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

Edited By 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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Santiago Rodríguez Guerrero-Strachan Poe’s Poetry: Melancholy and the Picturesque 97


Poe’s Poetry: Melancholy and the Picturesque1 SANTIAGO RODRÍGUEZ GUERRERO-STRACHAN UNIVERSITY OF VALLADOLID Little attention has been paid to Edgar A. Poe’s poetical picturesque. Kent Ljungquist wrote about it in his outstanding book, The Grand and the Fair. Poe’s Landscape Aesthetics and Pictorial Techniques (1984), and John Conron devoted a chapter to the issue in American Picturesque (2000). Beatriz González-Moreno (2000) and Louis A. Renza (1995) have written two revealing articles on the picturesque and “The Island of the Fay”. In general, critics pay more detailed attention to the short story than to the poetry. It is my view, however, that despite their accurate choice of focusing on Poe’s tales, some words may be said about the picturesque in Poe’s poetry. I am going to read some of his poems against the picturesque as theorized, and exemplifi ed, by Conron. Although I will analyse the fea- tures of the picturesque, my aim is an investigation of the picturesque in Poe’s poetry and the role that the poetic voice plays in it. There is an agreement as regards the nature of the picturesque in American culture. It was, as Conron argues, the fi rst American aesthetic (xvii), and as Ljungquist rightfully points out, the picturesque “acquired a peculiarly native fl avor” (10). Conron enumerates three characteristics of the American picturesque: its eclecticism, its semiotic reading, and its fusion of nature with art (xviii). Furthermore, as he says, “Bound- aries between the picturesque arts […] also become blurred. Aesthetic discourse comes to be characterized...

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