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Cryptographic Imagination: Secret Writing from Edgar Poe to the Internet
Shawn James Rosenheim (au)
Rosenheim argues that Edgar Allan Poe’s cryptographic writing -- his essays on cryptography & the short stories that grew out of them -- requires that we rethink the relation of post-structural criticism to Poe’s texts & the connection between literature & communication. Cryptography serves both as a template for much of Poe’s later fiction (incl. his creation, the detective story) & as a “secret history” of literary modernity itself. Rosenheim also argues that Poe’s influence extends not only to literary instances of cryptography but also to the work of real cryptographers during WW2 & the Cold War. He offers compelling evidence that Poe’s secret writing illuminates a new way of understanding the culture & history of the 20th century. Illus.
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