Nautical Gothic in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Premature Burial”


  • Sambhu R Assistant Professor of English, NSS College, Pandalam, Kerala, India


Gothic, Voyage, Sublime, Dialectics, Polysemous


Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, varied as they are and articulated from different narrative standpoints, reliable or otherwise, have an overriding thematic resemblance—they are all built upon profound and irreconcilable contradictions. They navigate the liminal zone between life and death, health and disease and sanity and madness so nimbly that there is perhaps no other American writer of Gothic fiction whose works gain so much from the deployment of such a dialectic. Apart from landward Gothic dominated by the presence of mediaeval cathedrals, castles and dungeons, Poe has penned some remarkable Nautical Gothic too. In the short story “The Premature Burial”, an example of this genre, Poe presents the dialectics between the inside and the outside as centered on the discourse of spatiality.