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This collection of specially-commissioned essays by experts in the field explores key dimensions of Edgar Allan Poe's work and life. Contributions provide a series of alternative perspectives on one of the most enigmatic and controversial American writers. The essays, specially tailored to the needs of undergraduates, examine all of Poe's major writings, his poetry, short stories and criticism, and place his work in a variety of literary, cultural and political contexts. They situate his imaginative writings in relation to different modes of writing: humor, Gothicism, anti-slavery tracts, science fiction, the detective story, and sentimental fiction. Three chapters examine specific works: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, 'The Fall of the House of Usher', 'The Raven', and 'Ulalume'. The volume features a detailed chronology and a comprehensive guide to further reading, and will be of interest to students and scholars alike.
This introduction offers readings of Melville's masterpiece, but it also sets out the key themes, contexts, and critical reception of his entire oeuvre.
Edgar Allan Poe mastered a variety of literary forms over the course of his brief and turbulent career. As a storyteller, Poe defied convention by creating Gothic tales of mystery, horror, and suspense that remain widely popular today. This collection demonstrates how Poe's experience of early nineteenth-century American life fueled his iconoclasm and shaped his literary legacy. Rather than provide critical explications of his writings, each essay explores one aspect of Poe's immediate environment, using pertinent writings - verse, fiction, reviews, and essays - to suit. Examining his geographical, social, and literary contexts, as well as those created by the publishing industry and advances in science and technology, the essays paint an unprecedented portrait of Poe's life and times. Written for a wide audience, the collection will offer scholars and students of American literature, historians, and general readers new insight into Poe's rich and complex work.
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