Stacia V, October 25, 2014 (view all comments by Stacia V)
Poe's only novel, this is a unique mix of seafaring adventures & misadventures (many to the point of horror), travel narrative/diary with the sort of flora/fauna/navigational notations that were popular on exploration trips of the day, fantastical locations/peoples/creatures, allegory, allusions, & a very strange, abrupt ending, all built on Poe's special scaffolding of creeping dread. Though I've read conflicting reviews on this book (& I agree that parts of it are uneven), there is no doubt that it has certainly inspired & influenced many famous literary works (ranging from "Moby-Dick; or, The Whale" to "Life of Pi"); I think this book should be categorized as a 'lost' American classic, one that needs a bigger audience than it seemingly has. A riveting, hard-to-categorize book.
(Even though I had extremely mixed feelings about "Life of Pi", I loved that the tiger was named Richard Parker. How can you not love a tiger with a name like that? Turns out, Yann Martel named the tiger after one of Poe's characters. Also, for the Borges fans here, apparently Borges touted "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym"... as "Poe's greatest work".)
Poe's work spawned various extensions, including Jules Verne's "An Antarctic Mystery", H.P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" and Mat Johnson's "Pym".
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