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SF, Poe, goths, and historians, oh my!

First of all, The Science Fiction Book Club is looking for the best SF novels of the 1990s. I was pleased to see that Mary Doria Russell, Lois McMaster Bujold, Neil Gaiman, and Neal Stephenson already had been mentioned.

I also found this amusing. (Of course, it's often true for historians, too!)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Speaking of Poe, a few questions for the Poe lovers: does anyone have any thoughts on Matthew Pearl's The Poe Shadow: A Novel and its perspective on Edgar Allan Poe's death? It's my impression that Arthur Hobson Quinn's Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography is still considered the authoritative work on Poe's life. What, if any, "must read" works on Poe have been published since Kenneth Silverman's Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance? (I haven't read John E. Walsh's Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe.) Any recommendations or musings are welcome. Thanks!

"It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream."
Edgar Allan Poe, from "Marginalia" installment XV, Southern Literary Messenger, June 1849


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 12th, 2006 03:50 pm (UTC)
Mmmm...Poe. The Original Goth. :)

And I love that cartoon.
Jun. 13th, 2006 03:55 pm (UTC)
Glad you like it too! :) I'm currently leading an independent study this summer as a "test drive" of a new course I'm working up on "The Gothic Impulse." I'm having way too much fun.
Jun. 12th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)
A friend of mine is reading The Poe Shadow, and thus far she is not impressed. I don't know why she doesn't like the book though, so that's really not much help at all. Sorry.

But the other day I was checking out this exhibit and got to see Poe's actual writing desk and some of his manuscript stuff. It was pretty exciting! Plus, he had rather neat handwriting.
Jun. 14th, 2006 05:08 pm (UTC)
thus far she is not impressed

I've gotten this same "vibe" from a few other people. What I need is a "Poe Shadow for Dummies" essay, that gives me his theories without making me read the novel. How's that for sloth? LOL!

The "Technologies of Writing" exhibit looks fascinating! I would love to see that. No wonder you were excited. It must've been great to see his writing desk and manuscripts!!! Thanks for the link.
Jun. 15th, 2006 12:45 pm (UTC)
Oxford University Press makes a great series of little books that are called 'A Very Short Introduction to...' Usually they're about philosophy or history, but I wish they'd expand them into more topics, particularly literature and art. They're great references.

The 'Technologies of Writing' exhibit was so overwhelming that I didn't even get to see everything when I was there. The scope and scale of it was amazing; they covered a lot of time periods and cultures.
Jun. 12th, 2006 09:51 pm (UTC)
very nice cartoon.......
Now, though, you have me thinking about my fav novel of the 90s.
Jun. 14th, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
Re: very nice cartoon.......
I'm thinking about the same thing. It seemed to me that several obvious titles were left off the previous decades' lists. Of course it's always hard to choose a handful of titles as the "best" of anything, but still... it's fun to try! ;)
Jun. 13th, 2006 07:10 am (UTC)
I read Midnight Dreary last summer. I remember being happy I'd only spent $1 on it. I learned a lot, but the author was heavily reliant on the standard biographies before him. His own theory required some thinking that seemed convoluted to me. For example, Poe had to double back on his tracks, and the memories of more than one of his friends would have had to have been faulty in peculiar ways. But it was a fast read, and others found it more convincing than I did, so you might find it worth your while.

I very much like the cartoon, btw.
Jun. 14th, 2006 05:10 pm (UTC)
That's very helpful information re: Midnight Dreary - thanks so much! Glad you liked the cartoon.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )