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This Article represents the first interdisciplinary case study of Edgar Allan Poe’s bankruptcy as an inflection point in the legal and cultural history of debt. Although Poe hardly leaps to mind for portrayals of legal procedure, much of his oeuvre reveals a terror of legal process as an interstitial principle. The anxiety around identity in Poe’s work reveals an ongoing struggle between an individual subject and two opposing yet equally degenerate legal statuses: possession and indebtedness. This opposition renders a distinct form of legal process legible in these texts: the then emerging law of bankruptcy. Poe declared bankruptcy at a unique moment in American legal history, where for thirteen months in the early 1840s, America had a debtor-focused bankruptcy law under which a bankrupt could seek protection. Poe’s case, read alongside his literary output, reveals both legal and narrative contradictions at the heart of bankruptcy, which the 1841 Act did a poor job of resolving. On the one hand, bankruptcy reframes the identity of the debtor, who becomes the object of a quasi-inquisitorial process. On the other, bankruptcy restores some degree of material agency to the debtor as a subject, often at the expense of creditors.