Abstract

Recent advances in bereavement research, theory, and treatment support a broader understanding of how Poe’s traumatic, early losses affected his writing. While psychoanalytic readings have focused on the resonance of Poe’s dying mother that haunts his famous narratives about “the death of a beautiful woman,” empirical and clinical work associated with constructivist grief theory suggests that both the fascination with mystery and the ostentatious authority Poe carried across the genres he worked in can in part be traced back to a failure to reconstruct meaning that followed his mother’s death and subsequent disruptions.

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