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92 Poe Studies/Dark Romanticism FantmticoPoe attempts to read Poe anewin light of these current trends, on the other hand, it departs from the sociohistoricalPoe in essays that remain productively tied to traditional literary readings. Nevertheless,perhaps the most original contribution of Italian scholarship in Fantastic0Poe to Poe studies in general concerns another large and important area of research: Poe’s relationships with other writers.This is an area that reveals how influential Poe’s writings and aesthetic theories have been in the development of literarysensibilitiesall over the world and that can help to deepen global understanding of Poe’swork. Anna Milione Universityo f Palerrno-Ztaly The New Norton Poe The Selected Writings o f Edgar Allan Poe. Edited by G. R. Thompson. New York: Norton, 2004. 896 pp. $14.38 paper. The Poe canon, being primarily poems and short stories, has always seemed likely to lend itself to a single-volumecollection, and repeatedly publishers have crammed as much of Poe as they could between two covers.I have here before me, in fact, Vintage’s 1025-pageCompkte Taks and Porn ofEdgarAlZanPoe (1975),with a Halloweenishcover that looksvaguelylike a Grateful Dead concert poster. Seeking an inexpensive ($13) text for students, I adopted it for a course once and regretted the choice for obvious reasons-no apparatus (not even dates) and no nonfiction other than the preface to TheRaven, and OtherPoems,“ThePoetic Principle,”and “TheRationaleofVerse.”Granted, this book wasn’t published for classroom use, so the fault was mine. But classroom editions have had their own limitations: the best of them, like Edward Davidson’s venerable Riverside edition and David Galloway’sFall o f the House o f Ushq and Other Writings (Penguin) are fine for surveys that will include two or three weeks of Poe, but they are too selectivefor a course focusingon Poe alone or in the company of one or two other writers.More complete classroom editions still skip key essays and reviews or skimp on notes and introductions. The Library of America’s paperback college edition , Poetry, Tales, and Selected Essays (1996),has been the best single-volume Poe on the market for ten years:weighingin at 1500pages, it includes virtually all the fiction, all the collected poems, “Politian,”Eureka, and the theories of poetry, as well as a useful chronology and textual notes. But there is no room for an introduction and not enough for the explanatory notes, which are relegated to the back of the book where students rarely venture. More significantly, the Library of America volume lacks a sampling of the reviews and miscellaneouswritingsthat defined Poe for his contemporaries and that provide a fuller sense of his ideasabout literature and publishing than one can gleanfrom “Letterto - - , ” “ThePhilosophy of Composition,”“ThePoeticPrinciple,”and “The Rationale of Verse.” While professors have been searching in vain for that perfect classroomedition, we’ve alsobeen waiting for W. W. Norton to canonize Poe with a Critical Edition of something: tales, e m , selected or collected writings. Norton may be faulted for taking so long, but they’ve done it right with The Selected Writingso f Edgar Allan P o w r , rather, they made the key decision to let G. R. Thompson do it right. The crucial question instructors will ask is: what writings have been selected? Thompson includesthirty -onepoems,compared with sixty-three in the Library of America and one hundred (plus “Politian”) in Thomas Ollive Mabbott’s Complete Poems.Surprisingly,given those numbers, the only omission I might quibble with is “Lenore,”which was published (in short- and long-line forms) at leastnine timesduring Poe’slife and which makes for useful comparison with “The Raven.”Almost all of the poems collected in the 1827, 1829,and 1831 editions are included, and the exceptions are such less-thanessential verses as “I Saw Thee on ThyBridalDay”and “APaean.”The important later poems all appear as well. Thompson judi- Reuieus 93 ciouslyleavesoutversesthat are embeddedin tales gathered in this edition, and, with the exception of “Alone,”avoidsmanuscriptpoemsunpublished in Poe’slifetime. The selectionof tales is inevitablymore problematic ,asthere islessconsensus(atleastafterthe top ten or fifteen)astowhich aremostimportant. The Norton edition gives us about half of Poe’s tales, and with no glaring omissions.The...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1754-6095
Print ISSN
1947-4644
Pages
pp. 92-94
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-07
Open Access
No
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