Monday, April 30, 2012
Poe in Pages
But today I wanted to write a little about Poe's appearances in the pages of others--especially in recent years. Below, a list of some of the ones I've read--and I'm betting there are others I don't know of.
1999: Harold Schechter, Nevermore. This one unites Poe with ... Davy Crockett! Poe's journal, the Southern Literary Messenger, has panned Crockett's book; Davy wants an apology. Soon, they've joined forces to solve a mystery.
2004: Andrew Taylor, An Unpardonable Crime, takes place while Poe, a boy, is in England with the Allans. And back into his life comes his father, David Poe, who disappeared shortly after he was born. (We have no idea whatever about the fate of David Poe, a minor stage actor; he has vanished from history.)
2006. Matthew Pearl, The Poe Shadow. Pearl deals with the mysterious death of Poe (and actually unearthed a few factual things about it that had escaped academic researchers). Into the story comes one of Poe's fictional creations, the detective C. Auguste Dupin, star of "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and Poe's other two detective stories. Pearl imagines Dupin taking on the case of Poe's death.
2008. In Joyce Carol Oates' story collection (Wild Nights!) is a story "Poe Posthumous; or, The Light-House." Oates imagines Poe waking up at a lighthouse, where he gradually figures out his situation--and fate. Maddened by loneliness, Poe says "I have become, in this infernal place, a coil of guts with teeth at one end, and an anus for excretion at the other" (29). Appealing images! By the way, "The Light-House" was an unfinished short story Poe was working on when he died. It, like Oates' story, uses diary entries for the narrative.