What would the history of American literature look like if Edgar Allan Poe's fascinating, bizarre, depressingly racist 1838 novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket were placed at its center? Such is the gambit of Cindy Weinstein's absorbing and imaginative new study, Time, Tense, and American Literature. For Weinstein, Pym's trip to the South Pole represents “a journey in and through time” as much as through space, a journey in which the boundaries between past, present, and future begin to break down (41). This collapse of temporal logic offers a template, Weinstein suggests, for a series of American novels from periods as different as the late eighteenth century and the early twenty-first. Weinstein's unlikely term for this Poe-centered tradition, tempo(e)rality, is not one I imagine being widely adopted, but her ability to find correspondences between seemingly very different novels...

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