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"A masterful and imaginative work which is truly Poe-like in its fascination with cryptography, ciphers, and codes. Poe takes his place as the first postmodern thinker, a precursor of such figures as Pynchon, Borges, and William Gibson."

"The strength of Rosenheim's work extends to a revisionistic understanding of the entirety of literary history (as a repression of cryptography) and then, in a breathtaking shift of register, interlinks Poe's exercises in cryptography with the hyperreality of the CIA, the Cold War, and the Internet. What enables this extensive range of applications is the stipulated tension Rosenheim discerns in the relationship between the forms of the literary imagination and the condition of its mode of production. Cryptography, in this account, names the technology of literary production—the diacritical relationship between decoding and encoding—that the literary imagination dissimulates as hieroglyphics—the hermeneutic relationship between a sign and its content."