Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance

Kenneth Silverman, Author HarperCollins Publishers $27.5 (564p) ISBN 978-0-06-016715-8
In this mesmerizing chronicle of Poe's short and disorderly life (1809-1849), Pulitzer and Bancroft Prize-winning Silverman ( The Life and Times of Cotton Mather ) incorporates fresh discoveries about the poet/storyteller's travels, relationships and literary works. Poe's actress mother, deserted by her husband, died when her second son was three. He was taken in by the family of Baltimore businessman John Allan and moved with them to England for five years. Returning to Richmond, Va., Poe soon alienated Allan, who cut off support after the young man quit college and was court-martialed at West Point. After publishing Tamerlane and Other Poems in 1831, Poe was hired as a ``magazinist'' and began building his reputation as critic and writer of macabre tales. He married his consumptive 13-year-old cousin Virginia Clemm who, dead at 24, is memorialized in ``Annabelle Lee.'' Two years later Poe was also dead, of drink. With scholarship and narrative skill Silverman tells Poe's sad tale affectingly. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
Paperback - 592 pages - 978-0-06-092331-0
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