Edgar Allan Poe (Paperback)
A Critical Biography
Johns Hopkins University Press, 9780801857300, 864pp.
Publication Date: December 26, 1997
Renowned as the creator of the detective story and a master of horror, the author of "The Red Mask of Death," "The Black Cat," and "The Murders of the Rue Morgue," Edgar Allan Poe seems to have derived his success from suffering and to have suffered from his success. "The Raven" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" have been read as signs of his personal obsessions, and "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Descent into the Maelstrom" as symptoms of his own mental collapse. Biographers have seldom resisted the opportunities to confuse the pathologies in the stories with the events in Poe's life. Against this tide of fancy, guesses, and amateur psychologizing, Arthur Hobson Quinn's biography devotes itself meticulously to facts. Based on exhaustive research in the Poe family archive, Quinn extracts the life from the legend, and describes how they both were distorted by prior biographies.