The Works of Edgar Allan Poe : In Five Volumes
Nineteenth-century readers were far more likely to know Edgar Allan Poe as "tomahawk man," the writer of trenchant, acerbic literary reviews, than for his ghoulish tales or mesmeric poems. When Poe became editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, Virginia at the age of 26, his lively reviews-not just of fiction, but also of medical books, almanacs, speeches, travel books, and other magazines-quickly increased both the reputation and circulation of the magazine. And he went on to demonstrate this same effect in often-tempestuous stints at magazines in Philadelphia and New York. Drawing from the nearly one thousand essays, articles, reviews, columns, and critical notices published during Poe's 14 years of writing to (and sometimes missing) deadline, Essays and Reviews is the most complete one-volume edition of his nonfiction work ever published. Included in this Library of America collection are Poe's reviews and candid opinions of the leading literary figures of his day, including: Charles Dickens: "The author possesses nearly every desirable quality in a writer of fiction, and has withal a thousand negative virtues." Elizabeth Barrett Browning: "The accident of having been long secluded by ill health from the world has effected in her behalf . . . a happy audacity of thought and expression never before known in one of her sex." Nathaniel Hawthorne: "The style of Mr. Hawthorne is purity itself. His tone is singularly effective-wild, plaintive, thoughtful, and in full accordance with his themes. We have only to object that there is insufficient diversity in these themes." Ralph Waldo Emerson: "When I consider the true talent-the real force of Mr. Emerson, I am lost in amazement at finding in him little more than a respectful imitation of Carlyle." William Cullen Bryant: "As a versifier, we know of no writer, living or dead, who can be said greatly to surpass him." James Fenimore Cooper: "Is there any one so blind as not to see that Mr. Cooper owes much of his reputation as a novelist to his early occupation of the field?" Poe's spiteful attacks frequently spawned magazine wars and none gathered more attention than when he charged Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, professor of modern languages at Harvard and America's most respected poet of the nineteenth century, with repeated instances of plagiarism. The volume includes more than 100 pages documenting what Poe biographer Kenneth Silverman has called "arguably the longest, strangest, and most-publicized personal war in American literary history." Poe's reviews of long-forgotten writers can also be memorable. Katharine and E.B. White aptly selected his 1843 review of William Ellery Channing for inclusion in their Subtreasury of American Humor ("His book contains about sixty-three things, which he calls poems, and which he no doubt seriously supposes so to be. They are full of all kinds of mistakes, of which the most important is that of their having been printed at all."). Even as he excoriates Channing, Poe parses the strengths and defects of the works of Alfred Tennyson and Thomas Carlyle, among others, and in the process vividly illuminates what makes a poem effective. The volume also features all his major writings on the theory of poetry, the art of fiction, and the duties of a critic: "The Rationale of Verse," "The Philosophy of Composition," "The Poetic Principle," and "About Critics and Criticism." Articulating Poe's passion for technical proficiency and his theory of poetic method, these essays show why he so strongly influenced the French symbolists toward the end of the nineteenth century and, through them, the poetry of T. S. Eliot and Hart Crane.
- Paperback | 211 pages
- 128.52 x 198.37 x 12.45mm | 294.83g
- 01 Jun 2015
- Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
- United States
- black & white illustrations