The Duplicity of Poe: William Wilson and the Uncanny Edgar Allen Poe holds an elite position in 19th century literature. His stories of mystery and the macabre invoke sensations of the sublime and uncanny rivaled only by one other author, E.T.A. Hoffman. “William Wilson” is perhaps Poe’s most carefully crafted attempt at capturing the sensation which Freud would later characterize as “unheimlich”, or uncanny as we translate it into English. The purposes of this paper is to show how Poe’s work, “William Wilson”, uses what Freud would later define as the uncanny as a major thematic trope in his work. “I cannot better describe the sensation which oppressed me than by saying that I could with difficulty shake off the belief of my having...The end:
.....y, was certainly influenced by the aesthetic philosophy of Kant and Burke, and his writings seem to incorporate “the sublime” into their themes. Since the sublime is so similar to the later theory of the uncanny, I find it completely logical and appropriate to interpret Poe’s stories like “William Wilson” using a psychoanalytic methodology. Works Cited Freud, Sigmund. “Fetishism ,” Standard Edition of the complete Psychological Works of Freud, (London: Hogarth Press, 1963-1972). Nesbitt, Kate. “The Sublime and Modern Architecture: Unmasking (an Aesthetic of) Abstraction” in New Literary History, Vol. 26.1, The University of Virginia. Poe, Edgar Allen. “William Wilson,” Edgar Allen Poe Selected Works, (New York: Gramercy Books, 1985).