Approaches to Teaching Poe’s Prose and Poetry

  • Editors: Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, Tony Magistrale
  • Pages: xix & 241 pp.
  • Published: 2008
  • ISBN: 9781603290128 (Paperback)
  • ISBN: 9781603290111 (Cloth)
Approaches to Teaching Poe's Prose and Poetry Cover

“The essays provide practical activities that can be readily attempted by teachers who are open to a variety of pedagogical techniques—and who have been frustrated by students’ preconceptions concerning Poe.”

—Joseph Andriano, University of Louisiana, Lafayette

Edgar Allan Poe is a popular author, and students have often read his work by the time they reach the college or university classroom. His writings have inspired film, television, and musical adaptations—sources for much of students’ knowledge about Poe. Thus the challenge for teachers is to reacquaint students with Poe as a complex literary figure. This volume equips teachers with the tools necessary to meet that challenge.

Part 1 identifies the most frequently taught Poe texts, reviews useful editions of his work, and suggests secondary sources on Poe as well as television, film, music, and Web materials for use in the classroom. Essays in part 2 explore the relation between Poe’s writing and his biography, including his attitudes toward racial difference and plagiarism and his wide publication in the literary magazines of his time. Contributors consider the range of Poe’s writings, from his horror stories to his analytic essays and tales of ratiocination; his work is also compared with that of Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock, and graphic novelists. Other essays assess the usefulness of theoretical approaches to Poe, especially psychoanalytic ones, and discuss the controversies concerning the literary merit of his work. Together, these essays bring to life the political, philosophical, and religious context in which Poe wrote.

James R. Britton
Leonard Cassuto
Marcy J. Dinius
William Etter
Duncan Faherty
Benjamin F. Fisher
Derek Furr
Lesley Ginsberg
Desirée Henderson
Diane Long Hoeveler
M. Thomas Inge
Rebecca Jaroff
Paul Christian Jones
Alison M. Kelly
A. Samuel Kimball
Scott Peeples
Dennis R. Perry
Philip Edward Phillips
Stephen Rachman
Erik Redling
Donelle Ruwe
Domenick Scudera
Lois Davis Vines
Edward Wesp
Brian Yothers

Preface to the Series (ix)

Preface to the Volume (1)

PART ONE: MATERIALS

Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock and Tony Magistrale

Courses and Texts (7)

Readings for Students (8)

Readings for Teachers (9)

Reference Works (9)

Background Studies (10)

Biography (11)

Criticism (12)

Aids to Teaching (14)

TV and Cinema (14)

Music and Spoken Word (15)

Web Sites (15)

Images (16)

PART TWO: APPROACHES

Introduction (19)

Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock and Tony Magistrale

Literary, Cultural, and Historical Contexts

Teaching Poe the Magazinist (26)

Scott Peeples

Poe the Crime Writer: Historicizing “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (33)

Leonard Cassuto

“Legitimate Sources” and “Legitimate Results”: Surveying the Social Terror of “Usher” and “Ligeia” (39)

Duncan Faherty

“Some Words with a Mummy”: Teaching Satire and the Democratic Threat in Poe’s Fiction (48)

Edward Wesp

Teaching the Mechanics of Deception: “Hans Pfaall,” Science Fiction, and Hoaxing in Antebellum Print Culture (55)

Marcy J. Dinius

What Difference Does It Make? Pym, Plagiarism, and Pop Culture (61)

Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

Understanding the Fear and Love of Death in Three Premature-Burial Stories: “The Premature Burial,” “Morella,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” (69)

Desirée Henderson

Teaching Poe’s “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee” as Elegies (76)

Philip Edward Phillips

Mourning and Eve(ning): Teaching Poe’s Poetry (81)

Benjamin F. Fisher

Rectangular Obscenities: Poe, Taste, and Entertainment (88)

Stephen Rachman

Theoretical Contexts

A New-Historicist Approach to Teaching “The Black Cat” (97)

Lesley Ginsberg

Reader Response and the Interpretation of “Hop-Frog,” “How to Write a Blackwood Article,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” (104)

Brian Yothers

Teaching “The Purloined Letter” and Lacan’s Seminar: Introducing Students to Psychoanalysis through Poe (109)

Diane Long Hoeveler

The Linguistic Turn, First-Person Experience, and the Terror of Relativism: “The Purloined Letter” and the Affective Limits of Ratiocination (115)

A. Samuel Kimball

The “Visionary” Project: Poe and the Textual Condition (125)

Derek Furr

Teaching Poe’s Ironic Approach to German Learners of English: The Didactic Complexities of “The Cask of Amontillado” (132)

Erik Redling

Classroom Contexts

The Red Death’s Sway: Teaching Poe and Stephen King in the American Literature Classroom (139)

Tony Magistrale

Teaching Pym in a Survey of American Literature (146)

James R. Britton

Trust Thyself? Teaching Poe’s Murder Tales in the Context of Transcendental Self-Reliance (154)

Paul Christian Jones

Loving with a Love That Is More Than Love: Poe, the American Dream, and the Secondary School Classroom (161)

Alison M. Kelly

Poe, Literary Theory, and the English Education Course (170)

Donelle Ruwe

Teaching Poe in the Disability Studies Classroom: “The Man That Was Used Up” (177)

William Etter

Rediscovering Poe through the Eyes of World Authors: What Do They See in Him? (186)

Lois Davis Vines

Teaching Poe’s Influence on Hitchcock: The Example of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and Psycho (192)

Dennis R. Perry

Poe in the Comics (198)

M. Thomas Inge

From Page to Stage: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching “The Philosophy of Composition” through Performing “The Raven.” (204)

Rebecca Jaroff and Domenick Scudera

Notes on Contributors (211)

Survey Participants (215)

Works Cited (217)

Index of Names (235)

Index of Works by Poe (241)