Edgar Allan Poe Selected Poetry and Tales

ISBN-10: 1554810469

ISBN-13: 9781554810468

Edition: 2012

Authors: Edgar Allen Poe, James M. Hutchisson

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Edgar Allan Poe's stories and poems are among the most haunting and indelible in American literature, but critics for decades persisted in seeing Poe as an anomaly, or even an anachronism. His works, with their bizarrely motivated characters and mysterious settings, did not seem to be a part of the literature of early nineteenth-century America. Critics realize now, though, that Poe was even more a part of the contemporary American literary scene than many of his more "nationalistic" peers, and that in much of his work Poe was making commentaries on slavery and Southern social attitudes, technology, the urban landscape, political economy, and other subjects.This Broadview Edition includes a selection of Poe's poems, tales, and sketches in such diverse modes of writing as tales of the supernatural and psychic conflict, satires and hoaxes, science fiction and detective fiction, and nonfiction essays on literary and social topics. These are supplemented by a selection of contextual documents—newspaper and magazine articles, treatises, and other historical texts—that will help readers understand the social, literary, and intellectual milieus in which Poe wrote.
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Book details

List price: $34.99
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Broadview Press
Publication date: 8/1/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 544
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.100
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."

Edgar Allen Poe: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Texts
Tamerlane (1827)
Sonnet-To Science (1829)
[Alone] (1829)
Romance (1829)
The City in the Sea (1831)
Israfel (1831)
The Sleeper (1831)
Lenore (1831)
To Helen (1832)
Dream-Land (1844)
The Raven (1845)
A Valentine (1846)
Ulalume-A Ballad (1847)
The Bells (1848)
Annabel Lee (1849)
For Annie (1849)
Eldorado (1849)
Tales Metzengerstein (1832)
MS. Found in a Bottle (1833)
Loss of Breath (1835)
Berenice (1835)
Morella (1835)
King Pest (1835)
How to Write a Blackwood Article (1838)
A Predicament (1838)
Ligeia (1838)
Silence-A Fable (1838)
The Man That Was Used Up (1839)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1839)
William Wilson (1839)
The Man of the Crowd (1840)
Philosophy of Furniture (1840)
A Descent into the Maelstrom (1841)
The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841)
The Masque of the Red Death (1842)
The Pit and the Pendulum (1842)
The Oval Portrait (1842)
The Tell-Tale Heart (1843)
The Black Cat (1843)
The Purloined Letter (1844)
"Thou Art the Man" (1844)
The Imp of the Perverse (1845)
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar (1845)
The Cask of Amontillado (1846)
Hop-Frog (1849)
Social and Historical Contexts
Death and Bereavement From Joseph Taylor, The Dangers of Premature Burial (1816)
From Washington Irving, Biography and Poetical Remains of the Late Margaret Miller Davidson (1841)
Pseudo-Sciences and Scientific Inquiry From Sir David Brewster, Letters on Natural Magic (1832)
From J.G. Spurzheim, Phrenology; or, The Doctrine of Mental Phenomena (1833)
From Poe's Review of Robert Montgomery Bird's Sheppard Lee (1836)
From Chauncey Hare Townshend, Facts in Mesmerism (1840)
Fantastic Journeys From [John Cleves Symmes, Jr.], Symzonia: Voyage of Discovery by Captain Adam Seaborn (1820)
From [Richard Adams Locke], "Great Astronomical Discoveries," New York Sun (26 and 27 August 1835)
The South and Slavery From Poe's Commentary on Lucian Minor's An Address on Education (1835)
From [Nathaniel Beverley Tucker's] Review of J.K. Paulding's Slavery in the United States and William Drayton's The South Vindicated from the Treason and Fanaticism of the Northern Abolitionists (1836)
From Poe's Review of James Russell Lowell's A Fable for Critics (1849)
Literary ContextsThe Gothic and Its Trappings From Sophia Lee, The Recess (1783)
From William Godwin, Things As They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794)
From Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland; or, The Transformation (1798)
[William Maginn], "The Man in the Bell" (1821)
Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Prophetic Pictures" (1837)
Gallows Narratives and Urban Expos�s Charles Dickens, "A Madman's Manuscript" (1836)
Washington Irving, "An Unwritten Drama of Lord Byron" (1835)
From George Lippard, The Quaker City; or, The Monks of Monk-Hall (1844)
Theories of Poetry From A.W. Schlegel, "Lecture XI" (1815)
From Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria (1817)
Poe on Writers and WritingOn Poetry "Letter to B---" (1831)
"The Philosophy of Composition" (1846)
On Other Poets On Thomas Moore (1840)
On Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1842)
On Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Percy Bysshe Shelley (1845)
On Frances Sargent Osgood (1846)
On the Tale From a Review of Charles Dickens's Watkins Tottle (1836)
From a Review of Edward Bulwer-Lytton's Night and Morning (1841)
From a Review of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales (1842)
On Magazine Editing, Reviewing, and the Literary Scene From a Review of Joseph Rodman Drake's The Culprit Fay and Fitz-Greene Halleck's Alnwick Castle (1836)
"Exordium to Critical Notices" (1842)
"Some Secrets of the Magazine Prison-House" (1845)
Select Bibliography
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