College of Arts and Sciences

Department of English

ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance

Daneen Wardrop

"Quoting the Signifier 'Nevermore': Fort! Da!, Pallas, and Desire in Language"

"Quoting the Signifier 'Nevermore': Fort! Da!,Pallas, and Desire in Language" aligns Edgar Allan Poe's "Raven" with Freud's understanding of the dynamic of the game of Fort! Da!,by which a child attempts to recuperate the absence of the mother. In conjunction with Freud's dynamic, Lacan understands the recognition of the mother's absence as that which launches the need for the Name-of-the-Father, thus designating the beginnings of language. "The Raven" anticipates Freudian and Lacanian precepts in that it showcases the possibility of the speaker's gaining entry into the birthsite of language through the auspices of the raven as father. The raven's signifier, "Nevermore," holds, in oxymoronic resonances, the promise of entry into the chainings of signification, the challenge of the speaker being the attempt to repeat the signifier in order to accomplish such a birth.

Department of English, PO Box 645020, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5020, 509-335-2581. Contact ESQ