Poe’s Vision of Atonement: The Anthropic Principle in Eureka

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Abstract

I will focus on the imaginative contribution that Edgar Allen Poe brought to scientific debates regarding the fate of our universe. At the basis of many a nightmarish vision of apocalyptic destruction, there lies the unwillingness of the human mind to make allowance for divine intervention or to make an imaginative appeal to the soothing power of such a morally superior instance. For all his avantgardistic vision, Poe insists upon and constructs his cosmological model around the principle of a Divine Essence, which initially created the universe and which is omnipresent, being embodied and living through all God’s creatures. As the instrument to detect this force, Poe proposes intuition and, empowered by it, he is able to state “calmly” an “absolute truth” - confirmed by present-day cosmology - namely that our universe is evolving, its existence a mere cycle in the beating of the Divine Heart. The cornerstone of Poe’s visionary cosmology consists of what is known as “the anthropic principle”, which will be used in the present paper as a possible key to achieving a dialogic interface between Science and Religion at a time when such an opportunity constitutes a rather stringent necessity.

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References

  • Cappi, A., 1994. “Edgar Allen Poe’s Physical Cosmology.” QJR astr. Soc. 35, pp.177-192.

  • Poe, E. A., (1848). Eureka. Bucharest: Ed. Didactică şi Pedagogică (Trans. Maria Donose, 2005).

  • Popa R., 2005. Introduction to Eureka (Edgar Allen Poe, Ed. Didactică şi Pedagogică, Bucharest), pp. 7-17.

  • Stroe, M., 2010. “The Titanic Atom: Edgar Allen Poe’s Romantic Cosmology in Eureka.” In: University of Bucharest Review, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 81-97.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle

Ars Aeterna

Literary Studies and Humanity

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