Text: Kent Ljungquist, “Current Poe Activities,” Poe Studies / Dark Romanticism, June 1986, Vol. XIX, No. 1, 19:25-26


[page 25, column 2:]

Current Poe Activities

Organizations and Meetings

The thirteenth annual meeting of the Poe Studies Association took place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Chicago, on December 30, 1985. Kent Ljungquist (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) presiding. After announcing the transfer of the organization’s newsletter to Pennsylvania State University, DuBois, Ljungquist read a citation for Burton R. Pollin (CUNY, Emeritus), the organization’s newest Honorary Member. The following papers were presented: Alan Golding (University of Mississippi), “Poe, Longfellow, and the Heresy of the Didactic”; Stanton Garner (University of Texas, Arlington), “Symbolism in ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’ ”; and E. Kate Stewart (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), “The Supreme Madness: Revenge in ‘The Cask of Amontillado.’ ” Newly elected officers included David H. Hirsch (Brown University), President; Glen A. Omans (Temple University), Vice President and Program Chairman; and John T. Irwin Johns Hopkins University) and Maurice Bennett (University of Maryland), Executive Committee Members. [page 26:]

Omans chaired a session on Poe at the Northeast MLA, Hyatt Regency Hotel, New Brunswick, New Jersey, April 3-5, 1986. Speakers included Mary G. De Jong (Pennsylvania State University, Shenango), “The Literary Alliance of Poe and Frances Sargent Osgood”; Jonathan Auerbach (University of Maryland), “The Horror Relations in Poe’s ‘The Man of the Crowd’ “. and Fred Madden (Ithaca College), ” ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’: Poe’s Tall Tale.” Dana Brand (Rutgers University) will chair the 1987 Poe session at NEMLA. At other sessions at the convention, the following Poe-related papers were read: Robert Regan (University of Pennsylvania), “Poe’s Holy Friars: Confession and the Role of the Reader,” and Ljungquist, “The Identity of ‘Outis’: A Further Chapter in the Poe-Longfellow War.”

David Ketterer (Concordia University) chaired a Poe session at the Annual Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, Houston, Texas, March 12-16, 1986. Speakers included Jules Zanger (Southern Illinois University), “Pym’s Ending and Pym’s End: The Resolution of the Indeterminate”; Joan Tyler Mead (Marshall University), “Debussy’s Opera: ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ ”; and Takayuki Tatsumi (Cornell University), “Violence as Metaphor: Deconstruction of Authority in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.” Ketterer invites papers and proposals for next year’s Poe session in Houston.

At the sixty-third commemorative program of the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, on October 6, 1985, Alexander G. Rose (University of Baltimore, Emeritus) discussed a listing of possible subscribers and contributors to Poe’s projected magazines, a document found in the collection of Poe memorabilia in the Enoch Pratt Free Library. With his co-editor Jeffrey A. Savoye, Rose has published his findings as a pamphlet, Such Friends as These: Edgar Allan Poe’s List of Subscribers and Contributors to His Dream Magazine. The pamphlet includes as an appendix a series of Mrs. Maria Clemm’s riddles. The speaker at the 1986 meeting of the Baltimore Poe Society was Bruce I. Weiner (St. Lawrence University). To celebrate Poe’s 177th birthday on January 19, 1986, the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia presented a series of programs on Poe’s satires and hoaxes.

Proposals and papers have been submitted and evaluated for a research conference on The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym to be held on Nantucket Island in the spring of 1988. Keynote speaker will be G. Richard Thompson (Purdue University). Guest of Honor will be John Barth. Inquiries may be directed to Richard Kopley (Pennsylvania State University, DuBois).


Poe-Related Research and Publications

Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV (University of Mississippi) is working on A Reader’s Guide to Poe’s Fiction. Bibliographical projects completed by Fisher include entries on Poe for Research Guide to Biography and Criticism, edited by Walton Beacham (Research Publishing) and for Detective and Mystery Fiction: An Annotated Bibliography of Secondary Sources (Brownstone Books), edited by Walter Albert (University of Pittsburgh). J. Gerald Kennedy (Louisiana State University) has finished a study that explores the connection between death and writing in Poe’s works, a monograph to be published by Yale University Press. The Poe Log, prepared by David K. Jackson and Dwight Thomas, will be published by G. K. Hall. In The Friends of the Lilly Library Newsletter (Spring 1985), J. Albert Robbins (Indiana University) reports the acquisition of a hitherto unknown Poe letter and a holograph copy of “For Annie.” A complete textual collation of all eight versions of “For Annie” appears in an article by Robbins in Studies in Bibliography (1985).

Dennis Berthold (Texas A & M University) discusses Poe in a study he is preparing on the picturesque movement in American literature. Beth L. Lueck (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) includes an analysis of “The Domain of Arnheim” in her current research project on the picturesque tour from 1790 to 1850. Ljungquist is preparing a study of William Howitt’s impact on Poe’s landscape aesthetics.

Sara E. Selby’s “The Music of Mr. Poe” appeared in the Publications of the Mississippi Philological Association (1985). Burton R. Pollin (CUNY, Emeritus) continues his research on the roles of song and music in the formulation of Poe’s poetic theories.

The Genius of Edgar Allan Poe by George Zayed (Boston College) has been published by the Schenkman Publishing Company. [column 2:] Modern Critical Views: Edgar Allan Poe (Chelsea House Publishers), edited with an introduction by Harold Bloom (Yale University), reprints essays by Paul Valery, D. H. Lawrence, Richard Wilbur, Clark Griffith (University of Oregon), Daniel Hoffman (University of Pennsylvania), John T. Irwin Johns Hopkins University), and Shoshana Felman (Yale University).

No Fairer Land: Studies in Southern Literature before 1900 (Whitson), edited by J. Lasley Dameron (Memphis State University) and James W. Matthews (West Georgia College), contains essays on Poe by Dameron, Elizabeth Phillips (Wake Forest University, Emeritus), and the late Helen Ensley. The volume includes a study of the theatrical career of Elizabeth Arnold Poe by Elena Zimmerman (Clayton Junior College). A discussion of Poe appears in The American Short Story before 1850: A Critical History (G. K. Hall) by Eugene Current-Garcia (Auburn University, Emeritus).

Guide to tbe Gothic: An Annotated Bibliography of Secondary Criticism (Scarecrow), compiled by Frederick S. Frank (Allegheny College), contains a survey of criticism on Poe. In the Circles of Fear and Desire: A Study of Gothic Fantasy (University of Chicago Press) by William Patrick Day (Oberlin College) includes analyses of “Berenice” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.”


Poe in Performance

A dramatic adaptation of “Usher” by Steven Berkoff, with music by Andrew Bolton, was produced at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, in March 1985. In addition to appearing regularly in Poe . . . Alone, Norman George played the lead role in The Death of Edgar Allan Poe: Drama Fantastique in Two Acts by Wendell Cordtz, a period thriller produced at Manhattan’s Judson Memorial Church from February 27 to March 2, 1986. Cordtz directed the play for the Stanford Group, Inc.

Ned Rorem’s “An American Oratorio,” based on texts by nineteenth-century American authors, made its debut in Pittsburgh, January 4-6, 1985. According to Burton Pollin, Rorem’s setting of an early version of “To Helen” received special praise from several reviewers. Laura Raidonis-Gillis has completed Raven among the Vultures, a play that deals with Rufus Griswold’s harassment of Poe. According to the author, “The play presents a trial, in Purgatory; the jury is played by the audience.” Inquiries to the author may be directed to 3520 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60657. Jeffrey Elwell (Virginia Intermont College) has adapted The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym for dramatic performance, in which Poe serves as a narrator, as though he were writing the book and conversing with and controlling the characters, thereby fusing literature with performance.


Poe Memorial

A memorial stone for Poe was unveiled on May 12, 1985, in New York City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Poe, along with Herman Melville, joins Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Washington Irving in an American version of Poet’s Corner.

Kent Ljungquist, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


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[S:0 - PSDR, 1980]