’s tale a prettified Germanism, but this beautification carries with it an artistic freight. Like another ancient mariner, and one who is “neither the nihilist nor the Pollyanna,”(11) Poe’s storyteller gives us pause to think. His outspoken direction of our attention to madness is couched in terms that place the burden of deciding for or against his madness with us. Analogous tightrope walking occurs in Number 23 in “Fifty Suggestions,” written in 1849, when Poe was still mulling the ramifications of mental abnormality. Joy Wiltenburg’s study of ambiguous madness in popular balladry may shed light on Poe’s techniques. Long before he probed the ambivalences of sanity and insanity, others had approached those phenomena unsure of which treatment was better, a grave or a comic stance. Convincing presentations of love-madness were the most difficult of all to render. Poe’s customary confessional narrator-protagonist in “Eleonora” has obviously been greatly affected by his past. However, his account of that past, as he realizes, is subject to [page 187:] unkind responses. As a result, although he must tell his tale, like Coleridge’s ancient mariner, he leaves us with all the truth, but truth that is “slant,” as Emily Dickinson had it. Once more, we may appropriately gloss Poe’s art by alluding to that of his popular contemporary, Tennyson, who probed connections among “dreams, madness, and the laws of the will [because] he recognized the dangers of such a connection.” Poe’s “Eleonora” narrator, who might with ease step into “Locksley Hall,” “Maud” (very much in the vein of late nineteenth-century Gothicism), or certain of the Arthurian idylls, where he would find company among lover-characters of equally doubtful mental conditions, also registers these ambivalences.(12) These poems, among many others, demonstrate how madness makes for fascinating art that is not exclusively a literature of statement. Little wonder, then, that Poe informs “Eleonora” with equivocations and inconclusiveness.

[page 187, continued:]


1.  Hirst, “Edgar Allan Poe,” M’Makin’s Model American Courier, 20 October 1849, p. 2; English, “Notes about Men of Note,” April 1845 Aristidean — 1: 153; rpt. Edgar Allan Poe: The Critical Heritage, ed. Ian Walker (London and New York, 1986), pp. 168-168.

2.  Madness & Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, transl. Richard Howard (New York, 1965), Ch. 1.

3.  David E. E. Sloane, “Gothic Romanticism and Rational Empiricism in Poe’s ‘Berenice’,” ATQ, 19(1972), 19-26; Richard P. Benton, “Bedlam Patterns”: Love and the Idea of Madness in Poe’s Fiction (Baltimore, 1979), pp. 3-15.

4.  Sinclair Snow, “The Similarity of Poe’s ‘Eleonora’ to Bernardin de Saint-Pierre’s Paul et Virginie,” Romance Notes, 5(1963), 40-44; Burton R. Pollin, “Poe’s Use of the Name Ermengarde in ‘Eleonora’,” N&Q, 215(1970), 332-333; Sam S. Baskett, “A Damsel with a Dulcimer: An Interpretation of Poe’s ‘Eleonora’,” MLN, 73(1958), 332-338; Richard P. Benton, “Platonic Allegory in Poe’s ‘Eleonora’,” NCF, 22(1967), 293-297.

5.  The Letters of Charles and Mary Anne Lamb, ed. Edwin W. Marrs, Jr. (Ithaca and London, 1975), 1: 18-19.

6.  Wilbur’s “Introduction” to the Print Club of Cleveland edition of “Eleonora” (1979) sets forth his views. Dayan’s appear in Fables of Mind: An Inquiry into Poe’s Fiction (New York, Oxford, 1987), pp. 210-223. [page 188:]

7.  See my “To ‘The Assignation’ from ‘The Visionary’ and Poe’s Decade of Revising,” LC, 39(1973), 85-109; 40(1976), 121-151.

8.  See my “The Power of Words in Poe’s ‘Silence’,” Poe at Work; Seven Textual Studies (Baltimore, 1978), pp. 56-72; Gerhard J. Joseph, “Poe and Tennyson,” PMLA, 88(1973), 421. Tennyson did not restrict himself to the technique Joseph mentions, however. Sometimes, particularly in “Maud,” he made externals a rallying-point for mad characters. They furnished stabilization amidst the “contemplation of unending process,” according to Humphrey House, All in Due Time (London, 1955), p. 129.

9.  E. J. Oliver, Coventry Patmore (New York, 1956), pp. 176

10.  Richard Fusco, “Poe and the Perfectibility of Man,” PoeS, 19(1986), 1-6, fn14.

11.  Dean R. Koontz, “A Genre in Crisis,” Proteus, 6(1989), 4.

12.  Wiltenburg, “Madness and Society in the Street Ballads of Early Modern England,” JPC, 21(1988), 101-127. See also Ann C. Colley, Tennyson and Madness (Athens, Ga., 1983), p. 127; and Paull F. Boom, Tennyson Sixty Years After (Chapel Hill, 1948), pp. 136-140, 310.





[S:1 - PHT, 1990] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Lectures - Poe and His Times - Eleonora: Poe and Madness (B. F. Fisher IV, 1990)