Poe in His Own Time

Poe in His Own Time : A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates

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An image of Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) as a man of gloom and mystery continues to hold great popular appeal. Long recognized as one of the greats of American literature, he elicited either highly commendatory or absolutely hostile reactions from many who knew him, from others who claimed to comprehend him as person or as writer, and from still others who circulated as fact opinions intuited from his writings. Whether promoting him as angel or demon, 'a man of great and original genius' or 'extraordinarily wicked', the viewpoints in this dramatic collection of primary materials provide vigorous testimony to support the contradictory images of the man and the writer that have prevailed for a century and a half. Noted Poe scholar Benjamin Fisher includes a comprehensive introduction and a detailed chronology of Poe's sadly short life; each entry is introduced by a short headnote that places the selection in historical and cultural context, and explanatory notes provide information about people and places. From John Allan's letter to Secretary of War John Eaton about Poe's West Point life to John Frankenstein's hostile verse casting him as an alcoholic, from Rufus Griswold's first and second posthumous vilifications to James Russell Lowell's more sensible outline of his life and career, from scornful to commendable reviews to scathing attacks on his morals to recognition of his comic achievements, Fisher has gathered a lively array of materials that read like the most far-fetched of gothic tales. Poe himself was creative when he supplied information to others about his life and literary career, and the speculative content of many of the portrayals presented in this collection read as if their authors had set out to be equally creative. The sixty-nine recollections gathered in "Poe in His Own Time" form a dramatic, real-time biographical narrative designed to provide a multitude of perspectives on the famous author, sometimes in conflict with each other and sometimes in agreement but always arresting.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 276 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 22.86mm | 521.63g
  • University of Iowa Press
  • Iowa, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1587298635
  • 9781587298639

Review quote

It is very useful to have such a striking array of verbal portraits and snapshots of Poe in one handy volume. One would have to consult letters, biographies, and dozens of other sources in order to obtain such a concise yet moving picture of Poe. This collection reminds us why Poe cut a controversial figure in his day. Poe s friends and enemies alike can be heard in their own embattled voices. Stephen Rachman, Michigan State University, and president, Poe Studies Association "show more

About Benjamin F. Fisher

Professor of English at the University of Mississippi, Benjamin Fisher has focused on the life and writings of Edgar Allan Poe for four decades. Most recently, he is the author of Poe and the 1890s and the editor of Masques, Mysteries, Mastodons: A Poe Miscellany, the Poe volume in the American Critical Archives series, and Poe's Horror Stories.show more

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