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Edgar Allan Poe and the Mystery of the Universe
Subjects: All Literature
The popular Poe—The Raven, Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat—has inspired a generation of readers long disenchanted with the normative tradition of American literature. But is the popular Poe—incessantly drinking, drug-addicted, and entranced by the terror of death—the real Poe? Harry Lee Poe contends that, for more than two centuries, the great myth of Edgar Allan Poe has damaged both the popular reader's understanding of Poe's corpus and the historian's depiction of Poe's life. Through reviewing his poems and short stories, literary criticism and science fiction, Evermore reveals a Poe who is deeply confounded by the existence of evil, the truth of justice, and even the problems of love, beauty, and God. Here Poe aficionados and casual appreciators of literature alike are invited into a greater understanding of Poe’s most persistent questions and offered a novel approach to reading the American literary icon.
1 The Problem of Edgar Allan Poe
2 The Problem of Suffering
3 The Problem of Beauty
4 The Problem of Love
5 The Problem of Justice
6 The Problem of the Universe
7 Ex Poe's Facto
"The author is at his best when he's tackling Poe's life story and the ways in which it has been distorted. His case against Rufus Griswold's (largely successful) attempt to hijack Poe's reputation after his death is especially compelling, as are his efforts to cut through the mystique and legend to reveal an individual of good manners and strong principles. The portrait that emerges is of a multi-dimensional man who was capable of both experiencing and writing about a full range of emotions--and wasn't merely enthralled with the horrific or grotesque themes for which he's so well remembered."
“I recommend this book to anyone interested in philosophical and theological approaches to one of America’s most widely-recognized but least-understood authors.”
—Philip Edward Phillips, Middle Tennessee State University, Renewing Minds (Issue 3)
"Poe's elegant and lucid book discredits many popular myths about life and work of his famous cousin. Edgar A. Poe, like his fictional "double" David Copperfield, was no tragic hero but a man with his ups and downs who highly valued love and friendship and had an acute sense of justice. Written at the crossroads of literary history and theology, Evermore is dazzling and absorbing."
—Alexandra Urakova, author of The Poetics of Body in the Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
"Harry Lee Poe demonstrates a profound understanding of Edgar Allan Poe's life, an impressive grasp of the history of Poe scholarship, and an excellent comprehension of his famous ancestor's oeuvre. Up to the 'surprise ending' Evermore is refreshingly lucid and lively."
—Brett Zimmerman, Associate Professor, York University
"Most readers will be surprised by such a view, but Harry Lee Poe presents a picture of his distant cousin far different from the calumnious portrait left to us by Rufus Griswold and the long line of Poe's detractors, but likewise far different from that of the poète maudit celebrated by Charles Baudelaire and many of Poe's greatest admirers. The result is an innovative reading of Poe's works, rooted in a revisionary biographical context. Evermore combines academic scholarship with a light, conversational tone that makes this work extremely accessible that will undoubtedly spur further conversation."
—Robert T. Tally Jr., Texas State University
Harry Lee Poe is the Charles Colson Professor of Faith and Culture at Union University. He is the author of several books, including Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories; The Inklings of Oxford; and What God Knows: Time and the Question of Divine Knowledge.