Poe

Poe

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by James M. Hutchisson
     
 

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Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American original-a luminous literary theorist, an erratic genius, and an analyst par excellence of human obsession and compulsion. The scope of his literary achievements and the dramatic character of Poe's life have drawn readers and critics to him in droves.

And yet, upon his death, one obituary penned by a literary enemy in

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Overview

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American original-a luminous literary theorist, an erratic genius, and an analyst par excellence of human obsession and compulsion. The scope of his literary achievements and the dramatic character of Poe's life have drawn readers and critics to him in droves.

And yet, upon his death, one obituary penned by a literary enemy in the New York Daily Tribune cascaded into a lasting stain on Poe's character, leaving a historic misunderstanding. Many remember Poe as a difficult, self-pitying, troubled drunkard often incapable of caring for himself.

Poe reclaims the Baltimore and Virginia writer's reputation and power, retracing Poe's life and career. Biographer and critic James M. Hutchisson captures the boisterous worlds of literary New York and Philadelphia in the 1800s to understand why Poe wrote the way he did and why his achievement was so important to American literature. The biography presents a critical overview of Poe's major works and his main themes, techniques, and imaginative preoccupations.

This portrait of the writer emphasizes Poe's southern identity; his existence as a workaday journalist in the burgeoning magazine era; his authority as a literary critic and cultural arbiter; his courtly demeanor and sense of social propriety; his advocacy of women writers; his adaptation of art forms as diverse as the so-called "gutter press" and the haunting rhythms of African American spirituals; his borrowing of imagery from such popular social movements as temperance and freemasonry; and his far-reaching, posthumous influence.

James M. Hutchisson, Charleston, South Carolina, is a professor of American literature and southern studies at The Citadel.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Poet William Carlos Williams once remarked that "American literature is anchored in Poe." In this splendid critical biography, critic Hutchisson (English, The Citadel) demonstrates just how deeply indebted American letters remains to Edgar Allan Poe's craft and style. He chronicles Poe's childhood difficulties in Richmond, VA; his short-lived careers at the University of Virginia and West Point and in the army; and his development as a writer. While Poe is best remembered for his Gothic, often claustrophobic, tales of physical and psychological terror-e.g., "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Tell-Tale Heart"-Hutchisson argues that Poe really made his mark on American literature as a literary journalist and critic and that his work as a book reviewer helped hone the aesthetic principles he developed at length in "The Philosophy of Composition" and "The Poetic Principle." Hutchisson performs brilliant close readings of Poe's work, suggesting, e.g., that William Wilson can be read as a version of early American spiritual autobiographies like those by John Winthrop, Edward Taylor, and Jonathan Edwards. Though the contours of Poe's life are familiar, Hutchisson provides a fresh reading of his literary contributions that will not soon be surpassed. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Lancaster, PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604736533
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
Publication date:
12/22/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,182,362
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

James M. Hutchisson, Charleston, South Carolina, is a professor of American literature and southern studies at The Citadel.

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Poe 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EAPoe More than 1 year ago
Hutchisson's critical biography is a highly readable and informative account of Poe's life and works. It provides sound close readings of the tales and surpasses most biographies on Poe in its coverage of Poe's influence on later writers, both American and non-American. It is well-researched and balanced in its treatment of Poe's career as a poet, prose-fiction writer, journalist, and critic. It is a good biography for students of American literature to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gondin1NR More than 1 year ago
This is an absolutely enjoyable biography! I found that book grabbed me from the first page, and gives an insightful perspective on the mysterious author. It informs and delivers! This book is amazing!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Possibly the best biography on E.A. Poe ever written! I couldn't stop reading. Hutchisson puts a stop to all the nasty rumors about Poe, such as the one about him being addicted to opium.