Poe was born in 1809. His father disappeared when he
was 18 months old; his pretty and childlike mother died of consumption
about a year later. He was brought up by foster-parents, and he was
neither legally adopted nor later left any money by his foster-father.
He married his cousin Virginia when he was 26 and she was 13 and already
sickening; she died of consumption some 10 years after their marriage.
Poe died at the age of 40, after a life of poverty, debts, drink,
drugs and depression, having completed a considerable mass of essays, poems
B's basic contention is that Poe was a necrophilic, someone for whom
corpses have an erotic attraction (necrophilia being a pathological extension
of the part played by normal mourning, when the mourner for a time refuses
to accept the event). Bonaparte argues that Poe, through a fixation
on his mother, was condemned to an eternal fidelity. He remains physically
faithful to her, his first love, by marrying an ailing cousin and thus
sparing himself the need to consummate the marriage. She takes [the
characters] as father-, mother- and sister- figures which have made their
way from Poe's unconscious into his tales. ...she wishes to show how repressed
feeling is transferred, via a displacement onto fictional action and objects.
"Tales of the mother": In each tale, according to B, Poe is reliving
Elizabeth Poe's last agony and death.
"Tales of the father" in which male figures become the return of the
repressed, the father who comes back to avenge Poe's imaginary parricide
Poe's fiction, according to B, embodies the wish to become reunited
with his dead mother; since this must needs be a censored wish we should
not be surprised that Poe's tales hardly read like wish-fulfillments.
She takes Poe's tales as the manifest part of the dream and believes
that, by finding associations from persons and incidents in Poe's life,
she is recovering the latent part.
To this extent her reading corresponds to the sign-system of the dream.
She shows how a manifest meaning is subverted by a latent meaning or meanings
via an associative link. The link is in the form of a trope, metaphorical
(white is like milk) or metonymic (milk is found with breast).
Objections: "Poe's narrators should not be construed as his mouthpieces;
instead they should be regarded as expressing, in 'charged' language indicative
of their internal disturbances, their own peculiarly nightmarish visions.
Poe, I contend, is conscious of the abnormalities of his narrators and
does not condone their intellectual ruses through which they strive,
only too earnestly, to justify themselves" (Gargona 1967).
One (B) is making dream encapsulate art, the other (G) is making art
encapsulate the dream.