Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy

Jeffrey Meyers, Author Scribner Book Company $30 (348p) ISBN 978-0-684-19370-0
Meyers ( Joseph Conrad ) focuses on the ways the works of poet and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) influenced many other great writers, including Hawthorne, Fitzgerald, Nabokov and Baudelaire. Hailed in France as the inventor of the modern detective and psychological novel and of symbolist poetry, he is remembered in his own country chiefly for his macabre tales (``The Pit and the Pendulum,'' ``The Fall of the House of Usher'') and his poem ``The Raven.'' Meyers documents Poe's short and unhappy life, effectively describing his chaotic childhood (he was raised by a foster father who would later disown him) and his tragic adult life (he struggled to write while suffering from alcoholism, poverty and the death of his young wife Virginia in 1847 from consumption). Meyers's sympathetic and readable treatment highlights Poe's considerable stylistic achievements. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1992
Release date: 09/01/1992
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