English 90

Practices of Literary Study: Poe and More

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Fall 2021 Otter, Samuel
MWF 2-3 30 Wheeler

Book List

Hayes, Kevin J., ed.: The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe (Cambridge); Lovecraft, H. P.: At the Mountains of Madness (Modern Library); Poe, Edgar: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (Penguin); Poe, Edgar: The Selected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Ed. G. R. Thompson (Norton Critical Edition)

Other Readings and Media

Photocopied course reader and/or PDFs.


We will immerse ourselves in the extraordinary and influential literary career of Edgar Allan Poe: poetry, tales, satires, and essays. We will examine Poe’s work in relation to mid-nineteenth-century short fiction by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Harriet Prescott Spofford and to the circle of women poets with whom Poe associated (Frances Sargent Osgood, Elizabeth Oakes Smith, and Sarah Helen Whitman). And we will examine Poe’s impact on the genres of detective fiction (Arthur Conan Doyle, Jorge Luis Borges) and supernatural horror (H. P. Lovecraft). We may also examine responses to Poe’s fiction and poetry by 20th and 21st-century artists and filmmakers. Across the course we will consider issues of narrative technique, genre, aesthetics, verbal style, politics, humor, gender, sexuality, and race. Requirements include two five-page essays and one seven-page essay and regular attendance and participation in discussion. Time will be reserved in class for discussing how to formulate theses and develop arguments in the required essays.

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