Once Upon a Midnight Weary: The Life of Edgar Allan Poe

Nancy Loewen, Author, Tina Mucci, Photographer Creative Education $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-88682-509-6
Calling upon her significant storytelling skill, Loewen adds large measures of drama and pathos to her interpretative biography of Edgar Allan Poe. Weaving together a straightforward, factual narrative with recreations of scenarios from Poe's life and excerpts from his poetry, stories and correspondence, Loewen creates a diverse and richly textured portrait of this complex man whose life was laden with sadness. Born in Boston in 1809 to two actors, Poe was sent to live with a foster family in Richmond when his mother died less than three years later. After attending school in England, Poe had a relatively normal adolescence, but later excessive drinking and gambling caused him to leave the University of Virginia after a single term. Penniless, friendless and estranged from his foster father, Poe joined the army, and went on to attend West Point briefly. Though he then found some solace in his writing and in his marriage to a young cousin (who died of tuberculosis at the age of 24), Poe eventually lost his lifelong battle with alcoholism, poverty and despair, and died a broken man at the age of 40. While the book's airy design is aesthetically attractive, the tiny type face and very narrow columns of text may prove a bit slow-going. Making effective use of shadow and light, Mucci's deftly composed, at times intentionally cryptic photos offer a fittingly theatrical ``photographic interpretation'' of Poe's life story. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Discover what to read next