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88 Poe Studies/Dark Romanticism up0 and BruceJohnson for their help in getting materialsfor research. Elvira Osipova’s book on Poe can be regarded asa continuationand developmentof her previous studies in American romanticism. It offers a new perspectiveon Poeand isavaluableaddition to the body of Poe criticism in Russiaand elsewhere. Yelena P. Khanzhina HarrisburgArea Community College “TheTruth .. .CloseMuffled in Robes of Sleep”:Poe Studiesin Italy Updated Roberto Cagliero,ed. Fantastico Poe.Verona: Ombre Corte, 2004.305 pp. EUR 18.00paper. According to Eugenio Montale, a major Italian poet of the twentiethcentury,afullunderstanding of “awhole section of Italian poetry,from the best followersof D’Annunzio...to earlyFuturism and Dino Campana,”requires that we recognize the influence of “the father, with Whitman, of modern poetry,”Edgar Allan Poe [quoted in Massimo Bacigalupo,“Poein Italy,’’in Poe Abroad: InjZuence, Rqbutation, ASJinities,ed. Lois Davis Vines (Iowa City: Univ. of Iowa Press, 1999),691. Despite the remarkable influence Poe exerted on the development of Italian literature, relativelyfew Italian scholars have devoted extensive critical studies to him. Fantastico Poe, a successor to the 1978 essay collection titled Edgar Allan Poe. Dal gotico allafantascienra, offers a wide range of topics and theoreticalapproachesin a noteworthyattempt to fill the gap. This new volume, edited by Roberto Cagliero, brings together essays that represent current trends in Italianscholarshipon the subject and providesat its end a bibliographyof Poe studies in Italyfrom 1960to 2003, including fourteen monographs and several essays. The fantastical elementin Poe’swork highlightedin the title isnot the collection’sonlyconcern. Traditional notions of Poe’s alienation and of his work’s dreamlike qualities find their place along with insightsfrom historical and cultural perspectives,which locate the author and his writingsin his times. Cagliero’spublicationcollectspapersfirstread at the international conference “FantasticoPoe,” held inVeronain 2002,alongwith other contributions . It includesnineteen essays,sixteenby Italian scholars and three (in translation) by American scholars. The first section, “Poee la storia” (Poe and history),featurestwo essaysthat explorePoe’s connection to the realitiesof his time and culture, both as a writer of grotesque tales and as a critic and reviewer in hisjournalisticcontext.The poetic quality of Poe’s writingsin general, not simplyhis poems, is the key concern of three essays in the secondsection,“Poee la poesia” (Poe and poetry [alltranslationsare the reviewer’s]).Shortfiction, as Cagliero’sintroduction observes, is Poe’s most typicalnarrativemode,and five essaysare devoted to it in the collection’sthird and centralpart, “Poe e il racconto” (Poe and the short story).Thissection varies most in approach and theme, ranging acrossmemory and mnemonic techniques,narrative rhythm and translation,split personality and Lacanian theory, metamorphosis, anthropology, and tales of the supernatural.As in the poetry section , essaysin the short-storysection do not always concentrate exclusivelyon one literaryform. This instability might hint at a difficulty in classlfylng Poe’s work or organizing the variety of essays, yet it also throws into relief Poe’s heterogeneity. The double meaning of the title itself, “Fantastic Poe,” casts light on the “extraordinary”features of his art and celebrates him as an author who solicits and at the same time eludes interpretation . The volume’sfourth section,“Poee l’Italia,” treatS Poe’sjunctures with Italian writers in five essays that engage the quality of exoticism,covert similarities between texts, translation and criticism , cosmogony, and dreamlike language. The last section, “Poe e le arti” (Poe and the arts), is comprised of four essaysthat explore illustrations of Poe’sshortstories,filmadaptationsof hisworks, Reviaus 89 and his influence on music. J. Gerald Kennedy’s“Incubinazionali di Poe” (Poe’s national nightmares) and Oliviero Bergamini ’s “Edgar Allan Poe giornalista” (Edgar Allan Poe journalist) open the first section. Though different in approach, these essays are representative of the criticaltrend that rejectsthe popular myth of Poe’s alienation from the literary , political,and socialworlds. As other scholars in this vein have done (Jonathan Elmer, Shawn Rosenheim, and Stephen Rachman are notable examples), Kennedy and Bergamini highlight Poe’sengagedcritiqueof “reality.”[Fora critique of the paradoxes this critical current entails, see B. I.Weiner,“ANewCompanion,”inPoeStudia/Dark Romanticism 36 (2003).] According to Kennedy, Poe purposivelyavoids the overt, celebratory use of national history and mythology in order, paradoxically ,to createthe “real”Americansubject;for Poe, as for Hawthorne, “the truth often finds its way...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1754-6095
Print ISSN
1947-4644
Pages
pp. 88-92
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-07
Open Access
No
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