Poe, Just Under The Wire

I’ve intended for weeks to make it to the Morgan Library’s “Edgar Allan Poe: The Terror of the Soul Exhibit.” (See my blog entry for October 31 last.) The display, arranged in conjunction with the NYPL’s Berg Collection, contains manuscripts of Poe’s work from his varied career as literary critic, adventure writer, inventor of the modern detective story as well of those of his better-known tales of horror. There is also his correspondence. One letter observes, rather bitterly, that a person must be wealthy, or at least of independent means, to embark upon a career as a writer. In his era, true. He was, in fact, the first American to earn his living solely by writing. Interesting note: Poe pasted carefully re-written drafts into scrolls because he felt the reader’s concentration should not be disrupted by the turning of pages. This is one writer who would have adjusted quite handily to e-books.

The exhibit is up for only one more week (ends Sunday, January 26). So duck in if you get the chance.