Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $35.00
  • Save: $8.01 (23%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 20 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Edgar Allan Poe: A Critic... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: All pages are unmarked and clean. Cover shows minor edgewear, tight binding. Ships SAME/NEXT day and securely packaged!
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $1.75
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography Paperback – November 25, 1997

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$124.99
Paperback
"Please retry"
$26.99
$23.40 $10.15

"My Father, the Pornographer" by Fang Lizhi
A son tries to understand his late father, by reading the 400-plus novels left to him in his father's will. Check out "My Father, the Pornographer".
$26.99 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 20 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography
  • +
  • Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance
  • +
  • Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems
Total price: $51.70
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review

Without warning, without any preliminary fanfare of trumpets, a book has now appeared that towers above others of its kind, a book in which resourceful scholarship and a lucid gift of expression are happily joined. I wish I could recapture all I have recklessly said in praise of other books and concentrate it here.

(Books)

From the Back Cover

Renowned as the creator of the detective story and a master of horror, the author of "The Masque of the Red Death", "The Black Cat", and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", Edgar Allan Poe seems to have derived his success from suffering and to have suffered from his success. "The Raven" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" have been read as signs of his personal obsessions, and "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "A Descent into the Maelstrom" as symptoms of his own mental collapse. Biographers have seldom resisted the opportunities to confuse the pathologies in the stories with the events in Poe's life. Against this tide of fancy, guesswork, and amateur psychologizing, Arthur Hobson Quinn's biography devotes itself meticulously to facts. Based on exhaustive research in the Poe family archive, Quinn extracts the life from the legend and describes how they both were distorted by early biographies.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 804 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1st edition (November 25, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801857309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801857300
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a lifelong fan of Edgar Allan Poe, I admit that I worship at the altar of Poe. Therefore it was a delight to discover this most excellent bio, extensively researched by another worshipful fan (from an earlier era) of American's greatest short story writer. This is a must for your reference library. I read and absorbed every single page. I'm grateful that the author followed his own lifelong passion for Poe and went against the grain of Poe bashing biographers of his time, and produced this work that extols Poe's positive character features while not neglecting the negatives. Compare this bio with other "negative" Poe bios of the past (esp. early 20th century), still available in libraries, and you'll understand why it was such a pleasure for me to find this particular book which provides a more balanced picture of the artist's life and career.
Comment 26 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I stumbled across Quinn's biography of Edgar Allen Poe while doing research for my Master's thesis on Poe's work. The size of the book is daunting, but I found it amazingly easy to read (yes, it's harder to follow than Dick And Jane, but it's easier to read than a lot of academic writing) and Quinn was incredibly thorough in backing up his contentions.

He follows Poe's life from birth to death, using Poe's work; his critics; letters to, from, and about the man; and numerous other sources to paint a picture of Poe not as an opium-addicted, death-obsessed pedophile, but rather as a writer devoted to literature and his quest to elicit a visceral reaction in his reader, as well as a man devastated by the loss of his teenage wife. (Yes, Virginia was young by 21st-century standards, but Poe didn't live in the 21st century. I seem to recall hearing that Juliet was 12.)

This book may be daunting for the casual reader--804-pages daunting--but if you're looking for a biography that looks under the bed and between the sofa cushions, I definitely recommend this book. Poe will always remain a shrouded figure who died under mysterious circumstances--in large part because the man he trusted as his literary executor betrayed him--but Quinn does an amazing job at fleshing out what was going on in his life and painting as objective and complete a picture as possible.
Comment 12 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A meticulous and massive work that piles fact upon fact. This is a reprint of a 1941 work, and the author, Quinn, was born in 1875. He is concerned to defend Poe's reputation against charges of immorality. More background about the marriage to Virginia would have been interesting. How common were such marriages in Virginia at that time? Was the full age of 21 claimed on the marriage bond legally necessary? I don't know if Silverman's 1992 biography has this, I might try it, but 750 pages on Poe is enough for now. If you really need to see an exact reproduction of the title page of Poe's textbook of conchology, this is the book for you.
Comment 22 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Quinn's biography of Poe may be old-fashioned, but it's encyclopedic, scholarly, and not encrusted with all kinds of chic postmodernisms that we deplore in 20th Century biographies of 19th Century persons. I wanted to know about Poe, not about Arthur Hobson Quinn's grasp of psychoanalysis and postmodern politics, and that's what I got.

Quinn bends over backwards to be sympathetic to Poe in all the controversies of his life, but Poe needed all the charity he could get, now as well as when he lived. Quinn writes from the perspective of a University of Pennsylvania professor, a historian of drama and literature, and Quinn's not afraid to wade into the texts of Poe's Tales and Poems to give us critical opinions, nearly always based in some facts, not high-flown speculation.

Too bad we don't have more of these old school men who lived between 1875 and 1944!
Comment 7 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had to write a paper on Poe's life with loads of primary sources. Though a little old-fashioned, this is the perfect book to do just that.It has family trees, rough drafts of poe's, and pictures. With 700+ words it is lengthy, but if you are looking for scholarly analysis of Poe's life and works, you need this book.
Comment 6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This is the best biography about Edgar Allan Poe I have ever seen. Meticulous and clear, Arthur H. Quinn take us to the real world that E.A.POE lived and show us with facts that Poe was more than a writer, a Genius.
Comment 13 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The research that Arthur Hobson Quinn did on this book is mind boggling. All his conclusions of Poe are based on contemporaneous writings of people who knew the author, and even then, careful examination of other writings by different people at the time is used to come to make logical delineations in cases where accounts differ. Letters, original title pages, Poe's own notes, are all displayed for the reader. This is a fascinating read, and for anyone who wants to try to look into the marvelous mind of Edgar A. Poe, this is the book for you. Careful references and examples of his poems and short stories are also provided, and linked brilliantly to what was going on in Poe's life at the time. For anyone who loves Poe and what he wrote, this book is a must.
Comment 3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Edgar Allan Poe finally got the biographer he deserved in 1941 – almost a century after his death – when Arthur Hobson Quinn of the University of Pennsylvania published this masterpiece of literary biography. In the 761 densely packed pages of "Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography," Quinn clears away the accumulated mass of falsehood, distortion, and misinformation that had gathered around Poe. In the process, he presents the reader, as no writer had done before and few have approached since, with the true life and personality of a great American author.

All the facts of Poe’s short, turbulent, often tragic, always poverty-plagued life are here; but for those who are not already familiar with Poe’s life, a word of explanation is in order regarding why this biography so needed to be written. In one of the most unfortunate decisions ever made by a major American writer, Poe chose a long-time enemy, one Rufus Griswold, to serve as his literary executor. Griswold rewrote letters of Poe, forged passages that Poe never wrote, and cast every act of Poe’s in the worst possible light – all in an effort to depict Poe as an utterly immoral literary fiend, forever indulging depraved appetites. As Poe scholar Shawn Rosenheim states in a foreword to this Johns Hopkins University Press reprint of Quinn’s work, “It was as if Mozart had left his scores to Antonio Salieri….Poe has never fully recovered from Griswold’s portrait of him as a drunken, amoral, death-obsessed wretch” (p. xii).

Griswold’s lies could not be further from the historical truth of Poe as a dedicated writer who tried to live a good life and worked hard at his craft.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography
This item: Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography
Price: $26.99
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com