This article explores the relationship between reader and narrative purpose in Poe's “Mesmeric Revelation,” arguing that this relationship bears resemblance to altered-state theories of hypnosis. It challenges predictable interpretations to open a new avenue for understanding the art of fiction. Primary emphasis is given to the reduced peripheral awareness experienced by readers. The cultivation of this focused attention, according to Poe's “The Philosophy of Composition,” is essential for creating effective artistic products.

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