Friday, November 6, 2009

The Perils of Poe Biography

Here is an interesting little story from the Lewistown (PA) Sentinel debunking a widely-circulated, and utterly fictitious legend about Edgar Allan Poe's adventures in central Pennsylvania. It's just another example of how everything--and I do mean everything--that has ever been said about Poe needs to be scrutinized with great care. In the years I've spent studying his life, I've come to the depressing conclusion that if you could magically remove all the demonstrably false or highly questionable details from his accepted biography, we wouldn't have enough known facts left about the man to fit on the back of a playing card.

A note: The "biographical book on Edgar Allan Poe in the 1920s" that used this clown Shoemaker as a source was Mary E. Phillips'. (The woman never met a Poe myth she didn't like.) I think Hervey Allen had dealings with him, too.

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