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Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance Paperback – December 23, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This mesmerizing chronicle of Poe's short and disorderly life incorporates fresh discoveries about the poet/storyteller's travels, relationships and literary works. Illustrations.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- A comprehensive but readable biography. Poe is pictured as a man who was obsessed by the early death of his actress mother and as one who filled his writings with themes of lost love, violent murder, and the supernatural. Particularly intriguing are his relations with his contemporaries: his constant denigration of the talents of Longfellow, other literary feuds and frauds, his penchant for reporting on bogus ``news events,'' his quarrels with his editors and backers, and his bouts with alcoholism and despair. A compelling portrait. --Richard Lisker, Fairfax Public Library, VA
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (December 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060923318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060923310
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Silverman is a Pulitzer Prize winning biographer, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a lifetime member of the Society of American Magicians.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you have enough interest in Poe to even entertain the idea of reading a biography, you should move ahead now and order a copy of this fantastic book. But you'd better have a copy of Poe's works nearby, because Silverman's book (as with all excellent literary biographies)will continually fire your yearning to revisit familiar Poe works and to discover ones you've missed. Assuming that your interest derives first from Poe's writings, you'll find Silverman's account wholly engaging. I like to thumb through it simply for Silverman's analytic synopses of Poe's poems and stories, which the author enlivens with connections between the work he's currently reviewing and earlier and later ones as well. Silverman thus offers a total panorama of Poe's interests, development, themes and aims. Indeed, the book could almost be the biography of Poe's literary accomplishment.
Silverman's finely detailed yet compulsively readable account of Poe's life is equally engrossing. The book's title is the most sensationalistic thing about it, for Silverman pursues the facts and spectualtions about Poe with deep scholarly interest but objective, rational distance--and yet he relays it all with a novelist's drive. He allows the unremittingly frustrating commingling of tragedy and success in Poe's life speak for itself. Though this is a book to be read from cover to cover, you can nonethless pick it up anywhere and find yourself immediately involved. Silverman capture's Poe's person and his art with balance and intensity in his solid biography.
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I love biographies and read a great many of them. Silverman's work on Poe is certainly my favorite bio of the American Romantic. Poe was my first and most important influence in life. I read him in middle school, and later in high school, I wrote my senior paper on his works. Since then, I have read every biography I could get my hands on. This one book is my keeper. Somehow, in his own personal way, Silverman was able to capture a side to Poe I had not really seen in earlier readings. It is subtitled a Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance, and that is exactly what it is. Here Poe comes alive, in all his glories and disappointments. It's mournful, it's detailed, and it will certainly never leave your memory. Silverman actually breathes life into Poe, and for a moment, while you are reading, you feel as though you might look over and see Edgar A sitting next to you. That's kind of nice.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book primarily to find out Silverman's take on Poe's being found (just before his death) in clothes that did not belong to him (as indicated in a video in the Great Authors series). That odd fact, combined with the alter egos he created in stories like "Fall of the House of Usher" made me wonder if Poe had some sort of alter ego himself. Though the clothing issue is not completely explained (after all, who could know with certainty?), Silverman's book does offer insights into Poe's use of false identity, pseudonym, anonymous writing, plagiarism, and other identity issues (especially relating to his odd perversions of the Allan name and his brother's name). In addition, Poe's behavior, as explained by Silverman, put me in mind of a book entitled *I Hate You, Don't Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality Disorder* by Jerold J. Kreisman and Hal Straus, published in 1989. I'm an English teacher, not a psychologist, and I do not know the current thinking on borderline personality disorder, but it is apparent that virtually every characteristic Kreisman and Straus identified in the borderline personality were exhibited by Poe. The next time I teach Poe, I plan to present information from both books for my students to consider (after reading "Fall of the House of Usher," Poe's story with a cross-gender alter ego). Thanks, Professor Silverman, for a marvelously researched and documented book!
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This book is the first I've read about the life of Edgar Allan Poe, so I'm not in position to declare it the definitive Poe study but I cannot imagine another biography being as thoroughly researched and thought-out as Kenneth Silverman's work. I purchased this book because I wanted to read about Poe's life not analyses of his works. Silverman concentrates on Poe's life and career but does include some analysis of his writings. Often he finds parallels in the names of Poe's characters and the names of the people in his life (see pages 208 and 237, for example). On the surface, that does not seem very unusual but Silverman expands beyond just the names having the same letters into insight on the role such people played in Poe's life. Silverman also examines Poe's writing techniques which used punctuation, sounds, and rhythm to bring emphasis and effectiveness to his works (pg. 113). A student of mathematics at the University of Virginia, logic and methodology also played roles in Poe's writing as he, himself, explained in "The Philosophy of Composition" (pp. 296-7).

The biography is 447 pages with 73 pages of chapter notes and Appendices that summarize some of Poe's works, but it reads very quickly. The text is divided into 46 chapters of about ten pages each with the dates being covered at the top so it is easy to follow and to read in short time blocks like lunch breaks. It is "reader friendly" in other words. It is scholarly but not inaccessible. It is also a fair account. Silverman does not gloss over or ignore Poe's faults but also does not dwell on them and puts some of his actions in context (i.e. his marriage to his 13 year-old cousin and his womanizing after--and even before--her death is not as promiscuous as it seems). It is not a sycophantic account either.
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