This revisionist study of Poe’s fiction concentrates on works generally neglected by Poe critics. Operating in reverse chronological order, Joan Dayan begins with a close reading of Poe’s Eureka, subtitled “Essay on the Material and Spiritual Universe” and uses this cosmology to examine Poe’s method in creating his fiction. This “unreadable” work, she argues, best exemplifies that method, for in his work, the bizarre, apparently nonsensical, and the most stylistically jarring lapses are the truest exercises of his fiction-making powers. In Eureka, Poe alternates between the roles of skeptic and believer, and the very question of cognition–not what we see, but how we see–comes to dominate his work. Fables of Mind makes the unprecedented argument that the issue of convertability–of the material universe, of the landscape, of the identity of woman–is the key to Poe’s thought and the plot of his fiction.