You'd think Boston and Baltimore had enough of me last January when I trounced them in the first Great Poe Debate. Well, here we go again. I'm bringing the Philly Poe gospel on the road as I travel to Boston for the Great Poe Debate II.
To help kick off a new exhibit at the Boston Public Library, "The Raven in the Frog Pond," the Philly Poe Guy will once again take on that cranky guy from Baltimore, Jeff Jerome, and that upstart from Boston, Paul Lewis. The Debate will be tomorrow, Thursday Dec 17 at 7PM and moderated by Charles Pierce. More info here.
Boston College Prof Lewis, has been getting lots of press lately (in the Beantown papers) with his shameless jump onto my coat tails. Let's set the record straight, my call for Poe's literary legacy to reside in Philadelphia is a matter of correcting literary history (as well as a call to acknowledge the literary tradition of Philadelphia Gothic). That Poe had a relationship with Boston (he was born there) and feuds with Boston writers (he hated the transcendentalists) is not nearly enough to claim any kind of literary legacy. I won't even bother with Baltimore's sham claims.
Poe was a Philadelphia writer during the most productive years of his writing career, not just because he lived in Philly, but because the literary traditions and cultural environment of the city at the time had a PROFOUND effect on his works.
So, I'll have to make my case again in Boston. But don't worry, the Philly Poe Guy can not be intimidated (well, at least not by other Poe scholars). In Philly we had over four hundred people show up to hear us slug it out (you can listen to it here or check out the photos from Reuters). I wonder how many Frogpondians will care enough about Poe to show up and support their cause.
My entrance at the Great Poe Debate in Philadelphia: