Text: Kent Ljungquist, “Current Poe Activities,” Poe Studies, December 1978, Vol. XI, No. 2, 11:55-56


[page 55, column 2:]

Current Poe Activities


The Poe Studies Association held its seventh annual meeting at the New York Hilton on the morning of 29 December 1978. Following a brief business session, the program was devoted to speakers who have either finished major publications on Poe or who are continuing such projects. John C. Miller (Old Dominion University) read a paper, “Writing Poe’s Biography”; Mrs. Thomas O. Mabbott (New York City) spoke on “Editing Poe’s Fiction”; and G. R. Thompson (Purdue University) delivered a paper, “Surveying Poe Criticism.”

At the association’s 1977 meeting at the MLA Convention in Chicago, these officers and members-at-large were elected: J. Lasley Dameron, President (two years); Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV, Vice President (two years); Joseph M. DeFalco, Secretary-Treasurer ( three years); Members-at-Large, James W. Gargano, representing Poe Studies, and Helen Ensley. The PSA Newsletter co-edited by Eric Carlson and Kent Ljungquist, is published independently of Poe Studies; membership in the association and subscription to its newsletter can be procured by sending $3 to Joseph DeFalco, Dept. of English, Marquette University, 635 North Thireeenth St., Milwaukee, Wisc. 53233.

A Poe Studies Section will be held at the NEMLA Convention in Hartford (March 29-31, 1979). Frederick S. Frank is Chairman and Steven K. Hoffman Secretary. The following papers will be presented: Bernard Rosenthal ( SUNY Binghamton), “The Case of Poe’s Innocent Orang-Outang, or How to Play Chess”; Kenneth W. Graham, (University of Guelph, Canada), “‘Unknown in the Records of the Earth’: Beckford and Poe,”, Burton R. Pollin, (CUNY), “Poe and the Dance.”

At a meeting of the Baltimore Poe Society on October 8, 1978, Professor Richard P. Benton delivered the fifty-sixth annual Edgar Allan Poe lecture, “ ‘Bedlam Patterns’: Love and Madness in Poe’s Fiction.” A commemoration of Poe’s death preceded the lecture with the traditional laying of memorial wreaths on Poe’s tomb in Westminster Churchyard. The society has also published its first book, Poe at Work, edited by last year’s speaker, Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV. Society President James J. Foster announced that repair work on the Poe House on Amity St. should be completed by the end of 1978, at which time the city of Baltimore will take over staffing of the house. Fisher’s 1977 lecture, “The Very Spirit of Cordiality: The Literary Uses of Alcohol and Alcoholism in the Tales of Edgar Allan Poe,” is now available at $2.50 a copy from Alexander G. Rose, Poe Society of Baltimore, 402 E. Gittings Ave., Baltimore, Md. 21212.


Poe in Performance

The fall 1978 program of the Bronx County Historical Society included the opening of “Edgar Allan Poe Cottage at Fordham,” an audio-visual show with music by the Galliard Quintet; “Poe in Person, a One Man Show” starring Conrad Pomerleau; and a presentation of “Poems and Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe” (commemorating Poe’s death, October 8).

The Chamber Repertory Theatre of Boston, specializing in dramatizations of literary works, is touring with “Tell Tale Poe,” a full-length play based upon several of Poe’s stories, letters, and events in the last days of his life. Adapted and directed by Ted Davis, the play is performed by four actors and is set in a small tavern in Baltimore in October 1849. According to a publicity release, “Poe is revealed through portions of his greatest stories . . . as face and fantasy are combined for a glimpse of the inner wanderings of a doomed artist.”

Burton R. Pollin reports that choreographer Anna Sakolow used Poe texts for performances of the Salt Lake City Repertory Dance Company in March 1977 and at the Juilliard Theatre Center in April 1978. “The Bells,” “Annabel Lee,” “Alone,” and Eureka were among the works that accompanied music of Chopin and Rachmaninoff.

A musical setting of Poe’s “Israfel” was included in Leonard Bernstein’s “Songfest,” a twelve-part song cycle based on American poetry from Anne Bradstreet to Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The piece received its concert debut in December 1977. [page 56:]


Poe Letters

Professor John W. Ostrom welcomes any information about letters, dates, correspondents, locations, original MS. or copy that was not included in his former checklists: the original checklist (1948), two supplements in American Literature (1952) and (1957), the Supplement in the Gordian Press edition (1966), and the “Fourth Supplement” in American Literature (1974). Professor Ostrom intends to bring into one index all items in the total Poe correspondence (letters by and to Poe). Any corrections to items in previous checklists would be appreciated.


Recent Dissertations

A dissertation completed at Northwestern University under the direction of Harrison Hayford, Michael De Witt Bayton’s “Poe, the Critics, and Film-Makers,” Dissertation Abstracts International, 38 (1978), 5472-A, explores the relationship between Poe’s fictional artistry and another popular art form. Other recent dissertations on Poe (through DA, May 1978) are as follows: Peter C. Page, “Poe’s Ironic Universe: Art and Alienation in Eureka and the Prose Works,” DA, 37 (1977), 5124-A; George H. Soule, Jr., “Poe, Byron, and The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym,” DA, 38 (1977), 792-A; Theodore M. Billy, “Poe’s Rhetoric of Farce: Protean Language in the Comic Tales,” DA, 38 (1977), 1384-A; Roberta L. Sharp, “The Problem of Knowledge in Poe’s Scientific Pose,” DA, 38 (1977), 1395-A, Leonard W. Engel “The Use of the Enclosure Device in Selected Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe,” DA, 38 (1977), 2124-A; David R. Saliba, “A Psychology of Fear: The Nightmare Formula of Edgar Allan Poe,” DA, 38 (1978), 4832A; and Jay B. Jacoby, “The Victorian Response to Edgar Allan Poe,” DA, 38 (1978), 5479-A.

Dissertations which touch on Poe are as follows: John Edmund Sevarese, “Some Theories of Short Fiction in America in the Ninetenth Century: Poe, Hawthorne, and James,” DA, 37 (1976), 1555-A; Sister Joan H. Bretz, “The Tragicomic Biron in Hawthorne and Poe: Dimensions of Irony Within Their Fiction,” DA, 37 (1976), 2178-A; Michael J. Auer, “Angels and Beasts: Gnosticism in American Literature,” DA, 37 (1977), 5117-A; Gary E. Tombleson, “Alpha and Omega Recast: The Rhetoric of Cosmic Unity in Poe, Bronte, and Hardy,” DA, 37 (1976), 2165-A; America Martinez-Cruzado, “The Philosopher-Mystic Aspects of Poe, Baudelaire, and Cortazar,” DA, 37 (1977), 6466-A, Robert J. Wilson, “Poetics of the Sublime in America, 1650-1860,” DA, 37 (1977), 5835-A; Jack E. Surrency, “The Kentucky Tragedy in American Literature: From Thomas Holley Chivers to Robert Penn Warren,” DA, 38 (1977), 792-A Paul Lewis, “Fearful Questions, Fearful Answers: The Intellectuai Functions of Gothic Fiction,” DA, 38 (1977), 2791-A; Ana Maria Hernandez, “Poetics and Myth in the Works of Julio Cortazar: The Influence of John Keats and Edgar Allan Poe,” DA, 38 (1977), 3468-A, Stephen L. Carter, “From the ‘Sacred Selfe’ to the ‘Separate Selfe’: A Study of the Mystical Elements in Five American Poets Prior to 1900,” DA, 38 (1978), 4823-A; Lawrence Stahlberg, “The Grotesque in Gogol and Poe,” DA, 38 (1978), 5449-A, and Judith Woodsworth, “Valery et Poe: Le Delire de la Lucidite,” DA, 38 (1978), 6127-A.

Kent Ljungquist, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Associated Article(s) and Related Material:

  • None


[S:0 - PS, 1978]