González Moreno, Beatriz & Rigal Aragón, Margarita: A Descent into Edgar Allan Poe and His Works: The Bicentennial. (Bern: Peter Lang), 2010.
This recent publication brings together a group of scholars who are Poe-conscious, who are aware of the many Poe-related mysteries which are still to be unveiled. The book is organized into three principal sections. The first part, Parallel Lives: Reading Poe, includes three essays which analyse the similarities and differences between the lives and works of three major European writers who were, in a variety of ways, deeply linked to Poe: the British Dickens, the French Baudelaire and the Spanish Bécquer. In “Poe versus Dickens: Admiration and Conflict”, Fernando Galván presents both writers in their historical and literary contexts within their respective national traditions, exploring their mutual influences and parallelisms, in spite of the differences in their conceptions and styles of writing; through the pages of “Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire: the Artist as the Elite Victim”, Sonya Isaak deals with Baudelaire’s discovery of Edgar Allan Poe, examining the affinity between the two of them, while centring on analogies in their biographies and works; and, Ricardo Marín highlights the ties binding the works of Poe and Bécquer, shedding light upon the similarities observed concerning narrative patterns and the construction of characters and atmospheres in the works of both Romantic writers, in his article “Two Romanticisms but the Same Feeling. The Presence of Poe in Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer’s Leyendas”.
In the second part, Poe’s Legacies: Detectives, the Gothic, and Science Fiction, some of Poe’s main legacies are revisited: detection, the Gothic, and Science Fiction. Here, Margarita Rigal, in “The Thousand-and-Second Dupins Created by the Father of Modern Detective Fiction”, demonstrates that although, traditionally, only a few of Poe’s tales are regarded as belonging to the detection genre, if his complete production is studied closely, it can be discovered that Poe’s rationalization is at work in many of his stories, and that Dupin is just but one of the several “detectives” invented by him; with “Approaching the Dupin-Holmes (or Poe-Doyle) Controversy”, Beatriz González explores Poe’s influence on Conan Doyle, analysing recurrent themes created by Poe and then used by Doyle, while focusing on how Doyle was accused of being a plagiarist and how he dealt with the situation; and, Ángel Mateos’s “‘The horrors are not to be denied’: The influence of Edgar A. Poe on Ray Bradbury” presents a close reading of two short stories by Bradbury where the references to Poe are intentional with a comparative analysis of Bradbury’s treatment of elements coming from Poe, providing a new insight into Bradbury’s literary dialogue with one of his major influences.
The third part, Poe, Aesthetics and the Use of Language, deals with the aesthetic quality of his narratives and also offers an analysis of his work integrating Text Linguistics within the broader study of social discourses. “Poe’s Poetry: Melancholy and the Picturesque”, by Santiago Rodríguez, analyses the relation between the aesthetic concept of the picturesque and melancholy in Poe’s poetry, he investigates the shift in the idea of melancholy that took place in the late eighteenth century and demonstrates that it is a “common illness” in high-class society in Britain and pays attention to the rise of the picturesque, as opposed to the sublime, in Poe’s poetry; Eduardo de Gregorio, with “Functions and values of description, metaphorical image and comparison in “Ligeia”: a discursive-rhetorical study”, explores the discursive-rhetorical functions of these in Edgar Alan Poe’s “Ligeia”. Finally, by way of epilogue, in “John Allan vs. Edgar Allan, or Poe Early Years”, José Antonio Gurpegui inspiringly re-reads Poe’s life by his tomb. In addition, an illustrated chronology, prepared by Ángel Galdón, has been included at the end of the book.
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