Critical Insights: The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe
In-depth critical discussions of Edgar Allan Poe's work.
A collection of 16 essays by leading scholars examining the short stories and life of the 19th century American writer Edgar Allan Poe. Representing the best of a broad range of critical perspectives from the psychoanalytical to the postcolonial, the volume serves as an excellent introduction to Poe's tales and the critical conversation surrounding them.
Each Critical Insights is divided into four sections:
An Introduction – The book and the Author
The volume is introduced by Steven Frye, Professor of English at California State University, Bakersfield, the author of Historiography and the American Romance: A Study of Four Authors (2001) and the editor of Poe Studies/Dark Romanticism: History, Theory, Interpretation (2008).
Original essays illuminate the influences that shaped Poe, contextualize his work, and assess his enduring impact on American and Continental poetry and fiction. A sketch of the historical and cultural forces surrounding Poe illuminates their influence on his aesthetic; a reception history examines Poe's enduring contributions to the short story genre, the French Symbolist movement, and modernist aesthetics; a comparison of Poe's and Baudelaire's works reveals how the two authors exploited the duplicitous possibilities within the writer-reader relationship; and a critical reading of "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Black Cat," "The Tell-Tale Heart," "Ligeia," and "Bernice" seeks to expose the stories' unifying aesthetic principles.
These essays utilize common critical approaches to further analyze the author's work. A varied selection of critical views offers detailed analyses of Poe's most essential tales like "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Cask of Amontillado," "The Gold Bug," and "Ligeia." Uniquely, the collection also contains an original essay by Nathaniel Rich, senior editor of The Paris Review. Reflecting on Poe's insight into and fascination with the perverse instincts of humanity, Rich offers a writer's perspective on one of America's most enigmatic writers.
Each essay is 2,500-5,000 words in length and all essays conclude with a list of "Works Cited," along with endnotes.
- Chronology of Edgar Allen Poe's Life
- Works by Edgar Allen Poe
- About the Editor