THE TRANSGRESSIVE SUBLIME IN EDGAR ALLAN POE?S "THE TELL-TALE HEART" AND ?THE IMP OF THE PERVERSE

Abstract

Author(s): F. Gül KOÇSOY

This article enquires into Edgar Allan Poe’s (1809-1849) "The Tell-Tale Heart" (1843) and "The Imp of the Perverse" (1845) in the light of the Kantian sublime. These stories of horror genre contain sublime experience; they are the mixture of horror, terror and pleasure which disturbs the human reason. They are the analyses of amoral and transgressive acts. The transgressors kill their victims obsessively and arbitrarily to construct order and beauty for themselves; their experiences of the sublime realize first through their committing murders intelligently and talentedly, and then making confessions of them. The obsessive-compulsive disorder and paranoia together stand out in the most extreme, leading to ignore the aftermaths of their actions. Both narrators assert that their urges and deeds are normal, necessary and inevitable. They experience the sublime through pleasure while doing evil which makes the reader/the perceiving subject experience the sublime at the same time, not getting pleasure but through wonder, suspense and terror. The narrators experience the sublime much later, while confessing, and make the reader undergo the sublime experience of wonder, horror, suspense and terror together, leaving him aback. The stories are the discussions about the nature of the unknown and the irresistible motives to do wrong. Using the aesthetic theory of pleasure and terror, and feeling the depths of the unconscious, Poe scrutinizes these urges. He elaborates on what lies beyond reason, the common and the worldly, that is the sublime subverting Kant’s notions about the working of human mind

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