Edgar Allan Poe is today considered one of the greatest masters and most fascinating figures of the American literary world. However, an examination of Poe's essays and criticism throughout his prose publishing career (1831-1849) reveals that the author himself played a vital role in the creation and manipulation of his own reputation.
During his twenties and thirties, Poe promoted his writing to magazine editors in the United States and in Europe through several strategies. He painted a Romantic and patriotic self-portrait in his fiery literary reviews, even as he played up his own connections, both real and imaginary, to literary celebrities including Washington Irving, Charles Dickens, George Gordon Lord Byron and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Through recycling plots, atmosphere, and language (including his own) from American and British magazines, he built stories and essays which were linked in a complex network of references to each other and their author.
Teachers and students alike will enjoy this single-volume treatment of Poe’s self-promotional tales and criticism.
Table of Contents
1. The Problem of Poe’s Appeal: Intellectual and Market Background 2. Poe’s Composite Autobiography 3. The Recycling of Critical Authority: Lessons from Coleridge and Hazlitt 4. The Debunking Work of Poe’s light gothic Tales 5. The Importance of Ambiguity: Unreliable Narration and the Marketing of Sensation. Afterword. Notes. Bibliography.
Jonathan Hartmann received his PhD from The City University of New York (CUNY) and teaches 19th and 20th-Century literature at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
"Hartmann, an independent New York City writer and literary scholar, was commissioned by the editors of Routledge's Studies in American Popular History and Culture series to write this book on the relative difficulties in conveying the appeal of Edgar Allan Poe to contemporary publishers and readers of the time. Poe challenged his audiences by introducing the concept of an unreliable narrative structure, which led to a wave of criticism that hampered the writer's success. This brief book, aimed at literature scholars and students, documents the eventual changes in critical perception by showing how Poe finally found his audience." -- Book News Inc., August 2008