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Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living (Icons)by Paul Collins
Synopses & Reviews
Looming large in the popular imagination as a serious poet and lively drunk who died in penury, Edgar Allan Poe was also the most celebrated and notorious writer of his day. He died broke and alone at the age of forty, but not before he had written some of the greatest works in the English language, from the chilling “The Tell-Tale Heart” to “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” — the first modern detective story — to the iconic poem “The Raven.”
Poe's life was one of unremitting hardship. His father abandoned the family, and his mother died when he was three. Poe was thrown out of West Point, and married his beloved thirteen-year-old cousin, who died of tuberculosis at twenty-four. He was so poor that he burned furniture to stay warm. He was a scourge to other poets, but more so to himself.
In the hands of Paul Collins, one of our liveliest historians, this mysteriously conflicted figure emerges as a genius both driven and undone by his artistic ambitions. Collins illuminates Poe's huge successes and greatest flop (a 143-page prose poem titled Eureka), and even tracks down what may be Poe's first published fiction, long hidden under an enigmatic byline. Clear-eyed and sympathetic, Edgar Allan Poe is a spellbinding story about the man once hailed as “the Shakespeare of America.”
A view into the tumultuous and creative life of Edgar Allan Poe.
Today the name Edgar Allan Poe invokes a tragic genius whose mastery of horror seems inexorably tied to his tormented life. But in his own time, Poe was above all a craftsman — an editor and reviewer desperately trying to earn a living by transmuting the wild ephemera of early Victorianism into innovations in science fiction, horror, and detective literature. Indeed, the crime thriller would not exist without Poe's sleuth Dupin, the deductive genius of “Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Purloined Letter.”
With brilliant scholarship and storytelling verve, Paul Collins delves into Poe's life and his professional world, from his stormy relationship with his rich adoptive father and interest in cryptograms to hits such as “The Raven” and flops like Eureka, his late-career crank literature outing. Edgar Allan Poe is an informative and supremely entertaining account of one of the most singular talents in American letters.
About the Author
Paul Collins has written seven books and has been translated into eleven languages; his most recent is Duel with the Devil.
Table of Contents
1. The Child of Fortune 1
2. Manuscript Found in a Bottle 19
3. The Glorious Prospect 40
4. The Shakespeare of America 61
5. Nevermore 84
Selected Further Reading 114
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