Event Detail

Shipwreck, Risk, and the Novel: Poe's Poetics of the Improbable


Shipwreck, Risk, and the Novel: Poe's Poetics of the Improbable

October 19, 2021
6:00 7:30 pm

PD Dr. Karin Höpker
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg


The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym is an anthology of the spectacular and has long been a source of both fascination and frustration to readers. It strings together a series of events which visit all that maritime narrative has to offer: the stowaway, a mutiny, shipwreck, a ship sailed by the dead, storms, cannibalism, castaways, and abrupt ending through the death of a fictitious author. Rather than discuss Pym as Poe's failed attempt at writing a novel, as many critics have claimed, I propose to read the text as an experiment in "unlikely probabilities": an aesthetic engagement with the newly emergent semantics of risk that marks the long nineteenth century.

Karin Hoepker is guest professor of North American Studies at Bonn University, and Privatdozentin at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Her research focuses on history of knowledge and the novel, science and fiction, aesthetics of seriality, and, in her current project, the semantics of love. She has studied, worked and researched at Vienna University, Bowdoin College, Stanford Princeton, and Indiana University, Bloomington.

For further information look at the flyer.

Online event, to be streamed via Zoom. Please register at https://www.nas.uni-bonn.de/Events

In cooperation with the North American Studies Program of the University of Bonn.