Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Karem, Frederick

Subject Headings

Poe, Edgar Allan, 1809-1849 -- Criticism and interpretation, Satire, American -- History and criticism, Parody in literature -- History and criticism, Edgar Allan Poe, Poe, The narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, Pym, hoax, satire


The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym stands out among Edgar Allan Poe's body of work as his only novel. It also stands out in the fact that it has received comparatively little attention from scholars, owing at least in part to the idea that it is a literary failure on Poe's part. Analysis reveals quite the contrary, however, as the novel is not a disjointed narrative masquerading as travel literature, but rather it is a satire of the genre of travel literature. Poe was driven to write the novel at the behest of his publisher, who also encouraged Poe to plagiarize "authentic" travel literature for his own narrative in order to create a more saleable product. Poe borrowed heavily from Benjamin Morrell's A Narrative of Four Voyages and fashioned his own novel as a satire of Morrell's reportedly true account. I argue that Poe's novel contains elements of hoax, satire, and parody and was written to satirize a genre of literature that Poe originally had no interest in pursuing