Cover image for The Poe encyclopedia
The Poe encyclopedia
Frank, Frederick S.
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [1997]

Physical Description:
xxii, 453 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
980 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS2630 .P58 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Best known as the author of imaginative short fiction, such as The Fall of the House of Usher and The Cask of Amontillado, and as the author of hauntingly sonorous poems such as The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe was a leading practitioner of the American Gothic and helped popularize the short story as a genre. This reference work assembles in dictionary format a complete and current body of information on Poe's life and work. More than 1900 entries cover all phases of Poe's art and literary criticism, his family relationships, his numerous travels and residences, and the abundance of critical responses to his works. Each entry provides bibliographical information, and the volume concludes with an extensive listing of works for further consideration. ]]

Best known for his mysterious and imaginative short fiction, such as The Fall of the House of Usher and The Cask of Amontillado, as well as hauntingly sonorous poems such as The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe has secured a lasting place in the American literary canon. He was one of the first American authors to be given serious attention in Europe, and his works popularized the Gothic, the short story, and detective fiction in America. Poe's works are frequently studied in schools and colleges, but he also retains his appeal as one of America's most demanding popular authors. His works reflect his vast and sometimes arcane erudition, his probing insights into the workings of the mind, his theories of literature and aesthetics, and his interest in science and the supernatural.

Through more than 1900 alphabetically arranged entries, this reference book provides complete and current coverage of Poe's life and work. Some entries treat Poe's known reading and his responses to literary contemporaries and international literary figures. Others comment on the impact of various writers and literary traditions on Poe's imagination. Still others address Poe's views on subjects ranging from Shakespeare to mesmerism to phrenology. Each entry is supplemented by a bibliographical note which gives the basis for the entry and suggests sources for further investigation. Each entry for Poe's fiction and poetry contains a critical synopsis, and an extensive bibliography at the end of the volume lists the most important critical and biographical studies of Poe.

Author Notes

FREDERICK S. FRANK is Professor Emeritus of English at Allegheny College. He has published articles in journals such as Bulletin of Bibliography , American Transcendental Quarterly , and Extrapolation . His books include Through the Pale Door: A Guide to and Through the American Gothic (Greenwood, 1990).

ANTHONY MAGISTRALE is Professor of English at the University of Vermont. His publications include The Dark Descent: Essays Defining Stephen King's Horrorscape (Greenwood, 1992).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The authors' claims that their encyclopedia will "appeal to many types of users" (casual readers, students, and scholars) and that it is "the first reference book of its type" are fulfilled. The contents include a scholarly preface, a detailed chronology of Poe's life and writings, a bibliography of primary and secondary sources, and three indexes to titles, themes, and characters. Arranged alphabetically, the bibliography includes "everything that Poe wrote" (except his letters); all his literary and personal acquaintances; and authors, books, and places associated with Poe. Entries range from several sentences to several pages, the latter reserved for stories ("The Pit and the Pendulum"), poems ("The Raven"), and characters (Lenore). The selections are broad, from Poe's contemporaries (Lord Byron) to our own (Joyce Carol Oates). Many include citations to Poe's text (one of three standard or authoritative texts) and to research (criticism current to 1994), which are abbreviated within entries and refer to a core list of Poe sources at the front of the volume (a cumbersome but minor inconvenience). Although see and see also references are rare, arguments can be made against their unnecessary use in such entries as "Alcoholism. See: Poe, Edgar Allan." Another recent Poe reference source, A Companion to Poe Studies, ed. Eric W. Carlson (1996), also provides a guide to Poe scholarship. The present encyclopedia differs in format and content, presenting a more concise, organized list of entries with multiple access points. Highly recommended for reference collections in American literature. L. H. Cherepon; St. John's University (NY)

Table of Contents

Chronology Introduction The Encyclopedia
Bibliography Index of Critics, Editors, and Other Names
Index of Authors, Artists, and Titles Index of Themes, Subjects, and Characters