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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:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Edgar Allan Poe
    -ANNOTATED ETEXT: “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by Edgar Allan Poe: Annotated: Poe’s 1841 story, considered the first detective fiction, contains many tropes now considered standard to the genre, including a brilliant, amateur detective. (Liz Tracey, January 18, 2023, daily jStor)
-ESSAY: On Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher” (“Commentary on Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher,” from The House of Fiction, edited by Caroline Gordon and Allen Tate)
    -ESSAY: EDGAR ALLAN POE'S BID TO BECOME A REAL-LIFE CRIME SOLVER: Having created a popular fictional detective, Poe set out to apply his theories of reason to the day's biggest mysteries. (ALEX HORTIS, 3/05/24, CrimeReads)
    -ESSAY: “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” & Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe (Sean Fitzpatrick, April 19th, 2023, Imaginative Conservative)
    -ESSAY: WHY DOES THE MYSTERY OF EDGAR ALLAN POE'S DEATH STILL HAUNT US? Few American writers have been read so widely for so long. And for many, Poe's death is inextricable from his fiction. (MARK DAWIDZIAK, 2/14/23, Crime Reads)
    -ESSAY: THE STRANGE REAL-LIFE MYSTERY BEHIND EDGAR ALLAN POE'S "THE BLACK CAT": Fact meets fiction in Poe’s classic story of a murderer (DEAN JOBB, 2/13/23, CrimeReads)
    -ESSAY: The Enduring Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe’s Macabre Death (Nick Kolakowski, 12/08/22, MSN)
    -INTERVIEW: HOW EDGAR ALLAN POE REINVENTED AMERICAN LITERATURE – AND SCIENCE WRITING: John Tresch: "In that lurid myth, in those shocking images, that's where the field of experimentation for future literature lives." (LISA LEVY, 12/03/22, Crime Reads)
    -ESSAY: Edgar Allan Poe & the Mask of the 20th Century (David Gosselin, January 18th, 2022, Imaginative Conservative)
    -ESSAY: poe boy: The ongoing impact of Edgar Allan Poe (SUDIPTO SANYAL, 10/28/2021, The Smart Set)
-REVIEW ESSAY: “The Fearful Colored into the Horrible”: Edgar Allan Poe and The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (Carlos Acevedo, October 28, 2022, City Journal)
    -ESSAY: The Devil in Poe (CASEY CHALK, October 2021, Crisis) -The Last Haunting of Edgar Allan Poe (The Beale Papers)
    -REVIEW: of A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allan Poe By Mark Dawidziak (Bob Duffy, Washington Independent Review of Books)
    -REVIEW: of In Poe’s Wake: Travels in the Graphic and the Atmospheric By Jonathan Elmer (Jethro K. Lieberman, Washington Independent Review of Books)

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)