As you probably know, in these two stories, "Black Cat" and "Imp of the Perverse", Poe speaks about a strange impulse in every man to accomplish an act for no positive reason but, simply, the formula is you must do it precisely because it is prohibited. It is pure negative motivation. Now think about it and you will see that this purely negative motivation is a priori formal in the purest Kantian sense. It's purely grounded in itself with no empirical reference. That's the problem, that a new domain of evil opened up ... OK, but that's a further development.
Slavoj Zizek, Connections of the Freudian Field to Philosophy and Popular Culture •
|Illustration for "The Black Cat" by Aubrey Beardsley (1894–1895)|