Monday, August 15, 2005

Edgar A. Poe in Greenbrier County

Book cover: Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Neverending Remembrance

A new book for my Recent Reading list is Kenneth Silverman's 1991 biography, Edgar A Poe : Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance Paperback: 592 pages. Harper Perennial; Rep edition 1992. ISBN 0060923318. It's an outstanding biography, as I said before. Check the reviews--they have good information about Poe and this biography.

This book has given me fodder for my Literary Pocahontas project, provided I can extend my geographical limits just a little bit. It seems that John and Fanny Allan, Poe's childhood guardians, summered with him in nearby White Sulfur Springs (now Greenbrier County, West Virginia) to escape Richmond's heat and epidemics. Could the melancholy turn of the Allegheny Plateau have affected his young mind?

I can also link Poe to Musical Pocahontas County. When Poe was a small child, Richmond, his hometown, was growing rapidly because of water power derived from the James River's falls at Richmond. There's an Eddn Hammons fiddle tune called "The Falls of Richmond." A number of writers have suggested that it should be "The Fall of Richmond," referring to Civil War engagements. Because the falls at Richmond were of great renown, this book offers a bit of support to those who believe Eddn Hammons' tune title is antebellum.

There are worlds of Edgar A. Poe references on the Internet, from scholarly reviews to teenage fansites. Here are a few I thought were interesting.

  • The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe: Just what it says: all the published stories, poems and reviews, available without charge or annoying advertising.
  • The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore: Many essays, resources, and links. I found this the most informative of those Web sites I visited.
  • The Edgar Allan Poe Museum--Richmond, Virginia: A slick Web page, with worthwhile links and some well-presented information on Poe's life, the museum site also boasts Poe products, such as the Annabel Lee T-shirt, the Poe bobble-head doll, and the Poe action figure with detatchable raven. Pretty scary stuff.
  • The Work of Edgar Allan Poe: More Poe resources and Internet links. This site is more like a fansite than those previously mentioned, but still contains some links I found useful. It also offers a way into the Poe fansite world, if that's what you're looking for.
  • Edgar Allan Poe Mystery: The 1996 press release claiming Poe died of rabies.
    In an analysis almost 147 years after his death, doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center believe that writer Edgar Allan Poe may have died as a result of rabies, not from complications of alcoholism. Poe's medical case was reviewed by R. Michael Benitez, M.D., a cardiologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center. His review is published in the September 1996 issue of Maryland Medical Journal.
    Well, it put another publication on his curriculum vitae, it came out in time for Halloween, and the UM Medical Center is just a couple of blocks away from Poe's much-visited grave.

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