Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

John Young

Second Advisor

Anthony Viola

Third Advisor

John Van Kirk


The following thesis defends reading Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym as an early example of an “unnatural narrative” in American literature. Adapting unnatural narrative theory, a recent area of study in narratology developed to analyze the existence of unnatural storyworlds, minds, and acts of narration prevalent in postmodern fiction, this thesis analyzes the unnatural dynamics at play in Pym’s storyworld and storytelling that do not comply with what the reader knows is otherwise physically, logically, or humanly impossible in the physical world. Legitimating Poe’s novel as a work of unnatural narrative coincides with arguing how the readers of unnatural narrative fiction must avoid impulses to make Pym’s storyworld and mode of storytelling conform to preset values of what is natural and conventional about narrative fiction, and orient their cognitive perceptions within the tale’s impossible storyworld.


Poe, Edgar Allan, 1809-1849. Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym - Criticism and interpretation.

American fiction - Criticism and interpretation.