In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

82 Poe Studies/Dark Romanticism that circulatedthrough salons,letters,and periodicalsin the antebellumperiod.Whatalsoemergesis a newviewof antebellumpoetesses’formativerole in this economy.Richards’spainstakingresearch, which recovers and explains the cross-gendered transactions manifest in Poe’s, Osgood’s,Whitman ’s, and Oakes Smith’s lyric poetry, proves rewarding,even transformative,for readersof Poe and of antebellumwomen’spoetry alike. Paula Kot Niagara University Pollinated Poe Burton R. Pollin. Poe’s Seductive Influence on Great Writers. New York iuniverse, 2004. xi, 262 pp. $19.95paper. For many years Burton Pollin has charted sources for Poe’swritings as well as outreaches from Poe and his works. In Poe’s Seductive InJ1wnceon Great Writers, he collects twelve essays, all reprints, that extend over thirty years of his researches and that demonstrate Poe’s impacts on various other writers, ranging from Melville on through Henry James, RudyardKipling,Walterde laMare,Thomas Mann, andJames Thurber to Stephen Kingalong with seven reviews of Poe-related books of fiction. Having“allthis”in a singlevolume brings conveniently to hand what might require more than a little time and energyto locatein these days of library cuts in serials,not to speak of intermittent , but nevertheless frustrating, power outages that interruptaccessto materialsavailable-if they are-in electronicform. Pollin’s essays provide useful tools for researching the “PoeWorld,”my term for not just Poe’s own era but much in his life and works that continues to be important. Long ago that formidableAmericanliteraryhistorianClarenceGohdes stated thatjust about every writer of the macabre during the laternineteenth centuryowed much to Poe [“TheReceptionof SomeNineteenth-Century American Authors in Europe,” in The American Writer and the European Tradition, ed. Margaret Denny and William H. Gilman (1950;repr., New York McGraw Hill, 1964),1201;were the lateProfessor Gohdes writing today, he would doubtless significantlyextend his conceptof Poe’sreach into the twentieth and twenty-firstcenturies.Another outlookthat mightwell pertain to Pollin’sbook is that of the late Thomas Ollive Mabbott, of whom we read, “‘That’swhere Poe got that!’ he would exclaim in the midst of what seemed like casual summer reading” [MaureenCobb Mabbott, Mab bott asPoeScholar:TheEarly Years(Baltimore:Enoch Pratt Free Library and EdgarAllan Poe Societyof Baltimore, 1980), 21. Although the discoveriesof who, in turn, gotwhatfrom Poe that Poe’sSeductive Influencegathersmay not havesprungwhollyfrom casual reading, Professor Pollin and many others know that in factwe often come upon Poe’sinfluenceswhen we are not specifically questing after them, for example, in turning pages of airline magazines or encountering a Rotorooter advertisement that parodies “The Raven”-and these are just two of legion such influences (though one must also mention the renowned Baltimore “Ravens”in context). Reading Pollin’s essays, one finds illuminations notjust about Poe as a source in the deadly parallel way for, say, Melville or Stephen King but about what in Poe’s writings or in biographical accounts of him inspired later writers. Together, these factors present us with barometers of the varieties of impact evident in the works of those who feltsuchinfluences.Melville,of course,knew somethingabout Poe becausetheysharedthe New York culturalmilieuof the 1840s,but hisincorporationsof the Poesqueintosomeof hisownartmight well make-somewhat lower on the value scale, of course-companion reading to his bonds with Hawthorne.HenryJames’s take on Poe’s abilities shiftedovertheyears ofJames’sown career,though ultimately his estimate of Poe proved far more favorablethan has typicallybeen supposed.And that James praisedPoe’scriticalacumen,ashe didin his biography of Hawthorne, is worth remembering becauseit amountsto the high regard of one signal American literary critic for another. Overall, the 83 Poe-James essayinPollin’scollectionshouldput to restthosewhose unawarenessofJames’schanging his mind results in a belief that he disliked Poeand there’san end on’t,asDr.Johnson often said when he closed o f fdiscussion. The pendulum swingsto the opposite pole in theliteraryrelationbetween Poeand RobertLouis Stevenson,asPollin’streatmentdemonstrates.The Victorian writer did not scruple to draw on Poe’s writingsfor severalof hisown, thoughhe intensely disliked (to put it mildly) some of his predecessor ’screations.Stevenson’sdeploringwhat he saw as nothing more than revolting horror in “King Pest” (1835) is amazingly ironic, given his own Strange Case ofDr Jekyll and MK Hya!e (1886), but de gustibus.Just as ironic is Mabbott’s headnote to “KingPest” in Collected W h , which...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 82-84
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.