Text: Kent Ljungquist, “Current Poe Activities,” Poe Studies, December 1979, Vol. XII, No. 2, 12:44


[page 44:]

Current Poe Activities


The Poe Studies Association held its eighth annual meeting at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco on the morning of 29 December 1979, J. Lasley Dameron presiding. The program was devoted to the theme “Poe and His Contemporaries.” Speakers included John E. Reilly (Holy Cross), “Poe and Sarah Helen Whitman”; Kent Ljungquist (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), “Poe and Francis Sargent Osgood”; and Arlin Turner (Southwest Texas State University), “Poe and Hawthorne.”

There will be a Poe Section at the 1980 NEMLA Convention to be held at Southeastern Massachusetts University, North Dartmouth, Mass., March 20-22. The program, to be chaired by Steven K. Hoffman (Virginia Polytechnic and State University), will focus on the topic “Poe in the Twentieth Century.” Papers will include “There, but for the Grace of God, Go 1: Eliot and Williams on Poe,” Laura J. Menides (Worcester Polytechnic Institute); “The Lucid Pleasures of Thought and the Secret Adventures of Order: Edgar Allan Poe and Jorge Luis gorges,” Maurice J. Bennett (University of Maryland); and “Poe’s Impact on Stephen King and John Dickson Carr; or, How to Recreate a Dead Author in Your Own Image,” Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV (University of Mississippi).

At a meeting of the Baltimore Poe Society on October 7, 1979, J. Lasley Dameron (Memphis State University) delivered the fifty-seventh annual Edgar Allan Poe lecture, “Popular Literature: Poe’s Not-So-Soon-Forgotten Lore.” The lecture was co-sponsored by the Poe Society and the Enoch Pratt Free Library. Plans proceed apace on the restoration of the Amity Street Poe House and of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, site of the annual laying of memorial wreaths on Poe’s tomb. Richard P. Benton’s 1978 lecture, “‘Bedlam Patterns’: Love and Madness in Poe’s Fiction,” is available at $2.50 a copy from Alexander G. Rose, Poe Society of Baltimore, 402 E. Gittings Ave., Baltimore, MD 21212. Future publications will include Mrs. Thomas Ollive Mabbott’s “Mabbott as Poe Scholar: The Early Years” and Rose’s The History of the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, 1923-1980.


Poe Research

Beginning in 1980 with the long narratives of Poe (Pym, “Hans Pfaall,” and “Julius Rodman”), G. K. Hall Corporation of Boston will publish the complete writings, save for those already issued by the Harvard University Press. Under the editorship of Burton R. Pollin (or collaborating editors for specific volumes), this edition, with critical apparatus, textual notes, and commentaries, will include all of Poe’s ascribed writings, all his unsigned and uncollected works, and available unpublished manuscripts and lecture-reports. His editorial and critical materials in magazines such as the Broadway Journal and Graham’s Magazine will be part of this multivolume edition, which will make use of the materials left by the late Thomas Ollive Mabbott.

John Ward Ostrom’s “Revised Checklist of Poe’s Correspondence” will appear in Studies in the American Renaissance. Professor Ostrom would appreciate any additions or corrections to the previous checklist sent to him at 823 Snowhill Boulevard, Springfield, OH 45504.

Elizabeth Phillips (Wake Forest) has written on “Poe’s ladies” for the reference guide, American Women Writers from Colonial Times to 1960 (Ungar). Her Poe: An American Imagination — Three Essays has been published by Kennikat Press.

G. R. Thompson (Purdue) has written the Poe entry for the Dictionary of Literary Biography, edited by Joel Myerson for Gale Research Company.

As a 1978-79 Fulbright Lecturer, J. Gerald Kennedy (Louisiana State University) lectured on Poe in Italy and West Germany. His West German lecture, “Poe’s Dupin and the Television Sleuth,” is slated for 1980 publication in a collection of essays on American literature and the mass media.

David Ketterer (Concordia University) announces that his Rationale of Deception in Poe (Louisiana State University Press) forms the central volume in a trilogy begun by New Worlds for Old: The Apocalyptic imagination, Science Fiction, and American Literature. “New Worlds for Old presumes to establish a literary category, the Poe book is an extended study of one author within that category, and Frankenstein’s Creation: The Book, the Monster, and Human Reality (University of Victoria English Literary Studies series, 1979) is an extended study of one book within the same category.”

Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV and Thomas Brown (University of Mississippi) are editing the 1843 Saturday Museum sketch of Poe by Henry B. Hirst.

Cameron Nickels (James Madison University) is editing the autobiography of Elizabeth Oakes Smith and would appreciate any information about the Poe-Smith relationship.

David K. Jackson, assisted by Dwight Thomas, is preparing a volume on Poe in the G. K. Hall “Log series.” Joseph O. Ridgely is editing correspondence to Poe, also for Hall.


Recent Dissertations

Dwight R. Thomas, “Poe in Philadelphia, 1838~1844: A Documentary Record,” DAI, 39 (1978), 1578-A; Dwayne L. Thorpe, “The Infernal Twoness: The Effects of Time and the Ideal in the Poetry and Poetic Theory of Edgar Allan Poe,” DAI, 39 (1978), 2280-A; Bruce I. Weiner, “The Real Poe: His Art of Verisimilitude,” DAI, 39 (1979), 67G9-A.

Dissertations which deal partially with Poe are as follows: Judith Cleveland Sutherland, “At the Edge: Problematic Fictions of Poe, James, and Hawthorne,” DAI, 39 (1978), 289-A — 290-A; Mark J. Estern, “Horrors Within and Without: A Psychoanalytic Study of Edgar Allan Poe and Howard Phillips Lovecraft,” DAI, 39 (1978), 1565-A; Ellen H. Frankel, “Romantic Duplicity: Allegory and Irony in Poe and Baudelaire,” DAI, 39 (1978), 2235-A.


Poe in Philadelphia

Coinciding with a public exhibition of manuscripts, letters, and editions from the Gimbel collection, the Free Library, supported by grants from the Public Committee for the Humanities in Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Humanities, sponsored “Prism of Terror: An Exploration of Edgar Allan Poe,” from April 22 to June 4. This series of programs included ‘The Ruins of the House of Poe,” a lecture by Daniel Hoffman (University of Pennsylvania); various films based on Poe’s works with attendant discussion by film critics; and “A Journey Through the Mind . . . Edgar Allan Poe,” featuring actor Will Stutts.

The proposed restoration of the Poe House on N. Seventh St. has encountered serious obstacles. Federal and state funds had been earmarked for work on the building in which Poe and Virginia lived from 1843 to 1844. Rather than a restoration, a severe “remodeling” took place, which involved removal of period hardware, improper covering of wall surfaces, and destruction of masonry. As ironically befits the location which purportedly inspired “The Black Cat,” sloppy masonry has betrayed a “crime” against a literary landmark.


Poe in Performance

The CBS Radio Mystery Theater presented a series of hour-long dramas this summer, including productions of “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Oblong Box,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Black Cat,” “Berenice,” and “The Premature Burial.”


Poe Mystery Novels

Five mystery novels, each with Poe appearing as a fictional character, have recently been published. N. Z. Zaroulis’ The Poe Papers (Harcourt Brace), a retelling of James’ The Aspern Papers, concerns a ruthless treasure hunter who descends upon the household of Annie Richmond in quest of priceless Poe letters. Manny Myers’ The Last Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe (Lippincott), termed by its author a “mystery/history,” involves the murder of two society heiresses in New York. Marc Olden’s Poe Must Die (Grosset & Dunlap) pits Poe against demonic forces. Child of Night by Anne Edwards (Popular Library) coaxes Poe from the grave, as does Dwight and Barbara Steward’s Evermore (Morrow), in which Poe survives long beyond his death to solve a mystery in Paris.

Kent Ljungquist, Worcester Polytechnic institute


Associated Article(s) and Related Material:

  • None


[S:0 - PS, 1979]