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.
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.