Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Novel About Edgar Allan Poe's Life - Coffee with Poe by Andrew Barger is Out

I am excited about The Raven, the new John Cusack movie about Edgar Allan Poe. It starts showing this Friday. In my view Poe does not get his props by the media. If you are interested in reading about his life from his own perspective, Coffee with Poe: A Novel of Edgar Allan Poe's Life, will take you there.

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Coffee with Poe brings Edgar Allan Poe to life within its pages as never before. The book is filled with actual letters from his many romances and literary contemporaries. Orphaned at the age of two, Poe is raised by John Allan—his abusive foster father—who refuses to adopt him until he becomes straight-laced and businesslike. Poe, however, fancies poetry and young women. The contentious relationship culminates in a violent altercation, which causes Poe to leave his wealthy foster father’s home to make it as a writer. Poe tries desperately to get established as a writer but is ridiculed by the “Literati of New York.”

The Raven subsequently gains Poe renown in America yet he slips deeper into poverty, only making $15 off the poem’s entire publication history. Desperate for a motherly figure in his life, Poe marries his first cousin who is only thirteen. Poe lives his last years in abject poverty while suffering through the deaths of his foster mother, grandmother, and young wife. In a cemetery he becomes engaged to Helen Whitman, a dark poet who is addicted to ether, wears a small coffin about her neck, and conducts s√©ances in her home. The engagement is soon broken off because of Poe’s drinking. In his final months his health is in a downward spiral. Poe disappears on a trip and is later found delirious and wearing another person’s clothes. He dies a few days later, whispering his final words: “God help my poor soul.”

 

To give us a historical fiction look at Edgar Allan Poe is great. The start where we are at his mom’s funeral gives a little insight into why he may write the way he does. It is very interesting the ideas the author has put into the story about Poe. I like the idea of detailing the life of Edgar Allan Poe into a historical fiction novel.” . . . “A great idea to give us some insight into why Poe may be the way he is.

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Expert Reviewer

Friday, April 20, 2012

Autographed Edition of The Best Vampire Stories 1800-1849 Being Offered on GoodReads

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For those of you who read this blog I wanted to let you know that an autographed edition of The Best Vampire Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Vampire Anthology is being offered on GoodReads for the next month. Good luck and have a great (scary)weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Did Edgar Allan Poe Write a Vampire Story?



Edgar Allan Poe was the undisputed king of the early horror story. He was ten when John Polidori published the first vampire story in the English language that was followed a few months later by "The Black Vampyre," which was published anonymously by Robert Sands in 1819. Both caused quite a stir in the literary community. Many people thought Lord Byron wrote Polidori's tale and "The Black Vampyre" was pinned on the valedictorian of Columbia. Both were published with background information in The Best Vampire Stories 1800-1849 and are a must read for vampire aficionados. 


Surely Edgar Allan Poe heard of these stories and likely read one or both when he got older. Did he respond in kind with his own vampire tale? Sorry to disappoint, but from my research Poe did not pen a vampire story. If a reader has to stretch their imagination to determine if a character is a vampire, then it is likely not a vampire. After all, a vampire is what a vampire does.


Teeth play a telling role (as does the presence of blood) in many vampire tales. Because of this a number of anthologist have placed Poe’s “Ligeia” in their collections with hopes that if the tale is included in a substantial number of vampire anthologies it will be transmogrified into a vampire story. **Spoiler Alert** When Ligeia dies and is subsequently brought back to life through Rowena’s body, the unnamed protagonist touches her and she moves away, again displaying no lust for blood. Before her death, Rowena is given a cup of reddish liquid that could easily be wine or a potion concocted by the protagonist. There is no evidence that anyone’s blood was spilt. The only other hint of vampirism comes when Rowena’s lips part on her deathbed to display a line of “pearly teeth.” If she was a vampire we would learn of long teeth or sharp teeth, but that is not the case.


Poe’s only slight references to vampires were in his poems. “Tamerlane” references a vampire-bat and “To Helen” calls out vampire-winged panels. Articles about the vampire motif in “The Fall of the House of Usher” have been disorganized and unconvincing. There is no hint that Roderick Usher was a vampire. Essays about a volitional vampire in “Morella” have . . . well . . . sucked. The ponderous dissertations that seek to attribute the protagonist’s lust for teeth to a vampire fixation in “Berenice” have felt chompy. A tooth fixation is not a blood fixation.


Yes, it would be nice for this fifty year period, this cradle of all vampire short stories in the English language, to include a vampire tale by Edgar Allan Poe. But the sad answer is that Poe never penned a vampire story. A Poe story listed in the Table of Contents for an anthology boosts sales. Nevertheless, in the case of vampire anthologies, Poe’s inclusion is misdirected. 




Saturday, April 7, 2012

Giveaway for The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology

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I wanted to let everyone know that I am giving away an autographed edition of The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology on GoodReads this month. You can enter here. Good luck and get ready to be scared!