Thirty-Two Stories

By Edgar Allan Poe; Stuart Levine et al. | Go to book overview

THE DOMAIN OF ARNHEIM

Because it is meant to describe how artistic vision can be embodied, this piece is an excellent introduction to Poe's taste and to his aesthetic thought. Poe said that it was very important--it showed his "tastes and habits of thought. Ellison, his hero, is an inspired artist. The garden, Ellison's masterwork, is supremely beautiful, but such supernal beauty is not entirely "natural." Indeed, readers who think that Romantic aesthetics is simply a matter of "back to nature" will find "The Domain of Arnheim" surprising. Ellison's garden is downright artificial; in it one sees "scarcely a green leaf" and seems to see "rubies, sapphires, opals and golden onyxes" rolling out of the sky. Poe in fact actually uses the word "artificial." Earthly beauty as we normally find it reflects human mortality. Poe wants more than normalcy. Ellison's dreams of beauty are not tranquil or pastoral. Instead they are "fervid." They are akin to the visions, say, of the brilliant, terrified prisoner in "The Pit and the Pendulum." Ellison does not seek to restore the "original beauty of the country. The original beauty is never so great as that which may be introduced." A truly inspired artist alters nature to make it intimate the complex patterns of a seer's transcendent vision.

The result seems beautiful to the narrator, but his description of the beauty of Ellison's garden stresses complexity, strangeness, and even "funereal gloom." A key word is "arabesque." The term is important in Poe: he elaborates on it in his essay "The Philosophy of Composition" and uses it in many stories. He was familiar with theoretical writings about it, too; there are several discussions of Poe's knowledge of the Schlegels' use of "Arabesque" (Thompson 3, 4). A definition which relates arabesque design to philosophical implication is Malachi Martin's:

A central design extending in curved angular, straight patterns that in turn generate stars within circles, squares within stars, flowers and fruit and beads linked by fragile stems and stout columns and intertwining twigs that flow into Arabic lettering and double back to rejoin and repeat the central design. Color, rhythm and form tumble and twine in symmetries leading to the asymmetrical. Visual and tactile traceries taper into invisible tracks and then reappear in further traceries. Semicircles bud unexpectedly from the sides of squares. Curves interrupted by jagged points flow into empty spaces, to reappear beyond in aery ellipses as in epigrams of mystery.

Philosophically as well, "The Domain of Arnheim" is central. A good entry into Poe's thought is afforded by the passage at note 7, where Poe uses the word "materialism" in a sense not familiar to many modern readers. He had the idea that inspiration, creativity, and insight were the result ultimately of physical connections which unite the entire universe. In the second paragraph he said that Ellison was lucky to believe in "the instinctive philosophy." Human intuition was capable, in Poe's scheme, of establishing contact with the force that interconnects the world. Poe shared that idea with many Romantic

-200-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Thirty-Two Stories
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 388

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.