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Edgar Allan Poe

Beyond Gothicism

James M. Hutchisson - Contributions by Amy C. Branam; Dennis Eddings; Benjamin F. Fisher; Peter Goodwin; Kevin J. Hayes; Leon Jackson; John F. Jebb; Daniel Phillippon; Laura Saltz; C T. Walters and Justin Wert

Most frequently regarded as a writer of the supernatural, Poe was actually among the most versatile of American authors, writing social satire, comic hoaxes, mystery stories, science fiction, prose poems, literary criticism and theory, and even a play. As a journalist and editor, Poe was closely in touch with the social, political, and cultural trends of nineteenth-century America. Recent scholarship has linked Poe's imaginative writings to the historical realities of nineteenth-century America, including to science and technology, wars and politics, the cult of death and bereavement, and, most controversially, to slavery and stereotyped attitudes toward women.

Edgar Allan Poe: Beyond Gothicism presents a systematic approach to topical criticism of Poe, revealing a new portrait of Poe as an author who blended topics of intellectual and social importance and returned repeatedly to these ideas in different works and using different aesthetic strategies during his brief but highly productive career. Twelve essays point readers toward new ways of considering Poe's themes, techniques, and aesthetic preoccupations by looking at Poe in the context of landscapes, domestic interiors, slavery, prosody, Eastern cultures, optical sciences, Gothicism, and literary competitions, clubs, and reviewing.
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University Press Copublishing Division / University of Delaware Press
Pages: 250Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
978-1-61149-068-8 • Hardback • August 2011 • $79.00 • (£52.95)
978-1-61149-476-1 • Paperback • June 2013 • $40.99 • (£27.95)
James M. Hutchisson is professor of American and Southern literature and director of graduate study in English at the Citadel.
1 Introduction
2 "Poe's 'Philosophy of Furniture' and the Aesthetics of Fictional Design"
3 Race, Pirates, and Intellect: A Reading of Poe's "The Gold Bug"
4 Storytelling, Narrative Authority, and Death in "The Thousand and Second Tale of Scheherazade"
5 The Man in the Text: Reading Masculinity in "The Man That Was Used Up," "The Man of the Crowd," and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue"
6 Gothic DisPLACEments: Poe's South in Politian
7 Poe in the Ragged Mountains: Environmental History and Romantic Aesthetics
8 "King Pest" and the Tales of the Folio Club
9 Understanding "Why the Little Frenchman Wears His Hand in a Sling"
10 "Eyes which Behold": Poe's "Domain of Arnheim" and the Science of Vision
11 "A Species of Literature Almost Beneath Contempt": Edgar Allan Poe and the World of Literary Competitions
12 Poe's Early Criticism of American Fiction:The Southern Literary Messenger and the Fiction of Robert Montgomery Bird
13 Mad Ravings, Sound Philosophy, and Poe's Review of Elizabeth Barrett Browning
14 General Bibliography
15 Index
Poe is best known for his works of the supernatural and horror, but those stories--52 in all--are only part of his oeuvre. Poe was an editor and literary critic and also a satirist, hoaxer, mystery writer, pioneer in the science fiction genre, poet, and even playwright. This larger body of work is often ignored, causing him to be considered an isolated figure in US literary history. Hutchisson (The Citadel; Poe, 2005) has edited an important collection that explores the multifaceted, multitalented Poe and reveals his place in broader American literary history. The essays take into account Poe's essays on aesthetics and criticism, Poe in the context of the South and 19th-century issues of race, his detective fiction beyond the obvious Dupin stories, and his stories long considered to be inconsequential or in violation of his own statements of form or genre. The Edgar Allan Poe who emerges from this collection is one who warrants renewed critical attention; the book as a whole argues for reconsidering which of Poe's works should be included in anthologies and studied in the classroom. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.