Abstract

This article argues that the Hudson River Valley—and specifically West Point—influenced Poe's writing and specifically his 1831 Poems dedicated to the U.S. Corps of Cadets. The grandeur of West Point's locale, the mystical nature of the surrounding rocky cliffs, the deep verdant river valley, the “light from out the lurid sea/Streams up the turrets silently” of the widening river at Trophy Point, and West Point's castellated architecture had a strong impact on Poe. Despite the haunting beauty of the area, Poe, like many cadets who view the scene laid out before them with a jaundiced perspective, knew the “worn, weary, discontented” desire to be anywhere but there. Drawing on work by Russell, Hecker, and Thompson, among others, the article concludes by suggesting reasons why Poe left West Point.

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