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James M Hutchisson

Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is recognised as the creator of many early examples of themes in modern fiction. My impression of James M Hutchisson's new biography Poe is that it is skillfully written and has something of interest for all readers. I have to admit that I hadn't read much of Poe's work before reading this biography, but I felt that this was not a problem as Hutchisson provides a sufficient description of Poe's stories within the text. More knowledgable readers will benefit from the new critical insights into Poe's work and how it relates to his life.

Poe died when he was just 40 years old, and this book looks in some detail at the last ten years of his life, when his fame was beginning to spread, but when he also had many problems - his wife was dying from tuberculosis and it is likely that Poe himself suffered from mental illness. Hutchisson has written this work as a supporter of Poe, and tried to get away from the portrayal of a self-pitying drunkard. On the other hand there is no attempt to hide the faults in Poe's character, and one sees that although Poe may have had a lot of bad luck, he also had a tendency to throw away that good luck which came his way.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 290 pages  
ISBN: 1578067219
Salesrank: 2212284
Weight:1.4 lbs
Published: 2005 University of Mississippi Press
Amazon price $35.00
Marketplace:New from $35.00:Used from $13.17
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 277 pages  
ISBN: 1578067219
Salesrank: 6393383
Weight:1.4 lbs
Published: 2005 University Press of Mississippi
Marketplace:New from £27.10:Used from £11.45
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 290 pages  
ISBN: 1578067219
Salesrank: 3016100
Weight:1.4 lbs
Published: 2005 Univ Pr of Mississippi (Txt)
Amazon price CDN$ 47.78
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 47.78:Used from CDN$ 24.37
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Product Description

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American original---a luminous literary theorist, an erratic genius, and an analyst par excellence of human obsession and compulsion. The scope of his literary achievements and the dramatic character of Poe's life have drawn readers and critics to him in droves.

And yet, upon his death, one obituary penned by a literary enemy in the New York Daily Tribune cascaded into a lasting stain on Poe's character, leaving a historic misunderstanding. Many remember Poe as a difficult, self-pitying, troubled drunkard often incapable of caring for himself.

Poe reclaims the Baltimore and Virginia writer's reputation and power, retracing Poe's life and career. Biographer and critic James M. Hutchisson captures the boisterous worlds of literary New York and Philadelphia in the 1800s to understand why Poe wrote the way he did and why his achievement was so important to American literature. The biography presents a critical overview of Poe's major works and his main themes, techniques, and imaginative preoccupations.

This portrait of the writer emphasizes Poe's southern identity; his existence as a workaday journalist in the burgeoning magazine era; his authority as a literary critic and cultural arbiter; his courtly demeanor and sense of social propriety; his advocacy of women writers; his adaptation of art forms as diverse as the so-called "gutter press" and the haunting rhythms of African American spirituals; his borrowing of imagery from such popular social movements as temperance and freemasonry; and his far-reaching, posthumous influence.


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