Writing in the Georgia Review in 1964, Charles Thomas Samuels provocatively inquired, “How can a bad writer be a major figure? About Edgar Allan Poe, no more important question can be asked.”1 Samuels’s question reflects his—and many critics’—uneasiness at the time with what he describes as the baffling paradox of Poe’s iconic cultural status despite “anything like a critical consensus”2 regarding the meaning and artistic merit of his literary works. To twenty-first-century ears, Samuels’s remarks may simply sound old-fashioned, expressing sentiments similar to T. S. Eliot’s infamous (and later somewhat revised) derisive judgements about Poe’s writing and intellect.3 However, Samuels’s jarring provocation and Eliot’s studied ambivalence both make reference to what might diplomatically be called the twentieth century’s “Poe problem”: the fact that Poe presented “a stumbling block for the judicial critic.”4 While there was no doubt among scholars that Poe’s cultural influence was equal to...
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Research Article| June 01 2022
Critical Reassessments: “A new way of reading Poe”: Reflections on G.R. Thompson’s Poe’s Fiction: Romantic Irony in the Gothic Tales
Sean J. Kelly
Sean J. Kelly
SEAN J. KELLY is Associate Professor of English at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses in nineteenth-century American literature, African American literature, literary criticism and theory, and composition. His articles have appeared in the Edgar Allan Poe Review, Papers on Language and Literature, Angelaki, and The Explicator.
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The Edgar Allan Poe Review (2022) 23 (1): 103–111.
Sean J. Kelly; Critical Reassessments: “A new way of reading Poe”: Reflections on G.R. Thompson’s Poe’s Fiction: Romantic Irony in the Gothic Tales. The Edgar Allan Poe Review 1 June 2022; 23 (1): 103–111. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/edgallpoerev.23.1.0103
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