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The Selected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (Norton Critical Editions) Paperback – August 30, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0393972856 ISBN-10: 0393972852 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Critical Editions
  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (August 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393972852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393972856
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) wrote tales of the macabre, and invented or contributed to inventing the detective and science fiction genres.

G.R. Thompson is Professor of English at Purdue University. He has published several studies of Edgar Allan Poe, including Poe’s Fiction: Romantic Irony in the Gothic Tales, Essays and Reviews of Edgar Allan Poe, Romantic Arabesque, Contemporary Theory, and Postmodernism and the Library of America edition of Poe’s Essays and Reviews.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a "complete" Poe, you have two sensible choices, the first being Thomas Ollive Mabbott's 3 volume edition (richly annotated, and each of the works introduced with an account covering composition, publication, aesthetic aims and critical consensus), and the second the delightful and portable Library of America volume. I put "complete" in quotes because even these miss Poe's "Eureka" and some of his own reviews and sketches. The market offers countless other "complete" Poes, often available in the remaindered section of book stores, but these two options serve him (and you) best--if you want all his poems and tales.

But if you want a selection, this Norton Critical Edition is your single best choice. It's far from complete--30 poems, 35 stories, a novel and then a collection of letters and articles. But all your favorites are here, and they are also well annotated, which is not just scholarly fluff but a way of filling you in on all of Poe's now obscure knowledge of pseudo-science, his views about slavery (an issue in The Narrative of Gordon Pym), theories of the mind, 18th century gothic precepts, etc etc. These things really preoccupied Poe and they inform his stories, and knowing about them honors his intentions while only increasing our appreciation for the tales and poems. People in a huff about footnotes can just skip them, and people who wish to know what Poe was drawing on--what often inspired the tales--can read them, and if you know about it already, more power to you. Anyway, these notes are really useful and pretty thorough, often including info about publication, alternate versions Poe later wrote, motives for writing it, plus of course all that now lost cultural context that Poe was so much a part of.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William Darkbloom on September 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Edgar Allan Poe isn't known simply for his eloquently eccentric writings but also for his crass behaviour. I was surprised to find - through the thoughtful and thorough biography contained in this volume - that much of this may have been pure conjecture and hearsay. What remains, however, are Poe's wonderfully creative and provocative short stories and poems.

As mentioned already, this edition is helpful if you're interested in getting to know who Poe was as a person, but it also contains a lot of useful annotations and critical essays. Many of the unfamiliar terms and ideas are nicely explained, while the essays at the back provide information fit for lengthy rumination. All the favourites are here: 'The Raven', 'Anabel Lee', 'Ligeia', 'The Fall of the House of Usher', and the revolutionary 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue'. The major works are accompanied by a short introduction, which offers extra information about the publication of the text and popular views of the time. Of course if you want the full Poe then Mabbott is your man, but this edition makes note of any textual deviations from Mabbott's and contains those helpful critical essays.

Thus far my only criticism stems from just how thin the paper is. The problem here is that the text written on the reverse side of the page of the one you are reading can be seen, but it never makes the writing illegible and is of only minute annoyance. It is understandable that Norton wanted to fit it all into one volume and, as such, it is a neccessary drawback. Simply put, if you are looking for a fine selection of Poe's writings with additional material, this is the edition to buy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matthew T. Hammer on July 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
Poe's writings are the most stable part of his life. They are incredible, read over and over again. None dispute his genius and if you've only read "the Raven" or something the length of time of a pop song, read a good short story and see how you look at people afterward. What secrets they hide and in it's fiction Poe relates the truth of the human condition. Must have for anyone.
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