English Language and Literature ETDs

Publication Date



It is the purpose of this study to examine a particular set of closely related physical and mental states of characters and special states of nature found in the imaginative works of Edgar Allan Poe. I have found it most convenient to refer to these conditions as states of suspended decay, through other critics have used various terms such as suspended animation, life-in-death, or the suspended death-in-life or life-in-death of reverie to distinguish what seems to be essentially the same phenomenon in Poe’s works Although it is difficult to settle upon a term, suspended decay is perhaps the most inclusive of the entire range of states or conditions which one feels are intimately related and which therefore should be grouped and examined together. It is also the term which perhaps best expresses the particular fascination of these states for readers. The term suspended animation, for instance, is too abstract and general and furthermore omits the inorganic examples of suspended decay; and the suspended death-in-life or life-in-death of reverie omit all images which deal with non-sentient od suspended decay.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Ernest Warren Baughman

Second Committee Member

George Warren Arms

Third Committee Member

Joseph Marshall Kuntz



Document Type