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Posts Tagged ‘Edgar Allan Poe’

From the Margins

January 23, 2014 | by

marginalia

A rainbow-colored beast from the margins of a fifteenth-century text. Image via the Public Domain Review.

In college, I was excited to discover a student-produced, fly-by-night zine called “From the Margins.” I don’t know what’s more embarrassing: that I assumed it was devoted to marginalia or that I was seriously juiced about the idea. When I opened its creased, xeroxed pages, though, I found it was devoted not to literal margins but to my school’s “disenfranchised peoples,” most of whom struck me as too well-heeled to feel put out.

In any case, this month has granted my wish: it’s seen some great attention paid to margins, the kind on paper. Open Culture featured Dostoevsky’s manuscript doodles, which demonstrate not just his remarkable penmanship but also an affinity for faces and architecture. (The former, to no one’s surprise, are deeply melancholy.) The Public Domain Review resurfaced some rainbow-colored beasts “found in a book of hours attributed to an artist of the Ghent-Bruges school and dating from the late fifteenth century,” and Brain Pickings resurfaced a piece about Edgar Allan Poe, “history’s greatest champion of marginalia.” Poe is indeed unreserved in his praise; he also suggests, “If you wish to forget anything upon the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”

Oh, that Poe! He’s a regular Mark Twain.

Last, Sam Anderson and David Rees have defaced, or, uh, annotated, a copy of Dan Brown’s Inferno, much to its benefit. There’s a lot of comfort in seeing—next to such atrocious lines of dialogue as “Don’t let her beauty fool you, she is a dangerous foe”—the red, hateful tendrils of a handwritten EAT SHIT.

It’s exactly the sort of thing I’d hoped to find in “From the Margins.”

 

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A Mountain of Sable Plumes

January 22, 2014 | by

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Strawberry Hill, Walpole’s Gothic revivalist manor, in Twickenham.

Earlier this week, to commemorate Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday, Flavorpill found ten Gothic short stories for our delectation, and I must say, they’re really hitting the spot. January is especially well suited to the tint of the Gothic mindset—nothing helps you settle into the winter doldrums like an unceasing parade of bloodied knives, thousand-yard stares, disemboweled corpses, creaking doors, and shrieking virgins. It’s enough to make you want to sunder a frilled shirt and drink rancid port from a tarnished silver chalice, muttering all the while about the gloaming, the gloaming, the gloaming

And let’s not forget the funereal knell of church bells. You’ll want those, too.

If you really want to whip yourself into a Gothic froth, I recommend The Castle of Otranto, Horace Walpole’s 1764 novel, widely regarded as the forebear of the Gothic proper. It’s not “good,” exactly—you won’t find independent booksellers foisting it on you as a forgotten classic—but it packs a lot of senseless murk into a slim volume, and it features one of my favorite opening scenes in all of literature: a homely young man is crushed to death by a giant helmet, which seems to have fallen from the sky. Read More »

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One Man’s Trash, and Other News

November 7, 2013 | by

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  • Discarded books from the Birmingham Public Library become the basis for a series of pieces by local artists.
  • P. D. James claims to have solved a 1931 cold case in the course of researching a mystery. In 1841, Edgar Allan Poe’s literary gumshoeing was less successful.
  • The rise of Denglisch—and the introduction of words like shitstorm and cashcow into the German lexicon—is understandably controversial.
  • Here are some bookish wedding cakes. We feel like that last one is really the cake of a match made in heaven. Mazel tov!
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    Edgar Allan Ho, and Other News

    October 31, 2013 | by

    edalholarge

  • This would either confuse an alien who had just set foot on Earth, or maybe explain everything: the NSA haiku generator.
  • Along similar lines: Edgar Allan Ho, which BoingBoing has anointed Best Sexy Costume 2013. (As the creator of the admittedly theoretical Sexy Struwwelpeter, I respectfully disagree.)
  • The Life of Frederick Douglass: A Graphic Novel comes to Kickstarter.
  • According to the Common Core guidelines, The Hunger Games is more complex than The Grapes of Wrath. (But, plotwise, it sort of is, no?)
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    J. D. Salinger on a Cruise, and Other News

    October 8, 2013 | by

    Love-Boat-Paris-Review

  • J. D. Salinger worked as an entertainment director on a luxury liner. And other odd jobs of literary greats.
  • “Few readers know that Edgar had an older brother. Typically going by the name Henry, he was a poet, like his famous sibling, and a hard-drinking sailor.” At Page Turner, an investigation of early Poe.
  • Vogue UK has launched the Vogue On … Designers book series.
  • “Rather like a modern foreign correspondent, he had his area of expertise that he was keen to emphasize.” On the “shaggy-dog stories” of Herodotus
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    Obituary of Edgar Allan Poe

    October 7, 2013 | by

    poe_gravelarge

    From the Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner, vol. II, no. 98, October 12, 1849:

    EDGAR ALLAN POE died in Baltimore on Sunday last. His was one of the very few original minds that this country has produced. In the history of literature, he will hold a certain position and a high place. By the public of the day he is regarded rather with curiosity than with admiration. Many will be startled, but few will be grieved by the news. He had very few friends, and he was the friend of very few—if any. But his character and adventures were too remarkable, and his literary merits too indubitable, to pass from the stage with the simple announcement already given.

    His family was a very respectable one in Baltimore. His grandfather was a Quartermaster General in the Revolution, and the esteemed friend of Lafayette. During the last visit of that personage to this country, he called upon the widow to tender her his acknowledgments for services rendered him by her husband. His great-grandfather married a daughter of the celebrated Admiral McBride. Through him they are related to many of the most illustrious families in England. Edgar Poe’s father was reputably brought up and educated. — Becoming enamored with a beautiful young actress, he made up a runaway match with her, and was disowned by his friends thereafter. He or his wife possessed mimetic genius, and they lived precariously. They came to Richmond in pursuit of their profession. She was somewhat of a favorite on our boards—but more on account of her beauty than her acting. They both died in Richmond—both of consumption, and within a few weeks of each other, and left here without a house or home their gifted but most miserable and unfortunate son. Mr. John Allan, a wealthy and kind hearted merchant of this place, having no children of his own, taking a natural fancy to the handsome, clever child, adopted him as son and heir. He was consequently brought up amidst luxury, and received the advantages of education to their fullest extent. In 1816 he accompanied his adopted parents in a tour through England, Scotland and Ireland. — They returned to this country, leaving him at Dr. Brandsby’s High School, Stoke Newington, near London, where he continued five years. He returned in 1822, and continued about Richmond for two or three years. He was then remarkable for his general cleverness, his feats of activity, his wayward temper, extreme personal beauty, his musical recitations of verse, and power of extemporaneous tale-telling. In 1825 he went to the University of Virginia. The University was then a most dissolute place, and Mr. Edgar A. Poe was remarked as the most dissolute and dissipated youth in the University. He was already a great classical scholar, and he made huge strides in mathematics, botany, and other branches of natural science. But at the same time he drank, gambled, and indulged in other vices until he was expelled from the place. On Mr. Allan’s refusal to pay some of his gambling debts, he broke with him and went off at a tangent to join the Greeks—those being the times of Bozzaris and the Greek Revolution. When he reached St. Petersburg, however, he found both money and enthusiasm exhausted, and he got into a quarrel with the Russian authorities—whether about liberty or lucre is not known. At any rate he found himself nearly adding some knowledge of the knout and Siberia to his already extensive knowledge of men and manners, and was glad enough to accept the intervention of the American consul, Henry Middleton, and his aid to get home. In 1829 he entered the Military Academy of West Point. In the meantime, Mr. Allan had lost his first wife, and married a lady his junior by a very great number of years—he being sixty-five. Mr. Poe is said to have behaved uncivilly to the lady and to have ridiculed the match. The old gentleman wrote him an angry letter, and Mr. Poe answered it with a very bitter one. The breach was never healed. Mr. Allan died a short time afterwards, and left Poe nothing. Read More »

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