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Edgar Allan Poe and the Masses Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (April 5, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691001995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691001999
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,135,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


An important and carefully researched book on Poe. . . . Whalen is a remarkably well versed Poe scholar. . . . His elegantly and lucidly written book . . . is sure to crucially influence the future shape of Poe studies. -- Review


The most illuminating full-scale study of Poe to appear in many years, Terence Whalen's Edgar Allan Poe and the Masses reconstructs the economic determinants of the author's career to establish a compelling new understanding of his works and his place in American literature. Often cast as an otherworldly outsider, Poe emerges here as a representative figure, a shrewd magazinist acutely aware of (and responsive to) developments in American mass culture during the antebellum market revolution. Poe regarded the emerging mass audience as a target of exploitation but also a menace to serious art and personal privacy; Whalen resituates standard texts like The Gold Bug to show how economic issues suffused Poe's narratives and how worries about the horrid laws of political economy, dogged even his visionary projects. A work of extraordinary originality and resourcefulness, Edgar Allan Poe and the Masses seems to me an indispensable book destined to set the course for Poe studies in the coming decade.
(J. Gerald Kennedy, author of "Poe, Death, and the Life of Writing")

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book makes many original contributions to the study of Poe and his times. As I read through it, I began to understand what Poe must have felt as he struggled to make it as a professional writer. The book has something for everyone: capitalism, slavery, desperate acts of deception, and a fascinating link between Poe and Charles Babbage, who invented the prototype of the modern computer. I especially liked the fact that Whalen laid out convincing evidence--much of it new--instead of just making assertions. The book is not just an interpretation of Poe; it's really an attempt to recreate one of the most important moments in American cultural history.
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