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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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José Antonio Gurpegui John Allan versus Edgar Allan, or Poe’s Early Years 125


John Allan versus Edgar Allan, or Poe’s Early Years JOSÉ ANTONIO GURPEGUI UNIVERSITY OF ALCALÁ When reaching the two-hundredth anniversary of Poe’s birth and enjoying the privilege that a century and a half of critical scholarship on his liter- ary production provides us, every scholar studying Poe’s work might ask whether it is possible to bring new ideas to the analysis of this tortured genius of world literature. The fi rst conclusion leads us to dishearten, since maybe everything about Poe has already been written and probably twentieth-fi rst century professors and critics’ only choice is to rummage through trivialities and small details that others dropped away in view of a juicy gold mine. It is true that Poe is still present with the same strength as a century ago and that the same ghosts that frighten and paralyze his characters still cause our nightmares and fears. Who has never thought about being buried alive? Who has never felt dominated by an atavistic emotion that misleads us to a state of confusion that causes us to lose composure in the best of the cases, and even losing our mind? Who, like Roderick Usher, the dreadful Quixote and narra- tor of “The Fall of the House of Usher”, has never felt overwhelmed by thoughts such as this – “nor could I grape with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered”? Besides all this, the intellectual half- heartedness, that astonishing ability to turn human miseries into beauty, keeps attracting and captivating...

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