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I haven't yet ruled out the possibility that I'm simply an oddball, but I assume every boy goes through a sort of Poe mania at some stage, at least I did.  In fact, I got so bad around 5th grade that, having torn through the stories and poems, I was even reading biographies about him.  But somehow, even with all of that, I think I had missed this longer work.  I'm sorry I did, because while this wildly overstuffed adventure is enjoyable now, I would have really loved it as a kid.

When Arthur Gordon Pym stows away on a whaling ship, he little dreams that he'll encounter tyranny, mutiny, biblical storms, cannibalism, shipwreck...and Poe's just getting warmed up.

I've read that he cobbled together this semi-novel from several shorter pieces he'd written.  It has a somewhat uneven feel to it; episodic, even disjointed.  And as the episodes are piled one on top of the other it becomes a tad much.  But it is always fun, often thrilling, and the mayhem that lurks on the surface guards layer upon layer of allegory and allusion.  As you read you find yourself saying, "Hey, Melville borrowed that scene and Jack London got that idea here and Lovecraft cadged this plot..."    If you have any doubts about how influential a literary figure Edgar Allan Poe was, this melodramatic masterpiece will put them to rest.  More importantly, you'll thoroughly enjoy yourself.


Grade: (A-)


See also:

Edgar Poe (2 books reviewed)
Sea Stories
Edgar Poe Links:
-The Last Haunting of Edgar Allan Poe (The Beale Papers)

Book-related and General Links:
    -Edgar Allan Poe Museum (Richmond, VA)
    -The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore
    -BIO: Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) (kirjasto)
    -Qrisse's Poe Page
    -Poe Coder
    -Index to the Edgar A. Poe Biography
    -Precisely Poe
    -Poe Perceptions: Poe's Recurrent Motifs and Themes
    -The House of Usher: Edgar Allan Poe
    -The Work of Edgar Allan Poe
    -A Poe Webliography by Heyward Ehrlich
    -PAL: Perspectives in American Literature:  A Research and Reference Guide Chapter 3: Early Nineteenth Century: Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
    -The Folio Club
    -Edgar Allan Poe (Keith Parkins Site)
    -Edgar Allan Poe Page (Free Markets)
    -REVIEW: of  The Poetical Works of Edgar A. Poe  (OCTOBER   1859, The Atlantic)
    -REVIEW: of  The Works of Edgar Allan Poe (APRIL  1896, The Atlantic)
    -ETEXTS: The Work of Edgar Allan Poe
    -ESSAY: BEYOND THE PALE WITH EDGAR ALLAN POE (Marilynne Robinson, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY: Poe &  Lovecraft (Robert Bloch)
    -ARTICLE: Researcher Says Rabies, Not Alcoholism, May Have Killed Poe  Reporter: Christopher Shea, Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 1996
    -REVIEW:  Edgar A. Poe Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance By Kenneth Silverman (MICHIKO KAKUTANI, NY Times)
    -REVIEW:  Edgar A. Poe Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance By Kenneth Silverman (Daniel Hoffman, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW:  Harold Bloom: Inescapable Poe, NY Review of Books
        Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales edited by Patrick F. Quinn
        Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews edited by G.R. Thompson
    -REVIEW: Karl Miller: Poe in the Sky, NY Review of Books
        Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe
        Edgar Allan Poe by David Sinclair
        The Tell-Tale Heart: The Life and Work of Edgar Allan Poe by Julian Symons
        Building Poe Biography by John Carl Miller
    -REVIEW: Richard Wilbur: The Poe Mystery Case, NY Review of Books
        The Recognition of Edgar Allan Poe: A Collection of Critical Essays edited by Eric W. Carlson
        Poe: A Collection of Critical Essays edited by Robert Regan
    -REVIEW:    NEVERMORE By William Hjortsberg (Tom De Haven, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY: MYSTERIES JOIN THE MAINSTREAM (Michiko Kakutani, NY Times Book Review)