Edgar Allan Poe: Beyond Gothicism

Overview

Most frequently regarded as a writer of the supernatural, Poe was actually among the most versatile of American authors, writing social satire, comic hoaxes, mystery stories, science fiction, prose poems, literary criticism and theory, and even a play. As a journalist and editor, Poe was closely in touch with the social, political, and cultural trends of nineteenth-century America. Recent scholarship has linked Poe's imaginative writings to the historical realities of nineteenth-century America, including to ...
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Overview

Most frequently regarded as a writer of the supernatural, Poe was actually among the most versatile of American authors, writing social satire, comic hoaxes, mystery stories, science fiction, prose poems, literary criticism and theory, and even a play. As a journalist and editor, Poe was closely in touch with the social, political, and cultural trends of nineteenth-century America. Recent scholarship has linked Poe's imaginative writings to the historical realities of nineteenth-century America, including to science and technology, wars and politics, the cult of death and bereavement, and, most controversially, to slavery and stereotyped attitudes toward women. Edgar Allan Poe: Beyond Gothicism presents a systematic approach to topical criticism of Poe, revealing a new portrait of Poe as an author who blended topics of intellectual and social importance and returned repeatedly to these ideas in different works and using different aesthetic strategies during his brief but highly productive career. Twelve essays point readers toward new ways of considering Poe's themes, techniques, and aesthetic preoccupations by looking at Poe in the context of landscapes, domestic interiors, slavery, prosody, Eastern cultures, optical sciences, Gothicism, and literary competitions, clubs, and reviewing.
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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Poe is best known for his works of the supernatural and horror, but those stories--52 in all--are only part of his oeuvre. Poe was an editor and literary critic and also a satirist, hoaxer, mystery writer, pioneer in the science fiction genre, poet, and even playwright. This larger body of work is often ignored, causing him to be considered an isolated figure in US literary history. Hutchisson (The Citadel; Poe, 2005) has edited an important collection that explores the multifaceted, multitalented Poe and reveals his place in broader American literary history. The essays take into account Poe's essays on aesthetics and criticism, Poe in the context of the South and 19th-century issues of race, his detective fiction beyond the obvious Dupin stories, and his stories long considered to be inconsequential or in violation of his own statements of form or genre. The Edgar Allan Poe who emerges from this collection is one who warrants renewed critical attention; the book as a whole argues for reconsidering which of Poe's works should be included in anthologies and studied in the classroom. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.
Choice
Poe is best known for his works of the supernatural and horror, but those stories—52 in all—are only part of his oeuvre. Poe was an editor and literary critic and also a satirist, hoaxer, mystery writer, pioneer in the science fiction genre, poet, and even playwright. This larger body of work is often ignored, causing him to be considered an isolated figure in US literary history. Hutchisson (The Citadel; Poe, 2005) has edited an important collection that explores the multifaceted, multitalented Poe and reveals his place in broader American literary history. The essays take into account Poe's essays on aesthetics and criticism, Poe in the context of the South and 19th-century issues of race, his detective fiction beyond the obvious Dupin stories, and his stories long considered to be inconsequential or in violation of his own statements of form or genre. The Edgar Allan Poe who emerges from this collection is one who warrants renewed critical attention; the book as a whole argues for reconsidering which of Poe's works should be included in anthologies and studied in the classroom. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611490688
  • Publisher: University Of Delaware
  • Publication date: 8/5/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

James M. Hutchisson is professor of American and Southern literature and director of graduate study in English at the Citadel.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction James M. Hutchisson ix

1 Poe's "Philosophy of Furniture" and the Aesthetics of Fictional Design C. T. Walters 1

2 Race, Pirates, and Intellect: A Reading of Poe's "The Gold-Bug" John F. Jebb 17

3 Storytelling, Narrative Authority, and Death in "The Thousand and Second Tale of Scheherazade" James M. Hutchisson 37

4 The Man in the Text: Desire, Masculinity, and the Development of Poe's Detective Fiction Peter Goodwin 49

5 Gothic Displacements: Poe's South in Politian Amy C. Branam 69

6 Poe in the Ragged Mountains: Environmental History and Romantic Aesthetics Daniel J. Philippon 89

7 "King Pest" and the Tales of the Folio Club Benjamin F. Fisher 103

8 Understanding "Why the Little Frenchman Wears His Hand in a Sling" Kevin J. Hayes 119

9 "Eyes Which Behold": Poe's "Domain of Arnheim" and the Science of Vision Laura Saltz 129

10 "A Species of Literature Almost Beneath Contempt": Edgar Allan Poe and the World of Literary Competitions Leon Jackson 151

11 Poe's Early Criticism of American Fiction: The Southern Literary Messenger and the Fiction of Robert Montgomery Bird Justin R. Wert 171

12 Mad Ravings or Sound Thinking?: "The Philosophy of Composition" and Poe's Parodic Raven Dennis W. Eddings 187

Index 201

About the Contributors 213

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