While drawing on mythology and a literary history that associated women with death as well as creativity, Edgar Allan Poe and Sylvia Plath experimented with binary oppositions such as masculine/feminine, composition/decomposition, and death/(re)birth. They gained inspiration from the same source, the dead muse, but how do they transform traditions that derive from classical and medieval literary precedent, perhaps in ways that are inherently critical of patriarchal modes of gender dynamics? Why is Poe fixated on a feminine dead muse while Plath is inspired by what she calls her “father-sea-god muse”? How do both authors represent the female body, and how do they link it to death and rebirth? This thesis centralizes the dead muse as a literary and cultural symbol through close readings of Poe and Plath that examine selected poems and key prose statements that enable their creative work to be viewed in sociosexual terms as an adventure of writing, the imagination and the human body.
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
English & Comparative Literature Department
MA in English & Comparative Literature
Committee Member 1
Tahia Abdel Nasser
Committee Member 2
Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval
Not necessary for this item
(2023).The Death and Rebirth of the Feminine Muse: Edgar Allan Poe and Sylvia Plath [Master's Thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Ibrahim, Noha. The Death and Rebirth of the Feminine Muse: Edgar Allan Poe and Sylvia Plath. 2023. American University in Cairo, Master's Thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
American Literature Commons, Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity Commons, Comparative Literature Commons, Literature in English, North America Commons, Modern Literature Commons, Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons, Rhetoric and Composition Commons, Theory and Criticism Commons