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.
Kevin J. Hayes is Professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma. Editor of The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe, he has published several books on American literature, history and culture, including Poe and the Printed Word (2000) and The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson (2008).
List of illustrations; Notes on contributors; Preface; Part I. Geographical Contexts: 1. Great Britain Christopher Gair; 2. The south James Hutchisson; 3. The American west Nathaniel Lewis; 4. The sea David Dowling; 5. France Andrea Goulet; 6. The Near East Travis Montgomery; 7. The polar regions Mark Canada; Part II. Social Contexts: 8. The urban environment Bran Nicol; 9. Curiosity Lindsey Hursh; 10. Alcohol, addiction, and rehabilitation Paul Fisher; 11. Fashion, furnishings, and style Patricia A. Cunningham; 12. The American stage Philip E. Phillips; 13. Lions and bluestockings Anne Boyd Rioux; 14. Slavery and abolitionism Paul Christian Jones; 15. The cult of mourning Therese M. Rizzo; Part III. The Contexts of Publishing: 16. The literary profession John Evelev; 17. Magazines Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock; 18. Gift books Kathryn K. Shinn; 19. Literary piracy Michael Everton; 20. The art of reviewing Jonathan Hartmann; 21. The politics of publishing Amy Branam; Part IV. Literary Contexts: 22. Ancient classics Gregory Hays; 23. Rabelais and Lesage Lois Davis Vines; 24. The Gothic movement Alan Brown; 25. Byron Chris Beyers; 26. Folk narrative Katherine Kim; 27. Transcendentalism Heidi Silcox; 28. Charles Dickens Tara Moore; 29. Nathaniel Hawthorne and the art of the tale Meghan A. Freeman; Part V. Scientific and Pseudoscientific Contexts: 30. Phrenology Brett Zimmerman; 31. Photography Satwik Dasgupta; 32. Mesmerism Bruce Mills; 33. Architecture Alvin Holm; 34. Fiction science Peter Swirski; 35. Cosmology and cosmogony Jonathan Taylor; 36. Forensic science Benjamin F. Fisher; 37. Technology John Tresch; Further reading.
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