Man as artist in Poe's cosmology



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The purpose of this study is to examine Poe's concept of man as artist functioning within the cosmological framework presented in Eureka. This examination focuses on Poe's mature concept of the artist (post-1839) as developed in his criticism, major tales of terror, tales of ratiocination, and Eureka. In Eureka Poe presents the universe as a work of art created through an act of self-diffusion by the Supreme Artist, God. The grand design of the cosmos is perfect Unity, but its present state is chaos. The existing multiplicity of forms disguises the simplicity and unity of the overall design from man. Man, as part of the diffused God, is instinctively an artist because he possesses an innate Poetic Sentiment which impels him to seek the grand design of unity behind the present disorder of the cosmos. [...]