Friday, 8 December, 2pm, Bibliothèque d’anglais, Sorbonne Université / Zoom: Stephen Rachman (Michigan State), “Pathoregimes: Poe, Pestilence, Space and Time.”

Report // Stephen Rachman, “Pathoregimes: Poe, Pestilence, Space and Time,” 8 December 2023

Sari Altschuler (Northeastern) will be respondent.

This session will take place at Sorbonne Université, Bibliothèque de l’UFR d’études anglophones (esc. G, 2è étage; entrée par le 54 rue Saint Jacques ou le 17 rue de la Sorbonne, 75005 Paris).

A Zoom link will be posted here a few days prior to the event.

Abstract: This paper examines space and time in the writings of Edgar Allan Poe that deal with pandemic disease. Recent studies of Poe in relation to place (e.g. Philip Phillips and Kennedy and McGann) have concentrated on contextualizing Poe’s oeuvre in terms of its human geographies, how places and spaces are manifested in his works, and how those works can be, in turn, mapped and re-mapped on to fictive, historical, actual, and imaginative locations. The ongoing pandemic has sensitized us anew to the ways in which Poe used cultural geography under the spatio-temporal pressures of epidemic disease. This essay will focus on the London of Poe’s “King Pest” and how it functions as a plague-induced interzone, an epicenter of epidemic disease. Through this analysis, the essay will demonstrate how miasmatic theories of pestilence drive the human geography in this story, as Poe’s language fixates upon local concentrations of loathsome decaying organic matter believed to be producing deadly disease. The essay will conclude with an examination of what Poe’s pestilential spatial logic has to teach us about modern pandemics and the meanings that pandemics produce.

Stephen Rachman is Director of the American Studies Program and Co-Director of the Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition Laboratory at Michigan State University.

He is the editor of The Hasheesh Eater by Fitz-Hugh Ludlow (Rutgers University Press). He is a co-author of the award-winning Cholera, Chloroform, and the Science of Medicine: A Life of John Snow (Oxford University Press) and the co-editor of The American Face of Edgar Allan Poe (Johns Hopkins University Press). He has written numerous articles on Poe, literature and medicine, cities, popular culture, and an award-winning Web site on Sunday school books for the Library of Congress American Memory Project. He is a past president of the Poe Studies Association and currently completing a study of Poe entitled The Jingle Man: Edgar Allan Poe and the Problems of Culture.


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Heure: 8 déc. 2023 01:30 PM Paris

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Citer ce billet
Thomas Constantinesco (2023, 20 novembre). Friday, 8 December, 2pm, Bibliothèque d’anglais, Sorbonne Université / Zoom: Stephen Rachman (Michigan State), “Pathoregimes: Poe, Pestilence, Space and Time.” A19. Consulté le 21 juin 2024, à l’adresse

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A propos Thomas Constantinesco

A former student of the École normale supérieure, I hold an agrégation in English. I was appointed as Associate Professor at Université Paris Diderot in 2010 where I teach American Literature and Literary Translation. Before joining Paris Diderot, I also taught at Yale University and Keble College and Magdalen College, Oxford. Between 2014 and 2019, I was a junior research fellow at the Institut universitaire de France. From 2019 to 2021, I will be a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow in the English Faculty at the University of Oxford.

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