Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

Re-Visiting the Sources of “Hans Pfaall”: A Tentative Approach to Include Hugh Henry Brackenridge’s Modern Chivalry

José Manuel Correoso Rodenas



Dealing with the sources authors have historically had for the composition of their pieces is not always an easy task, especially if we considered writers like Edgar Allan Poe, who was an extensive reader. In the particular case of “The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall” even more issues should be brought to the debate, for this short story constitutes an early attempt of Poe towards the creation of (satiric) science-fiction. In consequence, the reference to scientific and pseudo-scientific texts needs to be constant. However, the aim of this article is not the discussion of these (for they have already been studies, as shown below) but the inclusion of a new source, Hugh Henry Brackenridge’s Modern Chivalry, which has been overshadowed to the present day and which offers a new, enhancing vision of Poe’s narration. By doing this, it is also the aim of this article to offer a reevaluation of “Hans Pfaall” through the lens of American-ness, a topic already widely discussed in reference to Poe and which has been proven as being among the most influential the Bostonian acquired during his career.


“Hans Pfaall”; Modern Chivalry; sources; letters; science-fiction

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