Complete Poems

ISBN-10: 0252069218

ISBN-13: 9780252069215

Edition: 2000 (Reprint)

Authors: Edgar Allen Poe, Thomas Ollive Mabbott, Claude McKay, William Maxwell

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Book details

List price: $30.95
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication date: 8/31/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 672
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 1.75" tall
Weight: 1.980
Language: English

There has never been any doubt about Poe's enormous literary significance, but, with regard to his ultimate artistic merit, there has been considerable disagreement. To some he is little more than a successful charlatan, whose literary performances are only a virtuoso's display of stunning, but finally shallow, effects. Others, however, are struck by Poe's profound probing of the human psyche, his philosophical sophistication, and his revolutionary attitude toward literary language. No doubt both sides of this argument are in part true in their assessments. Poe's work is very uneven, sometimes reaching great literary heights, at other times striking the honest reader as meaningless, pathetic, or simply wrong-headed. This is not surprising, considering the personal turmoil that characterized so much of Poe's short life. Poe was extreme in his literary views and practices; balance and equilibrium were not literary values that he prized. Scorning the didactic element in poetry, Poe sought to separate beauty from morality. In his best poems, such as "The City in the Sea" (1836), he achieved an intensification of sound sufficient to threaten the common sense of the poetic line and release a buried, even a morbid, sense that would enchant the reader by the sonic pitch of the poem. Defining poetry as "the rhythmic creation of beauty," Poe not only sought the dream buried beneath the poetic vision---Coleridge had already done that---but also abandoned the moral rationale that gave the buried dream symbolic meaning. The dream, or nightmare, was itself the content of the verse. Some readers, however, such as T. S. Eliot, have found Poe's poetry extremely limited, both in its content and in its technique. While it is true that Poe was one of the few American poets to achieve international fame during the nineteenth century, critics point out that his influence on such literary movements as French symbolism and literary modernism was largely through the superb translations and criticisms of his writings by Baudelaire (see Vol. 2), Mallarme (see Vol. 2), and Valery (see Vol. 2). Poe's theory of the short story, as well as his own achievements in that genre, contributed substantially to the development of the modern short story, in Europe as well as in the United States. Poe himself regarded his talent for fiction writing as of less importance than his poetry and criticism. His public preferred his detective stories, such as "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841), "The Mystery of Marie Roget" (1842--1843) and "The Gold Bug" (1843); and his analytic tales, such as "A Descent into the Maelstrom" (1841), "The Black Cat" (1843), and "The Premature Burial" (1844). His own preference, however, was for the works of the imagination, such as "Ligeia" (1838), "The Fall of the House of Usher" (1839), and "The Masque of the Red Death" (1842), tales of horror beyond that of the plausible kind found in the analytic stories. Just as with his poetry, however, readers have been strongly divided in their appreciation of the deeper worth of Poe's fiction. For many, they are at best merely an effective display in Gothicism, good horror stories, an enjoyable experience in vicarious terror, but nothing more. This was the view of Henry James, that other great nineteenth-century master of the ghost story, who claimed that "an enthusiasm for Poe is the mark of a decidedly primitive stage of reflection." But others have found in these carefully crafted pieces something far more profound, a way of seeing into our unconscious, that place where, for a while at least, terrifying conflicts coexist. As Poe so well put it himself in the preface to his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840), "If in many of my productions terror has been the basis, I maintain that terror is not of Germany but of the soul."

Born in Lincoln, Illinois in 1908, William Maxwell is one of America's more prominent writers. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the National Book Critics Circle Award (1994), and the American Book Award (1982) for his novel "So Long, See You Tomorrow." Maxwell's fiction has been described as nostalgic. Most of his work takes place in simpler, gentler times in the small towns of the American Midwest. Two of Maxwell's novels, "They Came Like Swallows" (1937) and "So Long, See You Tomorrow" (1980), deal with characters who lose relatives in the influenza epidemic of 1918. Maxwell's own mother died in the epidemic when he was ten years old. Maxwell published his first novel, "Bright Center of Heaven," in 1934. He moved to New York City in 1936 and was hired by the New Yorker. His years as an editor there, 1936 to 1976, coincided with what many believe are the magazine's finest. This was the era that saw the publication of the works of many accomplished writers, such as J. D. Salinger, Eudora Welty, John Updike, and Mary McCarthy in the New Yorker's pages. Maxwell has published six novels, several collections of short stories, a family history, and numerous book reviews. He served as president of the National Institute of Arts and letters from 1969 to 1972. William Maxwell has been married for over 50 years to the former Emily Noyes. They met at the New Yorker when she applied for a job. The couple has two daughters.

Preface to the Projected Edition
Introduction to the Poems
Lines to Richmond Schoolgirls
Epistola AD Magistrum
An Early Satire
Farewell to Master Clarke
Satire on the Junior Debating Society
Don Pompioso
Oh, Tempora! Oh, Mores!
Translation from Tasso
Experimental Verses
To Margaret
To Octavia
Song ("I Saw Thee on thy Bridal Day")
Spirits of the Dead
Evening Star
Stanzas ("In Youth ...")
A Dream
The Happiest Day
The Lake
Sonnet - to Science
Al Aaraaf
To - ("Should my Early Life Seem")
To [Elmira] ("The Bowers")
To the River [PO]
To M - ("I Heed Not")
Fairyland [I]
To Isaac Lea
Elizabeth [Rebecca]
An Acrostic ("Elizabeth, It Is in Vain")
Lines on Joe Locke
Mysterious Star! (A New Introduction to "Al Aaraaf")
Fairy Land [II]
To Helen
Irene and the Sleeper
The Valley of Unrest
The City in the Sea
A Paean
Epigram from Pulci
To One in Paradise
Latin Hymn
Song of Triumph
Enigma [On Shakespeare]
To - ("Sleep on")
The Coliseum
To Mary Starr
To Frances S. Osgood
To Frances
Parody on Drake
May Queen Ode
Spiritual Song
Bridal Ballad
To Zante
The Haunted Palace
Couplet from "the Fall of the House of Usher"
Motto for "William Wilson"
Sonnet - Silence
The Conqueror Worm
Motto for the Stylus
Motto for "The Gold-Bug"
To Elizabeth Winchester - Impromptu
Fragment of a Campaign Song
The Raven
Lines After Elizabeth Barrett
Epigram for Wall Street
Impromptu: To Kate Carol
To [Violet Vane]
The Divine Right of Kings
Stanzas [to F.S.O.]
A Valentine
Model Verses
Deep in Earth
To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter
To Marie Louise Shew
The Beloved Physician
Holy Eyes
To Marie Louise
An Enigma [Sarah Anna Lewis]
The Bells
To Helen [Whitman]
Lines on Ale
A Dream Within a Dream
For Annie
To My Mother
Annabel Lee
Serious Rhymes in Prose
Comic Rhymes
Verses by Members of Poe's Family
Annals of Poe's Life
Sources of Texts Collated
Other Sources Frequently Cited
Index of First Lines
Index of Names and Titles
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