Interview with Jack DeLand

Q: Mr. Deland, thank you for dropping by.

A: That’s DeLand.

Q: Excuse me?

A: My ancestors were from the department of Landes, in southwestern France, hence “des Landes.”

Q: Mm. So your approach is that the true or living Edgar Allan Poe is reachable only through the hoax works? What is this “real Poe” or “Truth about Poe” that you seek?

A: The theory that I’m working out is that what we know of Poe — the pastiche of half-truths, recollections, and dead professors’ assumptions that I call cartoon Poe — is largely built upon happenstance and sorely bad luck. There has developed a force within Poe criticism that is a data-driven, accretive faux case law approach that defines Poe the living being as a postulate made up of “facts” or data. This works with material objects but not so well with human beings coursing through the flow of Life, which is where Poe exists until he does not. I think that we need to take Poe at his word when he calls the tales and even the poems “trifles.” He is working on something much greater than these trifles at the present moment, and he is always working in the present moment. How do we determine what he is really working on? We reverse engineer out his intent by solving the hoaxes.