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A Descent into Edgar Allan Poe and His Works: The Bicentennial

Beatriz González Moreno and Margarita Rigal Aragón

Today Edgar Allan Poe is a well-known and highly regarded author. When, a hundred years ago (1909), a group of Poe acquaintances, fans and scholars got together at the University of Virginia to commemorate Poe’s birth centenary, they had to do so in order to modify the persistent misstatements of his earlier biographers, and to correct the unsettled judgment of his literary rank.
Now, in 2009, many Poe fans and scholars are gathering together once more to honour Poe on the second centenary of his birth. Different types of events (theatrical and musical performances, book auctions, etc.) and academic conferences have been celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic, acclaiming Poe’s literary rank again. This volume brings together a wide range of scholars with varied critical approaches and succeeds in shedding new light on E. A. Poe on the occasion of his Bicentenary. The book is organized into three principal sections; the first part focuses on the reception of Poe in Great Britain, France, and Spain; the second revisits some of Poe’s main legacies, such as his stories of detection, the Gothic, and Science Fiction; and the third deals with the aesthetic quality of his narratives and also offers an analysis of his work integrating Text Linguistics within the broader study of social discourses.


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Sonya Isaak Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire: The Artist as the Elite Victim 25


Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire: The Artist as the Elite Victim SONYA ISAAK UNIVERSITY OF HEIDELBERG Charles Baudelaire fi rst discovered his American alter-ego Edgar Allan Poe in a French translation in 1846 or 1847 and felt that in fi nding Poe, he was fi nding himself, thoughts he himself had had but never uttered: ‘La première fois que j’ai ouvert un livre de lui, j’ai vu, avec épouvante et ravissement, non seulement des sujets rêvés par moi, mais des PHRASES [sic] pensées par moi, et écrites par lui vingt ans auparavant (Baudelaire, C 2 386 ).’1 Both Poe’s writing and their similar biographies accounted for Baude- laire’s fascination with his American idol. Henceforth, he became Poe’s greatest admirer and made use of every opportunity to call people’s attention to his American counterpart. Some critics have perceived that the similarities in the life and literature of Poe to his own were so striking that he began to make an effort to increase these parallels, so as to come closer to fully incar- nating his role model.2 This intense preoccupation explains why Baudelaire devoted sixteen years of his life to translating Poe’s writing, particularly his prose. Of the poems, he translated only “The Raven”, “The Conqueror Worm” and “The Haunted Palace”. Baudelaire analyzed Poe as he would himself, claiming that Poe’s problems with substance abuse were a deliberate means of self-destruction, a long-term suicide attempt to escape the harsh realities of an evil out- side world (Preußner 52)...

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