- From the Editor
We hope that you enjoyed the new format of the Spring 2013 issue of the Edgar Allan Poe Review. We are making minor improvements with this issue and adding a request that those who submit essays to our journal use either the Mabbott or Harrison editions of Poe’s primary texts; both can be found, thanks to Jeffrey Savoye’s diligent work, at the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore’s web-site. In addition, The Poe Log and the most recent edition of Poe’s letters are there now, as well as many other important Poe-related texts. In addition, The Baltimore Poe Society’s Ninety-First Commemorative Edgar Allan Poe Lecture was given in October by Shawn Miller of Francis Marion University: “‘And Discoveries Still Farther South’: Arthur Gordon Pym and Nascent Literary Southernness.”
We would like to note that the Sixth Annual Conference of the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Japan was held in September at the Osaki Campus of Rissho University. Chaired by Yuji Suto of Hosei University, the opening address was given by Takayuki Tatsumi of Keio Gijyuku University and the closing remarks were made by Shoko Itoh, Vice President of the Society. Topics included “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether,” the tales of the Folio Club, Poe and Melville, and Poe and Irving.
We are very saddened by the death of poet and Poe scholar Daniel Hoffman. In a tribute to Dan’s ninetieth birthday in the September issue of the online journal Per Contra, volume 27, Dana Gioia wrote, “As Dan celebrates his 90th birthday, let me join the chorus of praise to honor this great American man of letters. What a brilliant and productive critic. What a bold and original poet. And for those lucky enough to know the man—what an exemplary human being.” In the same issue, Edward Hirsch wrote, “His poems are solitary, impeccably crafted, deeply spiritual. He is, in the Quaker mode, startlingly aware of silence, and moves beyond it. He loves spells, riddles, the gift of tongues. Social injustice infuriates him, and he quietly bears witness. He is a close observer of the natural world. He reckons with private sufferings and public sorrows, and yet there is a kind of gaiety in his work, a deep joy, something that lasts, an eternal spark, ‘a sort of singing.’” [End Page v]
I was honored to be invited to write a tribute to Dan in this same issue of Per Contra, and I want to share some of it with you:
An honest, intuitive, and personal obsession with Poe’s work is what Daniel Hoffman has given to the community of Poe scholars and continues to give. His book is an invitation to others to become obsessed with Poe. We can read Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe over and over and find pleasure not only in what it says but in the way that it’s written. There’s a seductive quality to Hoffman’s writing, a modesty that engages the reader, an entangling of the threads of Poe’s various works into a complex but cohesive whole. Halfway through the book, Hoffman acknowledges the intensity of his pursuit: “Well, I’m calmer now about my discoveries. I see I took care not to make them very specific, and so my hints may not entrap me. But I’ll come clean and say: the voyage toward ‘exciting knowledge,’ that ‘never-to-be-imparted secret, whose attainment is destruction,’ is the journey of the ‘soul’ remembering back, back, back, to its very beginnings. Back to the vortex of birth. . . . For indeed the womb is the well-fount of our unconsciousness before we emerge into the pains of consciousness, and in the womb we are imbued with that instinctual knowledge of our own past, our own beginnings, the state of unity toward which we ever after yearn” (149). Even while acknowledging that Poe was a “haunted man,” Dan reminds us that Poe was able to turn “painful knowledge into the pleasure of Art” (153) and that he never stopped “praising indefiniteness as the handmaiden of beauty, whether in poetry, in music, or...