Edgar Allan Poe
Poe’s stature as a major figure in world literature is primarily based on his ingenious and profound short stories, poems, and critical theories, which established a highly influential rationale for the short form in both poetry and fiction. Regarded in literary histories and handbooks as the architect of the modern short story, Poe was also the principal forerunner of the “art for art’s sake” movement in nineteenth-century European literature. Whereas earlier critics predominantly concerned themselves with moral or ideological generalities, Poe focused his criticism on the specifics of style and construction that contributed to a work’s effectiveness or failure. In his own work, he demonstrated a brilliant command of language and technique as well as an inspired and original imagination. Poe’s poetry and short stories greatly influenced the French Symbolists of the late nineteenth century, who in turn altered the direction of modern literature. It is this philosophical and artistic transaction that accounts for much of Poe’s importance in literary history.
Poe’s father and mother were professional actors who at the time of his birth were members of a repertory company in Boston. Before Poe was three years old both of his parents died, and he was raised in the home of John Allan, a prosperous exporter from Richmond, Virginia, who never legally adopted his foster son. As a boy, Poe attended the best schools available, and was admitted to the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1825. While there he distinguished himself academically but was forced to leave after less than a year because of bad debts and inadequate financial support from Allan. Poe’s relationship with Allan disintegrated upon his return to Richmond in 1827, and soon after Poe left for Boston, where he enlisted in the army and also published his first poetry collection, Tamerlane, and Other Poems. The volume went unnoticed by readers and reviewers, and a second collection, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems, received only slightly more attention when it appeared in 1829. That same year Poe was honorably discharged from the army, having attained the rank of regimental sergeant major, and was then admitted to the United States Military Academy at West Point. However, because Allan would neither provide his foster son with sufficient funds to maintain himself as a cadet nor give the consent necessary to resign from the Academy, Poe gained a dismissal by ignoring his duties and violating regulations. He subsequently went to New York City, where Poems, his third collection of verse, was published in 1831, and then to Baltimore, where he lived at the home of his aunt, Mrs. Maria Clemm.
Over the next few years Poe’s first short stories appeared in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier and his “MS. Found in a Bottle” won a cash prize for best story in the Baltimore Saturday Visitor. Nevertheless, Poe was still not earning enough to live independently, nor did Allan’s death in 1834 provide him with a legacy. The following year, however, his financial problems were temporarily alleviated when he accepted an editorship at The Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, bringing with him his aunt and his twelve-year-old cousin Virginia, whom he married in 1836. The Southern Literary Messenger was the first of several journals Poe would direct over the next ten years and through which he rose to prominence as a leading man of letters in America. Poe made himself known not only as a superlative author of poetry and fiction, but also as a literary critic whose level of imagination and insight had hitherto been unapproached in American literature. While Poe’s writings gained attention in the late 1830s and early 1840s, the profits from his work remained meager, and he supported himself by editing Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine and Graham’s Magazine in Philadelphia and the Broadway Journal in New York City. After his wife’s death from tuberculosis in 1847, Poe became involved in a number of romantic affairs. It was while he prepared for his second marriage that Poe, for reasons unknown, arrived in Baltimore in late September of 1849. On October 3, he was discovered in a state of semi-consciousness; he died four days later without regaining the necessary lucidity to explain what had happened during the last days of his life.
Poe’s most conspicuous contribution to world literature derives from the analytical method he practiced both as a creative author and as a critic of the works of his contemporaries. His self-declared intention was to formulate strictly artistic ideals in a milieu that he thought overly concerned with the utilitarian value of literature, a tendency he termed the “heresy of the Didactic.” While Poe’s position includes the chief requisites of pure aestheticism, his emphasis on literary formalism was directly linked to his philosophical ideals: through the calculated use of language one may express, though always imperfectly, a vision of truth and the essential condition of human existence. Poe’s theory of literary creation is noted for two central points: first, a work must create a unity of effect on the reader to be considered successful; second, the production of this single effect should not be left to the hazards of accident or inspiration, but should to the minutest detail of style and subject be the result of rational deliberation on the part of the author. In poetry, this single effect must arouse the reader’s sense of beauty, an ideal that Poe closely associated with sadness, strangeness, and loss; in prose, the effect should be one revelatory of some truth, as in “tales of ratiocination” or works evoking “terror, or passion, or horror.”
Aside from a common theoretical basis, there is a psychological intensity that is characteristic of Poe’s writings, especially the tales of horror that comprise his best and best-known works. These stories—which include “The Black Cat,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”—are often told by a first-person narrator, and through this voice Poe probes the workings of a character’s psyche. This technique foreshadows the psychological explorations of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and the school of psychological realism. In his Gothic tales, Poe also employed an essentially symbolic, almost allegorical method which gives such works as “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” and “Ligeia” an enigmatic quality that accounts for their enduring interest and also links them with the symbolical works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. The influence of Poe’s tales may be seen in the work of later writers, including Ambrose Bierce and H.P. Lovecraft, who belong to a distinct tradition of horror literature initiated by Poe. In addition to his achievement as creator of the modern horror tale, Poe is also credited with parenting two other popular genres: science fiction and the detective story. In such works as “The Unparalleled Adventure of Hans Pfaall” and “Von Kempelen and His Discovery,” Poe took advantage of the fascination for science and technology that emerged in the early nineteenth century to produce speculative and fantastic narratives which anticipate a type of literature that did not become widely practiced until the twentieth century. Similarly, Poe’s three tales of ratiocination—”The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Purloined Letter,” and “The Mystery of Marie Roget”—are recognized as the models which established the major characters and literary conventions of detective fiction, specifically the amateur sleuth who solves a crime that has confounded the authorities and whose feats of deductive reasoning are documented by an admiring associate. Just as Poe influenced many succeeding authors and is regarded as an ancestor of such major literary movements as Symbolism and Surrealism, he was also influenced by earlier literary figures and movements. In his use of the demonic and the grotesque, Poe evidenced the impact of the stories of E.T.A. Hoffman and the Gothic novels of Ann Radcliffe, while the despair and melancholy in much of his writing reflects an affinity with the Romantic movement of the early nineteenth century. It was Poe’s particular genius that in his work he gave consummate artistic form both to his personal obsessions and those of previous literary generations, at the same time creating new forms which provided a means of expression for future artists.
While Poe is most often remembered for his short fiction, his first love as a writer was poetry, which he began writing during his adolescence. His early verse reflects the influence of such English romantics as Lord Byron, John Keats, and Percy Bysshe Shelley, yet foreshadows his later poetry which demonstrates a subjective outlook and surreal, mystic vision. “Tamerlane” and “Al Aaraaf” exemplify Poe’s evolution from the portrayal of Byronic heroes to the depiction of journeys within his own imagination and subconscious. The former piece, reminiscent of Byron’s “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,” recounts the life and adventures of a fourteenth-century Mongol conqueror; the latter poem portrays a dreamworld where neither good nor evil permanently reside and where absolute beauty can be directly discerned. In other poems—”To Helen,” “Lenore,” and “The Raven” in particular—Poe investigates the loss of ideal beauty and the difficulty in regaining it. These pieces are usually narrated by a young man who laments the untimely death of his beloved. “To Helen” is a three stanza lyric that has been called one of the most beautiful love poems in the English language. The subject of the work is a woman who becomes, in the eyes of the narrator, a personification of the classical beauty of ancient Greece and Rome. “Lenore” presents ways in which the dead are best remembered, either by mourning or celebrating life beyond earthly boundaries. In “The Raven,” Poe successfully unites his philosophical and aesthetic ideals. In this psychological piece, a young scholar is emotionally tormented by a raven’s ominous repetition of “Nevermore” in answer to his question about the probability of an afterlife with his deceased lover. Charles Baudelaire noted in his introduction to the French edition of “The Raven”: “It is indeed the poem of the sleeplessness of despair; it lacks nothing: neither the fever of ideas, nor the violence of colors, nor sickly reasoning, nor drivelling terror, nor even the bizarre gaiety of suffering which makes it more terrible.” Poe also wrote poems that were intended to be read aloud. Experimenting with combinations of sound and rhythm, he employed such technical devices as repetition, parallelism, internal rhyme, alliteration, and assonance to produce works that are unique in American poetry for their haunting, musical quality. In “The Bells,” for example, the repetition of the word “bells” in various structures accentuates the unique tonality of the different types of bells described in the poem.
While his works were not conspicuously acclaimed during his lifetime, Poe did earn due respect as a gifted fiction writer, poet, and man of letters, and occasionally he achieved a measure of popular success, especially following the appearance of “The Raven.” After his death, however, the history of his critical reception becomes one of dramatically uneven judgments and interpretations. This state of affairs was initiated by Poe’s one-time friend and literary executor R.W. Griswold, who, in a libelous obituary notice in the New York Tribune bearing the byline “Ludwig,” attributed the depravity and psychological aberrations of many of the characters in Poe’s fiction to Poe himself. In retrospect, Griswold’s vilifications seem ultimately to have elicited as much sympathy as censure with respect to Poe and his work, leading subsequent biographers of the late nineteenth century to defend, sometimes too devotedly, Poe’s name. It was not until the 1941 biography by A.H. Quinn that a balanced view was provided of Poe, his work, and the relationship between the author’s life and his imagination. Nevertheless, the identification of Poe with the murderers and madmen of his works survived and flourished in the twentieth century, most prominently in the form of psychoanalytical studies such as those of Marie Bonaparte and Joseph Wood Krutch. Added to the controversy over the sanity, or at best the maturity of Poe (Paul Elmer More called him “the poet of unripe boys and unsound men”), was the question of the value of Poe’s works as serious literature. At the forefront of Poe’s detractors were such eminent figures as Henry James, Aldous Huxley, and T. S. Eliot, who dismissed Poe’s works as juvenile, vulgar, and artistically debased; in contrast, these same works have been judged to be of the highest literary merit by such writers as Bernard Shaw and William Carlos Williams. Complementing Poe’s erratic reputation among English and American critics is the more stable, and generally more elevated opinion of critics elsewhere in the world, particularly in France. Following the extensive translations and commentaries of Charles Baudelaire in the 1850s, Poe’s works were received with a peculiar esteem by French writers, most profoundly those associated with the late nineteenth-century movement of Symbolism, who admired Poe’s transcendent aspirations as a poet; the twentieth-century movement of Surrealism, which valued Poe’s bizarre and apparently unruled imagination; and such figures as Paul Valery, who found in Poe’s theories and thought an ideal of supreme rationalism. In other countries, Poe’s works have enjoyed a similar regard, and numerous studies have been written tracing the influence of the American author on the international literary scene, especially in Russia, Japan, Scandinavia, and Latin America.
Today, Poe is recognized as one of the foremost progenitors of modern literature, both in its popular forms, such as horror and detective fiction, and in its more complex and self-conscious forms, which represent the essential artistic manner of the twentieth century. In contrast to earlier critics who viewed the man and his works as one, criticism of the past twenty-five years has developed a view of Poe as a detached artist who was more concerned with displaying his virtuosity than with expressing his “soul,” and who maintained an ironic rather than an autobiographical relationship to his writings. While at one time critics such as Yvor Winters wished to remove Poe from literary history, his works remain integral to any conception of modernism in world literature. Herbert Marshall McLuhan wrote in an essay entitled “Edgar Poe’s Tradition”: “While the New England dons primly turned the pages of Plato and Buddha beside a tea-cozy, and while Browning and Tennyson were creating a parochial fog for the English mind to relax in, Poe never lost contact with the terrible pathos of his time. Coevally with Baudelaire, and long before Conrad and Eliot, he explored the heart of darkness.”
- Tamerlane and Other Poems. By a Bostonian (Boston: Thomas, 1827).
- Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (Baltimore: Hatch & Dunning, 1829).
- Poems, By Edgar A. Poe. Second Edition (New York: Bliss, 1831).
- The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, of Nantucket . . . , anonymous (New York: Harper, 1838; London: Wiley & Putnam, 1838).
- The Conchologist's First Book; or, A System of Testaceous Malacology . . . (Philadelphia: Haswell, Barrington & Haswell, 1839).
- Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, 2 volumes (Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1840).
- The Prose Romances of Edgar A. Poe (Philadelphia: Graham, 1843).
- Tales (New York & London: Wiley & Putnam, 1845).
- The Raven and Other Poems (New York: Wiley & Putnam, 1845; London: Wiley & Putnam, 1846).
- Eureka: A Prose Poem (New York: Putnam, 1848; London: Chapman, 1848).
Editions and Collections
- The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe: With Notices of his Life and Genius, edited by Rufus Wilmot Griswold, 4 volumes (New York: Redfield, 1850-1856).
- The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by James A. Harrison, 17 volumes (New York: Crowell, 1902).
- The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, edited by Sidney Kaplan (New York: Hill & Wang, 1960; revised edition, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990).
- The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Floyd Stovall (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1965).
- Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Thomas Ollive Mabbott, 3 volumes (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969- 1978).
- The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, edited by Harold Beaver (New York: Penguin, 1975).
- The Short Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe: An Annotated Edition, edited by Stuart Levine and Susan Levine (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1976).
- The Annotated Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Stephen Peithman (New York: Avenell, 1981).
- Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Burton R. Pollin, 5 volumes to date (Boston: Twayne / New York: Gordian, 1981).
- Essays and Reviews of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by G. R. Thompson (New York: Library of America, 1984).
- Poetry and Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America, 1984).
- The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, edited by J. Gerald Kennedy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).
- The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, edited by Richard Kopley (New York: Penguin, 1999).
- Poe and His Friends: Letters Relating to Poe, volume 18 of The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by James A. Harrison (New York: Crowell, 1902).
- The Letters of Edgar Allan Poe, 2 volumes, edited by John Ward Ostrom (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1948); republished with three supplements (New York: Gordian, 1966); fourth supplement, American Literature, 45 (January 1974): 513-536.
See also the Poe entries in DLB 3: Antebellum Writers in New York and the South; DLB 59: American Literary Critics and Scholars, 1800-1850; DLB 73: American Magazine Journalists, 1741-1850; and DLB 74: American Short-Story Writers Before 1880.
Significant collections of Edgar Allan Poe's papers are located at the University of Texas (M. L. Stark Library and Humanities Research Center—the Koerster Collection); Pierpont Morgan Library, New York; Free Library of Philadelphia (the Richard Gimbel Collection); Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California; Indiana University (Lilly Collection); New York Public Library (Manuscript Division and the Berg Collection); University of Virginia (Ingram Collection); Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore; Poe Foundation, Richmond (State Library of Virginia); Boston Public Library (Griswold Papers); Library of Congress (Ellis and Allan Papers); Columbia University Libraries; Duke University Library (Whitty Collection); Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library; also the private collection of H. Bradley Martin, New York City, which can be viewed in the Pierpont Morgan Library.
- John W. Robertson, Bibliography of the Writings of Edgar A. Poe and Commentary on the Bibliography of Edgar A. Poe (San Francisco: Russian Hill Private Press, Edwin & Robert Grabhorn, 1934).
- William D. Hull, "A Canon of the Critical Works of Edgar Allan Poe with a Study of Edgar Allan Poe the Magazinist," dissertation, University of Virginia, 1941.
- John Cook Wylie, "A List of the Texts of Poe's Tales," in Humanistic Studies in Honor of John Calvin Metcalf (New York: Columbia University Press, 1941), pp. 322-338.
- Charles F. Heartman and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, revised edition (Hattiesburg, Miss.: Book Farm, 1943).
- Haldeen Braddy, Glorious Incense: The Fulfillment of Edgar Allan Poe (New York: Scarecrow Press, 1953).
- Jay B. Hubbell, "Poe," in Eight American Authors: A Review of Research and Criticism, edited by Floyd Stovall (New York: Modern Language Association, 1956), pp. 1-46.
- William B. Todd, "The Early Issues of Poe's Tales (1845)," Library Chronicle of the University of Texas, 7 (Fall 1961): 13-17.
- G. Thomas Tanselle, "The State of Poe Bibliography," Poe Newsletter, 2 (January 1969): 1-3.
- Hubbell, "Poe," in Eight American Authors: A Review of Research and Criticism, revised edition, edited by James Woodress (New York: Norton, 1971), pp. 3- 36.
- J. Lasley Dameron, "Thomas Ollive Mabbott on the Canon of Poe's Reviews," Poe Studies, 5 (December 1972): 56-57.
- Esther K. Hyneman, Edgar Allan Poe: An Annotated Bibliography of Books and Articles in English, 1827-1973 (Boston: Hall, 1974).
- Dameron and Irby B. Cauthen Jr., Edgar Allan Poe: A Bibliography of Criticism 1827-1967 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974).
- Pollin, "Poe 'Viewed and Reviewed': An Annotated Checklist of Contemporary Notices," Poe Studies, 13 (December 1980): 17-28.
- John Ward Ostrum, "Revised Check List of the Correspondence of Edgar Allan Poe," Studies in the American Renaissance 1981, edited by Joel Myerson (Boston: Twayne, 1981), pp. 169-255.
- Kent P. Ljunquist, "Poe," Prospects for the Study of American Literature, edited by Richard Kaplan (New York: New York University Press, 1997), pp. 39-57.
- Rufus Wilmot Griswold, "Memoir of the Author," in The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe (New York: Redfield, 1850), III: vii-xxxix.
- Sarah Helen Whitman, Edgar Poe and His Critics (New York: Rudd & Carleton, 1860).
- William Fearing Gill, The Life of Edgar Allan Poe (New York: Dillingham, 1877).
- John H. Ingram, Edgar Allan Poe: His Life, Letters and Opinions, 2 volumes (London: John Hogg, 1880).
- George Edward Woodberry, The Life of Edgar Allan Poe, Personal and Literary, 2 volumes (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1909).
- Hervey Allen, Israfel: The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe, 2 volumes (New York: Doran, 1926).
- Joseph Wood Krutch, Edgar Allan Poe: A Study in Genius (New York: Knopf, 1926).
- Mary E. Phillips, Edgar Allan Poe, the Man, 2 volumes (Chicago: John C. Winston, 1926).
- Una Pope-Hennessy, Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849: A Critical Biography (London: Macmillan, 1934).
- Arthur Hobson Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography (New York: Appleton-Century, 1941).
- Marie Bonaparte, The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe: A Psycho-analytic Interpretation, translated by John Rodker (London: Imago, 1949).
- Perry Miller, The Raven and the Whale: The War of Words and Wits in the Era of Poe and Melville (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1956).
- Frances Winwar, The Haunted Palace: A Life of Edgar Allan Poe (New York: Harper, 1959).
- William Bittner, Poe: A Biography (Boston: Little, Brown, 1962).
- Edward Wagenknecht, Edgar Allan Poe: The Man Behind the Legend (New York: Oxford University Press, 1963).
- Sidney P. Moss, Poe's Literary Battles: The Critic in the Context of His Literary Milieu (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1963).
- John Evangelist Walsh, Poe the Detective: The Curious Circumstances behind "The Mystery of Marie Roget" (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1967).
- Moss, Poe's Major Crisis: His Libel Suit and New York's Literary World (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1970).
- John C. Miller, Building Poe Biography (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1977).
- Wolf Mankowitz, The Extraordinary Mr. Poe (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978).
- Julian Symons, The Tell-Tale Heart: The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe (New York: Harper & Row, 1978).
- Dwight R. Thomas, "Poe in Philadelphia, 1838-1844: A Documentary Record," dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1978.
- John Carl Miller, ed., Poe's Helen Remembers (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1979).
- David K. Jackson and Dwight Thomas, The Poe Log: A Documentary Life of Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849 (Boston: Hall, 1987).
- David Ketterer, Edgar Allan Poe: Life, Work, and Criticism (Fredericton, New Brunswick: York, 1989).
- Michael J. Deas, The Portraits and Daguerreotypes of Edgar Allan Poe (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1989).
- Kenneth Silverman, Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance (New York: HarperCollins, 1991).
- Jeffrey Meyers, Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy (New York: Scribners, 1992).
- J. R. Hammond, An Edgar Allan Poe Chronology (New York: Macmillan, 1998).
- Walsh, Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1998).
- Jean Alexander, ed., Affidavits of Genius. Edgar Allan Poe and the French Critics, 1847-1924 (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1971).
- Michael Allen, Poe and the British Magazine Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969).
- Margaret Alterton, The Origins of Poe's Critical Theory (Iowa City: University of Iowa, 1925).
- Carl L. Anderson, Poe in Northlight: The Scandinavian Response to His Life and Work (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1973).
- Charles Baudelaire, Baudelaire on Poe: Critical Papers, edited by Lois and Francis Hyslop (State College, Pa.: Bald Eagle, 1952).
- Baudelaire, Edgar Allan Poe, sa vie et ses ouvrages, edited by W. T. Bandy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1973).
- Richard P. Benton, ed., New Approaches to Poe: A Symposium (Hartford, Conn.: Transcendental Books, 1970).
- Benton, ed., Poe as Literary Cosmologer: Studies on Eureka. A Symposium (Hartford, Conn.: Transcendental Books, 1975).
- Clive Bloom, Reading Poe, Reading Freud: The Romantic Imagination in Crisis (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988).
- Bradford A. Booth and Claude E. Jones, A Concordance to the Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1941).
- Vincent Buranelli, Edgar Allan Poe (Boston: Twayne, 1961; revised edition, 1977).
- Michael L. Burduck, Grim Phantasms: Fear in Poe's Fiction (New York: Garland, 1992).
- Célestin Cambiaire, The Influence of Edgar Allan Poe in France (New York: Stechert, 1927).
- Killis Campbell, The Mind of Poe and Other Studies (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1933).
- Eric W. Carlson, ed., A Companion to Poe Studies (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996).
- Carlson, ed., Critical Essays on Poe (Boston: Hall, 1987).
- Carlson, ed., The Recognition of Edgar Allan Poe: Selected Criticism since 1829 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1966).
- Graham Clarke, ed., Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Assessment, 4 volumes (London: Routledge, 1992).
- J. Lasley Dameron and Louis Charles Stagg, An Index to Poe's Critical Vocabulary (Hartford, Conn.: Transcendental Books, 1966).
- Edward H. Davidson, Poe: A Critical Study (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1957).
- Joan Dayan, Fables of Mind: An Inquiry into Poe's Fiction (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).
- Jeffrey DeShell, The Peculiarity of Literature: An Allegorical Approach to Poe's Fiction (Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press / London & Cranbury, N.J.: Associated University Presses, 1997).
- Dennis W. Eddings, ed., The Naiad Voice: Essays on Poe's Satiric Hoaxing (Port Washington, N.Y.: Associated Faculty Press, 1983).
- Jonathan Elmer, Reading at the Social Limit: Affect, Mass Culture, and Edgar Allan Poe (Stanford, Cal.: Stanford University Press, 1995).
- N. Bryllion Fagin, The Histrionic Mr. Poe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1949).
- Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV, ed., Poe and His Times: The Artist and His Milieu (Baltimore: Edgar Allan Poe Society, 1990).
- Fisher, ed., Poe and Our Times: Influences and Affinities (Baltimore: Edgar Allan Poe Society, 1986).
- Fisher, ed., Poe at Work: Seven Textual Studies (Baltimore: Edgar Allan Poe Society, 1978).
- Richard M. Fletcher, The Stylistic Development of Edgar Allan Poe (The Hague: Mouton, 1973).
- Roger Forclaz, Le Monde d'Edgar Poe (Berne: Herbert Lang / Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1974).
- Frederick R. Frank and Anthony Magistrale, eds., The Poe Encyclopedia (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997).
- John Phelps Fruit, The Mind and Art of Poe's Poetry (New York: Barnes, 1899).
- David Halliburton, Edgar Allan Poe: A Phenomenological View (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973).
- J. R. Hammond, An Edgar Allan Poe Companion: A Guide to the Short Stories, Romances and Essays (London: Macmillan, 1981).
- Thomas Hansen with Burton R. Pollin, The German Face of Edgar Allan Poe (Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1995).
- Ronald Harvey, The Critical History of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym": A Dialogue with Unreason (New York: Garland, 1998).
- Daniel Hoffman, Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972).
- John T. Irwin, American Hieroglyphics: The Symbol of Egyptian Hieroglyphics in the American Renaissance (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980), pp. 41-235.
- Irwin, The Mystery to a Solution: Poe, Borges, and the Analytic Detective Story (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994).
- Robert D. Jacobs, Poe: Journalist & Critic (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1969).
- J. Gerald Kennedy, ed., A Historical Guide to Edgar Allan Poe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).
- Kennedy, "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym" and the Abyss of Interpretation (New York: Twayne, 1995).
- Kennedy, Poe, Death, and the Life of Writing (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987).
- Kennedy and Liliane Weissberg, eds., Romancing the Shadow: Poe and Race (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).
- David Ketterer, The Rationale of Deception in Poe (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1979).
- Richard Kopley, ed., Poe's "Pym": Critical Explorations (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1992).
- A. Robert Lee, Edgar A. Poe: The Design of Order (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1987).
- Harry Levin, The Power of Blackness: Hawthorne, Poe, Melville (New York: Knopf, 1958).
- Stuart G. Levine, Edgar Poe: Seer and Craftsman (Deland, Fla.: Everett/Edwards, 1972).
- Franz H. Link, Edgar Allan Poe: Ein Dichter zwischen Romantik und Moderne (Frankfurt am Main: Athenaum Verlag, 1968).
- Kent Ljungquist, The Grand and the Fair: Poe's Landscape Aesthetics and Pictorial Techniques (Potomac, Md.: Scripta Humanistica, 1984).
- Charles May, Edgar Allan Poe: A Study of the Short Fiction (Boston: Twayne, 1991).
- John P. Muller and William J. Richardson, eds., The Purloined Poe: Lacan, Derrida, and Psychoanalytic Reading (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988).
- Edd Winfield Parks, Edgar Allan Poe as a Literary Critic (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1964).
- Scott Peeples, Edgar Allan Poe Revisited (New York: Twayne, 1998).
- Elizabeth Philips, Edgar Allan Poe, An American Imagination: Three Essays (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1979).
- Pollin, Dictionary of Names and Titles in Poe's Collected Works (New York: Da Capo, 1968).
- Pollin, Discoveries in Poe (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1970).
- Pollin, Word Index to Poe's Fiction (New York: Gordian, 1982).
- Pollin, comp., Images of Poe's Works: A Comprehensive Descriptive Catalogue of Illustrations (New York: Greenwood Press, 1989).
- Patrick F. Quinn, The French Face of Edgar Poe (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1957).
- D. Ramakrishna, ed., Perspectives on Poe (New Delhi: APC, 1996).
- Geoffrey Rans, Edgar Allan Poe (Edinburgh & London: Oliver & Boyd, 1965).
- Arthur Ransome, Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Study (London: Stephen Swift, 1912).
- Claude Richard, Edgar Allan Poe écrivain, edited by Henri Justin (Montpellier: Delta, 1990).
- Richard, Edgar Allan Poe journalise et critique (Paris: Klincksieck, 1978).
- Richard, ed., Edgar Allan Poe (Paris: Edition de l'Herne, 1974).
- Shawn Rosenheim, The Cryptographic Imagination: Secret Writing from Edgar Poe to the Internet (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997).
- Rosenheim and Stephen Rachman, eds., The American Face of Edgar Poe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995).
- David R. Saliba, The Psychology of Fear: The Nightmare Formula of Edgar Allan Poe (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1971).
- Kenneth Silverman, ed., New Essays on Poe's Major Tales (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993).
- Don G. Smith, The Poe Cinema: A Critical Filmography of Theatrical Releases Based on the Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1999).
- Floyd Stovall, Edgar Poe the Poet: Essays Old and New on the Man and His Work (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1969).
- G. R. Thompson, Poe's Fiction: Romantic Irony in the Gothic Tales (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1973).
- Thompson and Virgil L. Lokke, eds., Ruined Eden of the Present: Hawthorne, Melville, Poe (West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1981), pp. 283- 374.
- Richard P. Veler, ed., Papers on Poe: Essays in Honor of John Ward Ostrom (Springfield, Ohio: Chantry Music Press at Wittenberg University, 1972).
- Lois Davis Vines, Poe Abroad: Influence, Reputation, Affinities (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1999).
- I. M. Walker, ed., Edgar Allan Poe: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge, 1986).
- Terence Whalen, Poe and the Masses: The Political Economy of Literature in Antebellum America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999).
- Richard Wilbur, "The House of Poe," in Anniversary Lectures 1959 (Washington, D.C.: Reference Department of the Library of Congress, 1959), pp. 21-38.
- Wilbur, "Introduction" and "Notes" to Poe, The Laurel Poetry Series (New York: Dell, 1959).
- Elizabeth Wiley, Concordance to the Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe (Selinsgrove, Pa.: Susquehanna University Press, 1989).
- Michael J. S. Williams, A World of Words: Language and Displacement in the Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1988).
Edgar Allan Poe
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Poe’s stature as a major figure in world literature is primarily based on his ingenious and profound short stories, poems, and critical theories, which established a highly influential rationale for the short form in both poetry and fiction. Regarded in literary histories and handbooks as the architect of the modern short story, Poe was also the principal forerunner of the “art for art’s sake” movement in nineteenth-century European literature. Whereas earlier critics predominantly concerned themselves with moral or ideological generalities, Poe focused his criticism on the specifics of style and construction that contributed to a work’s effectiveness or failure. In his own work, he demonstrated a brilliant command of language and technique as well as an inspired and original imagination. Poe’s poetry and short stories greatly influenced the French Symbolists of the late nineteenth century, who in turn altered the direction of modern literature. It is this philosophical and artistic...