Ed & Edgar

my adventures in the cult of Poe

and other literary endeavours



site changes

If you use the links to the left of the blog, you'll see some changes.  I've collapsed most of them into drop down menus: Biblioblogroll, Book Reviews, etc.  I've also added a dropdown section of Edgar Allan Poe links for your convenience.  And I've provided subscription feeds for all of the blogs on this site: Bibliothecary, Ed & Edgar, My Book Reviews and the Quaker City blog.  I hope to be adding items to the last of these blogs soon, as I've been able to do some more research on George Lippard over the last couple of weeks (gearing up for my Lippard talk at the Philly Poe House on May 10).  So now, you can subscribe to any or all of the fine Bibliothecary blogs.  And there's now a search capability for the site in the left column.

Also, if you haven't noticed by now, the home page for this site changes.  When I post on the Bibliothecary blog, that is the front page and when I post on Ed & Edgar, that blog is the front for this site.  You can always click on the icons to the left for each blog (or you can subscribe).

Coming this week: a couple new books reviews, some tidbits from my Poe and Lippard research and lots of Bibliothecarian goodness.

Thanks for reading.


And playing the role of the Conqueror Worm . . .

A new sculpture garden is being planned for Philadelphia's Logan Square on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway:

Largely inspired by Edward Hicks' famous series of paintings The Peaceable Kingdom, Otterness' piece will consist of cast bronze groupings - large Lenape Indians meeting with diminutive Quakers, and gatherings of lions and lambs, oxen and wolves - set throughout what is known as Aviator Park, the underused acreage that stretches between the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and Alexander Calder's Swann Fountain.

But here's the cool part:

Alongside Hicks, another source of inspiration is Edgar Allan Poe, whose head will sit atop a bronze worm gazed upon by a 4-foot-tall raven (in high heels, no less).

Yes!  Philly knows how to do Poe.  Take that Baltimore.  We'll have the coolest Poe statue in the world.


Edgar Allan Poo

Dwight L MacPherson and Thomas Boatwright's The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo comic:

Edgar Allan Poe just lost everything. His dead wife is haunting him in his dreams, his latest book has bombed, and the imagination that fueled his stories has become a curse. His prayer to never dream again is answered one evening as he falls asleep in an outhouse. His discarded creativity takes the form of his dream child, Edgar Allan Poo, who must now undergo a strange odyssey through the poet's troubled mind.

878004-1480124-thumbnail.jpgYou can read the series online (it's up to weekly episode 65), but clicking on each panel is too tiresome for me.  Perhaps I'll track down the book version, although the artwork on the book cover implies a Cthulhuan link and those who know me know that I loathe Lovecraft. 


Death by the Visitation of God

Fantasyland Theatrical Productions is putting on an Edgar Allan Poe show in NY next month:

Death by the Visitation of God

New York, NY May 2008 – Madman or genius? Questions have surrounded the brilliant author for well over a century, but the fact remains that his was a mind drawn to the dark side of human nature. Drawing on letters, writings and first person memoirs as a source, FantasyLand Theatrical Productions brings Poe to life in Death by the Visitation of God, a journey into the mind, heart and soul of Edgar Allan Poe. This is your chance to see the man as he was, not as your high school literature textbooks portrayed him. Poe loved intensely in the face of great loss, even as he struggled to be the writer whose words endured and gained in popularity long after death had claimed him. See him as the brilliant and passionate genius, a loving husband shattered by the loss of a young wife to whom he was intensely devoted, and as a son mourning for a mother he barely knew. Walk with him once more to Moldavia, and remember him.

Moldavia was the name of John Allan's home in Richmond where Edgar spent perhaps only a year or so of his youth.   So, of course, "to walk with him once more to Moldavia" doesn't offer very much insight.  If you really want to know Poe, you need to walk with him on the streets of Philadelphia. 


Poe Discovers Dickens

I just discovered that my book reviews have appeared in the same paper that first published some of Dickens' novels in America.  According to Scharf and Westcott's History of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Inquirer was first published as the Pennsylvania Inquirer on June 29, 1829:

But while publishing all of the news it aimed for a circulation among families, and general literature was a feature in its pages.  Several of Charles Dickens' novels, among them "Master Humphrey's Clock" and "Barnaby Rudge," were published in The Inquirer for the first time in this country . . .

Grip at the Phila Free Library
It's likely that Edgar Allan Poe first read about Grip the talking raven, inspiration for Poe's own Raven in the pages of the Philly Inq.  And of course, it was while residing in Philadelphia that Poe first met Dickens at the United States Hotel. 


Poe's Helen Remembers

If you're not busy on Saturday, April 5th be sure to check out my friend, Helen McKenna-Uff, in her portrayal of Edgar Allan Poe’s one-time fiancée and loyal defender Helen Whitman:

SarahHelenWhitman.gif"Remembering Poe"

Poe had ardently tried to convince Helen to marry him but their engagement was short-lived, attributed to Poe's drinking problem.

Poetess Whitman was passionate in her defense of Poe and cherished her memories of him for the rest of her life. She wrote poems, a book and corresponded with many biographers, trying to get the Poe story right.

Free, but reservations are recommended.

Saturday, April 5, 2:00 pm

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
532 N. 7th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 597-8780

Unfortunately, I won't be able to go, as I'll be at NoirCon all that weekend.  But I have seen Helen perform this piece in Baltimore in January and she is fantastic.  A great script and passionate performance.  You can read the correspondence between Whitman and Poe here.


Philly Poe news

Some good news concerning Poe's Philadelphian legacy.  I'll be participating in a public television short about Edgar's time in Philly that will air on WHYY TV12 as part of their Arts and Culture series.  I get to be one of the talking heads.  We film next week (hopefully at the Poe House).  More as it develops.

And I'm really excited about being hired as the "Poe literary expert" by a Philadelphia theatre company, Brat Productions, who are producing a Poe-themed show to run in October 2009 (the Bicentennial year).  We'll be developing the script over the next few months, but the plan is to create an interactive haunted house experience in the Grand Guignol style.  The original premise (and this could of course change) is that Edgar Allan Poe's body has been exhumed from its wrongful burial place in Baltimore (the city that killed him) and translated to Philadelphia (the city where he flourished).  With his return to his rightful literary home, Poe is resurrected and guides the audience "through the netherworld of his imagination."  Expect screaming, blood and death.  Baltimoreans invited.


Resurrecting Poe

Not sure what to make of this webpage: Resurrecting Poe.  It's a coded message for the public to solve.  The link was left in the comments to a non-Poe related post on my Bibliothecary blog along with this message:

...No longer an orphan.

Care to be enlightened?

I know this all sounds like I'm trying to pull the wool over your eyes, but I'm really not.  I don't know who left this message.  And I'm terrible at solving codes (I could never do the Sunday cryptograms).  Poe himself was fascinated by cryptography
And of course, I've called for the resurrection of Poe.  Re-interrment is a kind of resurrection, isn't it?  So perhaps the message is related to that. 

Today's Edgar news: disturbed consciousness and Pluto lives

In LA right now, there's a Poe-Fest going performed by a company named Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre.  They're doing productions of "Pit and the Pendulum," "Tell-Tale Heart" and a song version of "The Bells."  From the LATimes review:

Exploring various states of disturbed consciousness, "The Pit and the Pendulum" proves an apt addition to Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group's continuing series of adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe stories. Running in repertory with the company's prior adaptation of "The Tell-Tale Heart," this mini Poe-Fest serves up murder, torture, and madness. What's not to like?

And elsewhere in California, a cat named Poe has been rescued:

Poe the calico cat disappeared Monday after animal services officers rescued her, but the fleet-footed feline was found Tuesday by college students.

Kacy Hodges, a veterinary technician, scrubbed, cleaned and vaccinated the mangy cat.

I used to own a black cat that I named Edgar Allan Poe.  Why you would name a calico cat after Edgar is beyond me. 


Philly Poe Appearances

My presentation at the Manayunk Arts Center last month went very well.  Here I am MeMAC.JPGpontificating on why Poe truly belongs to Philly (photo by Gretchen).  You can check out photos of the art exhibit here.

I've also been asked to give my Philly Poe presentation for the Roxborough Manayunk Wissahickon Historical Society on Wednesday April 23 (birthday of Wordsworth and Shakespeare) at the Roxborough branch of the Free Library, 6245 Ridge Avenue.  Event begins at 7PM.  If you're in the Philly area, please come by.