By Frank Gaynor
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Surely the work in which these particular devices are most prominent is "The Tell-Tale Poe's Stylistic Versatility 19 Heart," and it remains for me to briefly analyse that piece to defend those and other foregrounded stylistic features — features that must be considered insufferably obnoxious to readers hostile to Poe's prose. In "Paranoid Schizophrenia in 'The Tell-Tale Heart'" (see appendix 2), I demonstrate that the narrator suffers from several symptoms of that disease: the superstitiousness of the prodromal phase and, of the active phase, hallucinations, a lack of insight, delusions of grandeur and of persecution, shifts of mood, wrong and/or inappropriate emotions, violence, anxiety, anger, argumentativeness - all being manifested within the expected time-span according to current psychoanalytical findings.
Jefferson regularly invited some of the students to dine with him at Monticello [but see Bittner, 45], and Poe must have met him on several social and academic occasions" (22). Not only did the young Poe have the example of contemporary orators such as Jefferson ("Old Man Eloquent") constantly in front of him but his formal education acquainted him as well with the great rhetoricians of the past. When a young scholar in England, Poe attended John Bransby's school at Stoke Newington, where he learned Latin, so important for a knowledge of ancient rhetoric.
Again, the repetitiousness, intensified by the italics, emphasizes the narrator's mounting frenzy, quite at odds with the calmness with which he had promised to tell the story. " As with every other feature of Poe's best writing, the overuse of the dash is not accidental. In his Marginalia Poe discourses at surprising length on punctuation and on the usefulness of this particular feature. Unlike Melville, who seems to know nothing about the proper use of punctuation, certainly the semicolon, Poe was very reflective: "That punctuation is important all agree; but how few comprehend the extent of its importance!