Images of Poe's Works: A Comprehensive Descriptive Catalogue of Illustrations

Images of Poe's Works: A Comprehensive Descriptive Catalogue of Illustrations

Images of Poe's Works: A Comprehensive Descriptive Catalogue of Illustrations

Images of Poe's Works: A Comprehensive Descriptive Catalogue of Illustrations

Synopsis

This reference tool gives ready access to Poe's works and their great influence on the graphic arts. The book's long introduction gives a historical survey of Poe illustration with seventeen pictures included. The 1625 main entries offer full detail of all the books, portfolios, separately published prints, and easel paintings; all of which illustrate or interpret almost 150 tales and poems of Poe. The book makes varied material available to students of Poe, art history, the graphic arts, and to teachers on every level seeking pictures to enliven approaches to the reading of Poe.

Excerpt

The inception of this book dates from 1970 when I discovered the priority of Poe essay-tale, "The Island of the Fay," over the accompanying magazine-picture which, he pretended, was the original source of the tale. In short, Poe was really illustrating his own work (see Plate 2 in my Introduction). In consequence, I began studying Poe's views on the role of illustration in literary works and sought out other instances of his practice, as editor and as literary theoretician. Soon, I extended my search for the versions by artists in America and England after his death, especially as a way of arguing how his contemporaries liked to imagine crucial or disputable situations in his tales. My regular trips each summer abroad, on a series of research projects, enabled me to indulge this interest--now usurping other goals; by the midseventies various granting agencies indulged my growing passion with funds for some expenses. I could examine the wonderful collections of Poe illustrated works in the Paris national library, and, eventually, all the national libraries of Europe, and of Japan, after the major Poe collections in this country had revealed their rich gatherings. After a few years, I had collated my finding lists from the New York Public Library and Columbia University with the bibliographic entries in the Library of Congress catalogue and other major public and academic collections. My plan evolved after a few years: to record in my notebooks the pertinent data for all illustrations on Poe's works not now available in New York City where I then lived, and to make it possible eventually to publish the facts and a brief opinion on all of this material. Originally I thought that only the theme or image embodied in the illustration would be worthy of a terse statement, not the style or quality of the interpretation. My notebooks swelled in size eventually to twenty large volumes. In addition, to jog my memory after returning home from traveling abroad, I began filling large loose leaf notebooks with pictures . . .

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