Micah K. Donohue The Waterfall, the Whirlpool, and the Stage âBoundaries of Americannessâ in Poeâs âA Descent into the Maelstromâ . . . and sending forth to the winds an appalling voice, half shriek, half roar, such as not even the mighty cataract of Niagara ever lifts up in its agony to Heaven. âEdgar Allan Poe, âA Descent into the MaelstrÃ¶m,â 1841 Edgar Allan Poe never visited Niagara, but the falls nevertheless held âconsiderable allureâ for the writer (Pollin 497).1 He seems most impressed by the (for Poe, imagined) sound of the âmighty cataract,â and he mentions the âroaring of Niagaraâ in tales and longer works of fiction such as âThe Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaallâ (1835) and âA Descent into the MaelstrÃ¶mâ (1841). In the latter text, Poe explicitly connects the Canadian-Â merican waterfall to the Scandinavian whirlpool. He was not the first author to do so: if not a standard comparison, neither was it unheard of for nineteenth-Â entury guidebooks and travelogues to contrast Niac gara Falls with the Norwegian Rjukanfossen (described as âla plus grande et la plus remarquableâ waterfall in the world), or to compare the âtremendous whirlpoolâ of Niagara with Norwayâs âcelebrated
The Comparatist – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Nov 1, 2017
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