That infinity of mental excitement which quiet observation can afford

From Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue

It was a freak of fancy in my friend (for what else shall I call it?) to be enamored of the night for her own sake; and into this bizarrerie, as into all his others, I quietly fell; giving myself up to his wild whims with a perfect abandon. The sable divinity would not herself dwell with us always; but we could counterfeit her presence. At the first dawn of the morning we closed all the messy shutters of our old building; lighting a couple of tapers which, strongly perfumed, threw out only the ghastliest and feeblest of rays. By the aid of these we then busied our souls in dreams—reading, writing, or conversing, until warned by the clock of the advent of the true Darkness. Then we sallied forth into the streets arm in arm, continuing the topics of the day, or roaming far and wide until a late hour, seeking, amid the wild lights and shadows of the populous city, that infinity of mental excitement which quiet observation can afford.

3 thoughts on “That infinity of mental excitement which quiet observation can afford

  1. I had a look again at this tale some years back, and came to the conclusion it is definitely written in chiasmic form. Each ‘movement’ of the first half of the tale is mirrored in reverse in the latter half of the tale.

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    1. That’s fascinating. I wonder if it could be at all connected to a line I noticed this reading that felt like possibly more than a casual remark. – ‘Observing him in these moods, I often dwelt meditatively upon the old philosophy of the Bi-Part Soul, and amused myself with the fancy of a double Dupin—the creative and the resolvent.’

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