Approaching Poe


What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.

— Holden Caulfield


What is it about Poe that draws us still?

Why does there always seem to be something beneath the cartoon PoeClosed that we know today?

Observe the engraving on the home page: surely he is laughing at us, the sneer barely repressed — or just beginning. The man knows something. He is hiding something from us. He knows that we know that he knows, and he loves knowing that. He is a diddler. If only we could meet him now face-to-face, in a tête-à-tête. Some words are in order.

In fact you can (and I believe that you must), for Edgar Allan Poe has escaped into his hoax texts in an intensely personal way. We encounter a living Poe inside the text when we answer his challenge to confront the reading act and the nature of fiction in real time, i.e., as it happens within us and without us.

What happens when the text talks back?