Annual Edgar Allan Poe Commemorative Lecture (2015)


Since 1923, the Poe Society has sponsored an annual commemorative lecture on the life and/or works of Edgar Allan Poe, presented by a noted Poe scholar. This lecture is always held on the first Sunday in October, more-or-less coinciding with the anniversary of Poe’s death. Prior to this event, it is traditional for members of the Poe Society to gather at Poe’s grave, placing flowers on the monument in a brief and informal ceremony to honor Poe’s memory.

These Poe Society events are free and open to the public. (Please note changes in order, timing and location for the events this year.)

Sunday, October 4, 2015: (*** Event is still on for Oct. 4. The date has not been moved ***)

1:30 p.m. - 93rd Commemorative Edgar Allan Poe Lecture

Location: Invent & Advance Rooms, University of Maryland BioPark, 1st Floor, 801 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. (The University of Maryland BioPark is only a few blocks away from Westminster Hall and the University of Maryland Hospital, just on the western side of Martin Luther King Blvd. Free parking is available on the street.)

Welcome, and Introduction of the Speaker

Address: “Crisis, Anxiety, and Disorder: Poe’s Unintelligible Something” by Scott Chancellor (former Instructor and Assistant Professor, United States Military Academy at West Point).

Abstract of the lecture: “Crisis, Anxiety, and Disorder: Poe’s Unintelligible Something”

Poe’s fictions are replete with calamities of perception — with characters undone by “weak” and “distempered vision” (“The Spectacles” and “Berenice”) and by a “morbid acuteness of the senses” (“Usher”). In the case of Pym, the narrator hurdles “into the embraces of the cataract” only to be consumed by “perfect whiteness.” What we rediscover in Poe is an irreconcilable space between the focused and the obscured, the declared and the dormant, the punctuated and the illegible. Poe amplifies a root crisis of othering that resonates to this day within a nation that both confronts and resists the images of its past and the anxieties that those legacies engender.

Response/Discussion and Questions from the audience.


2:30 p.m. - Reception

Location: Invent & Advance Rooms, University of Maryland BioPark, 1st Floor, 801 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. Punch and cookies will be available. This reception is co-sponsored by the Division of English and Communications Design of the University of Baltimore.


3:30 p.m. - Tribute to Poe at the Poet’s Grave

Location: Westminster Burying Ground, at the corner of Fayette and Greene Streets
(This year we are combining our usual brief and informal ceremony with the more substantial tribute organized by Jeff Jerome, Curator Emeritus of the Poe House and Museum. Anyone wishing to bring flowers to be placed on Poe’s grave is welcome to do so.) (*** We will still hold a brief wreath laying event at Poe’s Grave at the scheduled time and place, although Jeff Jerome has moved the larger proceedings at the graveside to Oct. 10.***)




Please note that the order, timing and location for events has been altered from previous years. The Edgar Allan Poe Room at the Enoch Pratt Free Library is not available due to a major multi-year renovation project at the main library. The Poe Society is grateful to Jane Shaab for making space at the BioPark available to us for this event.




[S:1 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Poe Society - Annual Commemorative Lecture