Text: Kent Ljungquist, “Current Poe Activities,” Poe Studies, June 1985, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, 18:15-16


[page 15:]

Current Poe Activities

Organizations and Meetings

The twelfth annual meeting of the Poe Studies Association took place in the Colorado Room of the Sheraton Hotel, Washington, D.C., on December 28, 1984, Kent Ljungquist (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) presiding. In the absence of Program Chairman David H. Hirsch (Brown University), Ljungquist introduced speakers on the topic, “American Theoretics: Poe Studies.” They included Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV (University of Mississippi), “Cities by the Sea and Away from the Sea”; J. Gerald Kennedy (Louisiana State University), “Epistolary Masks: Poe and the Enigma of the Author”; George Monteiro (Brown University), “Poe/Poe/Pessoa”; and Glen A. Omans (Temple University), “The Sentiment of the Beautiful: Sense or Nonsense.”

The PSA meeting was held in conjunction with the convention of the Modern Language Association of America, at which the following Poe-related papers were presented: Syndy M. Conger (Western Illinois University), “Another Secret of the Rue Morgue: E. A. Poe’s Transformation of the Geisterseher Motif“, Frederick Garber (State University of New York, Binghamton), “Self Places and Home Places in Poe’s Fiction”; and Dana Brand (Rutgers University), “Aestheticism and the American Self: Sources and Anticipations of American Individualism in Emerson, Poe, and Hawthorne.”

Richard Kopley (Pennsylvania State University, DuBois) chaired a session on Poe at the Northeast MLA, Sheraton Hotel, Hartford, Connecticut, March 28-30, 1985. Papers included Richard G. Woodbridge III, “Poe and the Ferment of the Times, or the Maelstrom that was J. N. Reynolds”; William E. Lenz (Chatham College), “Poe’s Arthur Gordon Pym and the Narrative Techniques of Antarctic Gothic”; and Alan Gribben (University of Texas, Austin), “The Poe-ness of Mark Twain.”

At a special meeting of the Benjamin Franklin Literary Society, held November 7, 1983, at Washington and Jefferson College, Fisher addressed ‘‘Recent Trends in Poe Scholarship”; Bruce Weiner (St. Lawrence University) read a paper on mystery and detection; and Dwayne Thorpe (Washington and Jefferson College) spoke on Poe’s poems, centering on “Ulalume.” James W. Gargano (Washington and Jefferson College) presided.

At the annual meeting of the Arkansas Philological Association, Conway, November 18-19, 1983, Fisher gave a paper on ‘‘Gothic Elements in ‘The Assignation‘” which will be published in Modern Language Studies. Ljungquist spoke on “Poe and the Literary Ladies: A Reconsideration” at the American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, Mass.) on December 7, 1983. He will survey Poe criticism in the 1984 American Literary Scholarship (Duke University Press). The sixty-second annual commemorative lecture of the Baltimore Poe Society was presented by Glen Omans on “Poe and Passion” on October 7, 1984.

Poe-Related Research and Publications

Recently published books which deal with Poe include Claude Delarue’s Edgar Poe (Paris: Ballard, 1984), briefly reviewed by Patrick Thevenon in L‘Express, 21 September 1984; David Lyttle (Syracuse University), Studies in Religion in Early American Literature (University Press of America, 1983), with a chapter entitled “Electrical Will,” dealing with Eureka, “Monos and Una,” and “Usher” as expressions of Poe’s philosophical vision; Jefferson Humphries (Louisiana State University), Metaphorphoses of the Raven: Literary Overdeterminedness in France arud the South Since Poe (LSU Press, 1984); Judith L. Sutherland, The Problematic Fictions oJ Poe, James, and Hawthorne (University of Missouri Prffs), with a chapter on Pym; and Paul Metcalf, the great-grandson of Herman Melville, Both (East Haven, Conn.: Jargon Society Press, 1982), a pastiche of the lives of Poe and John Wilkes Booth, drawn from letters, biography, and imaginative works. The American Renaissance Reconsidered: Selected Papers from the English Institute, 1982-83 (Johns Hopkins University Press, ed. Walter Ben Michaels (University of California, Berkeley) and Donald Pease (Dartmouth College), includes “The [column 2:] Secret Autobiography of Edgar Allan Poe” by Louis Renza (Dartmouth) .

Two recently published editions of Poe are The Unabridged Edgar Allan Poe (Running Press, 1983), ed. Tam Mossman, presenting the poems and tales in the order of their first appearance in print; and two volumes in the Library of America series, Poetry and Tales, ed. Patrick Quinn (Wellesley College) and Essays and Reviews, ed. G. R. Thompson (Purdue University). The last two are available to members of the Poe Studies Association at a forty percent discount; write the Library of America, 14 East 60th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022. PSA members may also subscribe to Poe Studies at a twenty percent discount.

Two books soon to be published are Kent Ljungquist, The Grand and the Fair: Poe’s Landscape Aesthetics and Pictorial Techniques (Scripta Humanistica); and Evan Carton (University of Texas, Austin), The Rhetoric of American Romance: Dialectic and Identity in Emerson, Dickinson, Poe, and Hawthorne (Johns Hopkins University Press) . Dana Brand’s essay ‘The ‘Flaneur’ to the Detective: Interpreting the City of Poe” is forthcoming in Genre.

The Bibliography of Gothic Studies (Gothic Press), comp. Frederick S. Frank (Allegheny College), Gary Crawford, Steve Eng, and Ljungquist, will appear in chapbook form, covering secondary criticism from 1981-1983. B. F. Fisher’s The Gothic’s Gothic (Garland Press) is a bibliography covering secondary criticism. Volume one of a concordance to Poe’s works, prepared by Elizabeth Wiley (Susquehanna University) is also forthcoming (Susquehanna University Press).

Scholars with Poe research currently underway include J. Gerald Kennedy, working on a book on the relationship between death and writing in Poe’s works; Maurice Bennett (University ‘uf Maryland), researching the Poe-Borges relationship; Eric W. Carlson (University of Connecticut, emeritus), preparing a Poe volume for G. K. Hall’s “Critical Essays‘’ series; Mary Gosselinl; De Jong (Pennsylvania State University, Shenango), studying the life and works of Frances Sargent Osgood and her relationship with Poe and Rufus Griswold; E. Kate Stewart (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), working on sources of “The Black Cat” and revenge motifs in “The Cask of Amontillado; and Brad Parker, writing a book on famous nineteenth-century figures who lived in or visited Lowell, Mass., including Poe’s visits to Lowell and Westford.

Poe in Performance

Actor Norman George appeared in a dramatic performance, “Poe . . . Alone,‘’ in the Lynn City Hall (Lynn, Mass.) on August 25, 1984. George has appeared as Poe elsewhere and, along with Bruce V. English of the Richmond Poe Foundation, participated in the 18 November 1984 commemoration of Poe’s visits to Providence, R.I., sponsored by the Providence Athenaeum. Alexander Rose and Carol Peirce (University of Baltimore) presented a program, “Poe’s Women in Poetry,” on October 21, 1984, at the Baltimore Museum of Art. A chamber opera version of Poe’s “The Devil in the Belfry,” music by David McKay and libretto by Kent Ljungquist, was performed at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on November 8, 1984. The program included musical settings of poems by Poe and Sarah Helen Whitman. Brad Parker (Chelmsford, Mass.) organized an “Edgar Allan Poe Day‘’ in Westford, Mass. in October 1983.

Recent Dissertations: June 1983-June 1984

Susan Antoinette Garfield, “The Appearance of Reality/The Reality of Appearance: Art, Scicnce, and Mathematics in the Works of Borges and Poe,” DAI, 44 (October 1983), 1080A; Beverly A. Hume, “The Framing of Evil: Romantic Visions and Revisions in American Fiction,” DAI, 44 (June 1984), 3685A; Beth Lynne Lueck, “The Sublime and the Picturesque in American Landscape Description,” DAI, 44 (October 1983), 1087A; Douglas J. Robinson, “American Apocalypses: The Image of the End [page 16:] of the World in American Literature,” DAI, 44 (December 1983), 1793A; April A. Selley, “Behind the Veil: The ‘Voice from Beyond’ in American Literature,” DAI, 44 (January 1984) 2150A; and Pauline Marie Uruburu, “The Gruesome Doorway A Definition of the American Grotesque,” DAI, 44 (December 1983), 1794A.

Kent Ljungquist, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


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