Post 5

I wanted to share an excerpt from the journal of the Goncourt Brothers. It’s a remarkable little paragraph for a couple of reasons. First, it’s fun to see a very nearly contemporary impression of Poe, and especially one from among Paris’s literary set. And then, to follow this leap from Poe into speculation about the future of literature in the twentieth century is really fun. Sure, the artist as prophet is a much overdone trope, but I find their thoughts fascinating. The entry is date 16 July, 1856:

“After reading Edgar Allen Poe. Something the critics have not noticed: a new literary world, pointing to the literature of the twentieth century. Scientific miracles, fables on the pattern A + B; a clear-sighted, sickly literature. No more poetry, but analytic fantasy. Something monomaniacal. Things playin a more important part than people; love giving way to deductions and other sources of ideas, style, subject and interest; the basis of the novel transferred from the heart to the head, from the passion to the idea, from the drama to the denouement.”

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