Text: Kent Ljungquist, “Current Poe Activities,” Poe Studies, December 1982, Vol. XV, No. 2, 15:54-55


[page 54, column 2:]

Current Poe Activities


The ninth annual meeting of the Poe Studies Association, devoted to the subject “Poet-Critics on Poe,” took place in the Gibson Room of the New York Hilton on December 28, 1981, Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV (University of Mississippi) presiding. Matters of business included a financial report from Secretary-Treasurer Thomas H. Brown (University of Mississippi) and election of the following slate of officers: President, Fisher; Vice President and Program Chairman, Kent Ljungquist (Worcester Polytechnic Institute); Members-at-Large, Bruce I. Weiner (St. Lawrence University) and Dennis W. Eddings (Western Oregon State College). Speakers were Richard Wilbur (Smith College) on “Poe and the Art of Suggestion” and John Irwin (Johns Hopkins University) on “Mysteries We Reread and Mysteries of (Re) Reading: Poe and gorges.” Two new Honorary Members also received citations: Wilbur and Frederick Dannay (“Ellery Queen”).

The tenth annual meeting of the PSA occurred in the San Pedro Room of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, Los Angeles, on December 28, 1982, Fisher presiding. Papers included Robert Scholnick (College of William and Mary), “In Defense of Beauty: E. C. Stedman’s Advocacy of Poe”; Liliane Weissberg (Harvard University), “Allegory, Figurative Language, and the Problem of Narration”; and Richard Kopley (Illinois State University), “Poe’s Pym-esque ‘A Tale of the Ragged Mountains.‘” Members present approved an increase in dues to S5.00 per year; feted the organization’s newest Honorary Member, James W. Gargano (Washington and Jefferson College), and voted to send archival material to the Hubbell Center (Duke University). In observance of its tenth anniversary, the PSA commissioned a song cycle based on a selection of Poe’s shorter lyrics and epigrams. Composed by David P. McKay (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), “To One in Paradise” received its world premiere in the San Fernando Room of the Bonaventure on December 29, 1982. The theme of next year’s PSA program will be “Poe in the Classroom.” Send papers and proposals to Ljungquist at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

The 1982 meeting of the Northeast MLA (April 3-5), held at Hunter College in New York City, included a Poe Studies section, chaired by Fisher. Participants were Leonard Engel (Quinnipiac College), “Enclosure Motifs in ‘William Wilson‘”; Eddings, “Poe’s Parodic Raven”; and Rochie Laws (University of Mississippi), “Mathematical Motifs in ‘The Pit and the Pendulum.‘” The Poe session of the 1983 Northeast MLA, to be held at Allegheny College, Erie, Pennsylvania on April 15, will include the following papers: “Henry James and Poe: The Question of Maturity,” Gargano; “The Poem as Felony,” George Monteiro (Brown University); and “Linguistic Impotence in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher,‘” James Kerry Grant (St. Lawrence University). Frederick Frank (Allegheny College) also chaired a session on the gothic romance tradirion. Chairman of the Poe section was Weiner, Secretary, Donald Barlow Stauffer (SUNY Albany).

Professor Stauffer delivered the fifty-ninth annual Edgar Allan Poe lecture, “The Merry Mood: Poe and the Uses of Humor,” at the October 4, 1981, meeting of the Baltimore Poe Society. Participants at a special May 7, 1982, meeting of the Society included Mrs. Maureen Cobb Mabbott (“Reading ‘The Raven’ ”) and Fisher. On October 3, 1982, Ljungquist delivered the sixtieth annual Poe lecture, “The Grand and the Fair: Poe in the American Landscape.”

The commemorative lectures from 1975 to 1981, including Stauffer’s, are still available, as is Alexander G. Rose III’s “The History of the Poe Society 1923-1982” (630); write to Rose at 402 E. Gittings Avenue Baltimore, MD 21212. The Westminster Preservation Trust of ialtimore will sponsor several Poe-related activities at the renovated Westminster Hall, including a lecture “The Ruins of the House of Poe” by Daniel Hoffman (University of Pennsylvania) on April 5, 1983. “An Evening with Poe” by the Reader’s Theatre, Essex Community College, will occur on April 12, 1983.

Ljungquist spoke on “’Speculative Mythology’ in Poe and Melville” at the October 1981 meeting of the Canadian Association of American Studies in Montreal.

Kathleen A. McAuley, manager of the Poe Cottage at Fordham [page 55:] in the Bronx, invites each student of Poe to become a “Friend of Poe Cottage” through a tax-deductible membership donation, thus helping the Bronx County Historical Society to maintain the Cottage and to continue its program on Poe publications, lectures, readings, film festivals, theatrical and musical performances. Members will receive EUREKA!, a quarterly newsletter. Address: 3266 Bainbridge Avenue, The Bronx, NY 10476.

At the 1982 Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, sponsored by the Swann Fund and Florida Atlantic University, and held at the Sheraton Hotel, Boca Raton, Florida, March 10-13, Kopley chaired a two-part session, “The Fantastic in the Works of E. A. Poe.” Participants included Fisher, “The Flights of a Good Man’s Mind: Fantasy in ‘The Assignation‘”; Ljungquist, “The Titan Myth and the Fantastic Endings of Poe’s Pym and Melville’s Pierre”; Maurice J. Bennett (University of Maryland), “Art and Metaphysics in Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Hans Pfaall‘”; Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet (Eastern Kentucky University), “Poe’s Satiric Use of Vampirism in ‘Berenice‘”; Joseph Francavilla (SUNY, Buffalo), “Poe’s Uncanny Doubles”; and Carole Weisz (Pennsylvania State University), “Poe’s Night Terror: The Deep Sleep.”

Recent Dissertations: July 1980-December 1981

John A. Andola, “Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Use of Mesmerism in Four Major Works,” DAI, 42 (October 1981), 1631A-1632A; Brian Attebery, “America and the Materials of Fantasy,” DAI, 40 (May 1980), 58G2A; Corinne Demas Bliss, “The Short Story: Writer’s Control/Reader’s Response,” DAI, 41 (August 1980); Joan C. Dayan, “Designs in Indeterminacy: A Study of Poe and Mallarmc,” DAI, 41 (October 1980), 1579A-1589A; George E. Haggerty, “Gothic Fiction from Walpole to James: A Study of Formal Development,” DAI, 40 (January 1980), 4036A; Grace Farrell Lee, “The Grotesque: A Demonic Tradition,” DAI, 40 (January 1980), 4012A; Kay Stripling Perdue, “Poe, Simms, and the Call for a Southern Literature,” DAI, 42 (December 1981), 2678A; Patricia Fulton Teague, “Borges, Hawthorne, and Poe: A Study of Significant Parallels in Their Theories and Methods of Short Story Writing,” DAI, 40 (April 1980), 5461A; and Joanne Yates, “American Gothic: Sources of Terror in Fiction before the Civil War,” DAI, 41 (October 1980), 1602A.

Poe-Related Research

The Naiad Voice: Poe as a Satiric Hoaxer, edited by Dennis W. Eddings, will be published by Kennikat Press. The collection consists of previously published and revised essays on Poe as hoaxer and ironist and includes contributions by Richard P. Benton (Trinity College), James M. Cox (Dartmouth College), B. F. Fisher IV, James W. Gargano, Clark Griffith (University of Oregon), J. Gerald Kennedy (Louisiana State University), David Ketterer (Concordia University), Kent Ljungquist, Terence Martin (Indiana University), Robert Regan (University of Pennsylvania), Claude Richard (Universitc de Montpellier), G. R. Thompson (Purdue University) and Bruce Weiner.

The annual bibliography of Gothic Studies, previously published in Gothic, will appear in The Romantist, compiled by Gary Crawford, Fisher, Ljungquist, and Frank. The Haunted Dsusk: American Supernat?‘ral Fiction, 1820-1920, to be published by the University of Georgia Press, will contain an essay “Phantasms of Death in Poe’s Fiction” by Kennedy. Other contributors to this study of horror literature are Thompson and Barton Levi St. Armand (Brown University). And Horror Literature: A Core Collection and Reference Guide (R. R. Bowker), edited by Marshall Tymn, contains useful references on Poe and Poe’s influence. Contributors include Fisher, Crawford, Frank, Jack Sullivan, Steve Eng, and Mike Ashley.

In addition to its reprint edition of Sarah Helen Whitman’s Edgar Allan Poe and His Critics, Gordian Press has reprinted Selections from the Critical Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by F. C. Prescott with a new preface on Prescott by J. Lasley Dameron (Memphis State University) and a new introduction on Poe’s criticism by Eric W. Carlson (University of Connecticut). Gordian has also published Burton Pollin’s Word Index to Poe’s Fiction, based on Mabbott’s edition of the tales and his own Poe’s Imaginary Voyages. Professor Pollin has deposited the expanded computer printouts for this index, providing locations for words [column 2:] used up to 336 times, at a variety of research libraries; at present, it is available at the New York Public Library, at the Lilly Library of Indiana University at Bloomington, and at the Washington State University Library. Copies of specific pages or sections of the printout may be ordered at 10 cents per page, $1.50 handling charge, from the Interlibrary Loan Office, Holland Library, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-5610.

John Ward Ostrom’s “Revised Checklist of the Correspondence of Edgar Allan Poe” appeared in the 1981 Studies in the American Renaissance, edited by Joel Myerson (University of South Carolina). Essays on Poe and Victor Cousin by Glen A. Omans (Temple University) and on Poe and Frances Sargent Osgood by Ljungquist and Buford Jones (Duke University) will appear in subsequent issues.

ATQ: American Transcendental Quarterly, Issue No. 44 (Fall 1979), features three articles each on Melville and Hawthorne and one on Poe, “The Writer in the Crowd: Poe’s Urban Vision,” by Linda P. Miller. And Delta, No. 12 (May 1981) contains three articles of interest to students of Poe: “‘Discovery’ in Poe” by Allan Gardner-Smith; “L‘ou l‘indicibilite de Dieu: une lecture de ‘Ligeia‘” by Claude Richard; and “Poe poete de la connaissance” by Isabelle Rieusset.

Melvin Zimmerman calls attention to his “Baudelaire, Rousseau et Poe” in Basudelaire, Rovsseaa et Hugo in the collection Langages, vol. IX of Etudes Bavdelairiennes (Nouvelle Serie 1), Neuchatel, A la Baconniere, 1981, 31-71. This study comparff the childhood memories of William Wilson to those of Jean-Jacques, and overall, Baudelaire’s sympathetic-emphatic identification with each. And “The Daguerreotypes of Edgar Allan Poe Taken in New England in 1848” by Ichigoro Uchida has been reprinted from Collected Essays (Kyoritsu Women’s Junior College), No. 25, February 1982, pp. 1-15.

“Poe’s England and the Divided Self” appears as chapter 5 in Anglo-American Encounters: England and the Rise of American Literature (Cambridge University Press) by Benjamin Lease (Northeastern Illinois University) . Lease discusses Poe’s transforming of tales in Blac/ewood’s that served as models for “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “William Wilson,” as well as for his satire, “How to Write a Blackwood Article.”

Why Poe Drank Liquor is volume II in Marion Montgomery’s trilogy on “The Prophetic Poet and the Spirit of the Age,” to be published by Sherwood Sugden. The forthcoming Poe issue of University of Mississippi Studies in English will include essays by Richard Wilbur, David Hirsch (Brown University), Joan C. Dayan (Yale University), James W. Gargano, Kent Ljungquist, Donald Barlow Stauffer, and Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet. Maurice Bennett’s essay on Poe and Borges will appear in Comparative Literature; he has also written an essay on Borges and “William Wilson.” And the five-volume Survey of Modern Fantasy Literature, to be published by Salem Press, will include essays by Kopley on The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, and Ljungquist on Poe’s short fiction.

Liliane Weissberg’s Edgar Allan Poe (Metzler) will explore Poe’s influence on contemporary German writers, with particular artention to Arno Schmitt. Thelma Johnson’s study, “Poe’s Poetry as Literary Criticism,” will focus on the Poe-Tennyson relationship. And Pollin has been awarded a NEH grant for work on the continuing edition of Poe’s Collected Writings.

Poe and the Arts

In addition to his recenrly completed song cycle, David P. McKay has composed vocal settings of other Poe texts, including “Annabel Lee,” “To Helen” and “Eldorado.” His chamber opera version of “The Devil in the Belfry” will be published by C. T. Wagner, librerto by Kent Ljungquist.

On April 24, 1982, the Poe society of Richmond (the Poe Foundation) marked irs “Diamond Jubilee‘’ year, the Museum having been opened for the first time in April of 1922. A number of restored paintings, including that of Jane Scott MacKenzie, were on display for the first time. Burton R. Pollin presented his illustrated lecture on “The Works of Edgar A. Poe as Interpreted by Artists of the World.”

Kent Ljungquist, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


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