Abstract

This article examines the impact of Schelling’s philosophy, especially his concept of the Absolute, on two of Poe’s tales: “Morella” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” It begins with a focused overview of Schelling’s chief doctrines, in particular his famous system of identity, and because this system was forged under the influence of Spinoza’s monism, the revival of the Dutch philosopher’s ideas in post-Kantian German philosophy is also briefly discussed. The article expands on one of the outcomes of this philosophy at the turn of the nineteenth century, namely, the perceived deficiency of philosophical and scientific inquiry and the ensuing privileging of art. As has been recognized, this shift had a direct bearing on emerging Romantic aesthetics, and its emphasis on the symbol as a way of conveying the inexpressible, of revealing the conceptually ungraspable. Both the Romantic theory of the symbol and Schelling’s idea of the Absolute provide a conceptual framework for understanding the philosophical resonances of “Morella” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.”

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