The Big Read Blog (Archive)

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August 25, 2009
Washington, DC

Color lithograph by U.S. Lithograph Co. c. 1908, Library of Congress archives

Between this September and next June, 24 different communities across the country will be celebrating the fiction and poetry of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe's fans have included Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Jorge Luis Borges, and Alfred Hitchcock, who said, "It's because I liked Edgar Allan Poe's stories so much that I began to make suspense films." From the introduction to the Poe Reader's Guide , here's more about the prolific---and pioneering---Boston native.

Poe's most satisfying escape was into his writing, where generations of readers have followed him ever since. His sheer versatility continues to astonish. Without Poe, the literary arts of horror, adventure, detective, and science fiction, and, arguably, the short story itself, would have developed very differently. In addition to fiction in several genres, he wrote as famous a poem as American literature can claim. He practiced literary criticism as fine art, blood sport, and, with a series of female poets, the highest form of flirtation. If the movies had existed in the nineteenth century, he might have written screenplays as well---and bedeviled his producers as reliably as he did most of his editors.

Check out The Big Read calendar to find out who's hosting an Edgar Allan Poe Big Read near you!

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