Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Deathday: Poe's Foster Mother Frances Valentine Allan 1829


Edgar Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 19, 1809, the second child of actress Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and actor David Poe, Jr. He had an elder brother, William Henry Leonard Poe, and a younger sister, Rosalie Poe. His father abandoned their family in 1810, and his mother died a year later from consumption. Poe was then taken into the home of John Allan and his wife Frances Valentine Allan. John Allan was a successful Scottish merchant in Richmond, Virginia, who dealt in a variety of goods including tobacco, cloth, wheat, tombstones, and slaves. The Allans served as a foster family and gave him the name "Edgar Allan Poe," though they never formally adopted him.

The Allan family had Poe baptized in the Episcopal Church in 1812. John Allan alternately spoiled and aggressively disciplined his foster son. The family sailed to Britain in 1815. Poe attended the grammar school in Irvine, Scotland (where John Allan was born) for a short period in 1815, before rejoining the family in London in 1816. There he studied at a boarding school in Chelsea until summer 1817. He was subsequently entered at the Reverend John Bransby’s Manor House School at Stoke Newington, then a suburb four miles (6 km) north of London.

John Allan

Poe moved back with the Allans to Richmond, Virginia in 1820. In 1824 Poe served as the lieutenant of the Richmond youth honor guard as Richmond celebrated the visit of the Marquis de Lafayette. In March 1825, John Allan's uncle and business benefactor William Galt, said to be one of the wealthiest men in Richmond, died and left Allan several acres of real estate. The inheritance was estimated at $750,000. By summer 1825, Allan celebrated his expansive wealth by purchasing a two-story brick home named Moldavia. Poe may have become engaged to Sarah Elmira Royster before he registered at the one-year-old University of Virginia in February 1826 to study languages. The university, in its infancy, was established on the ideals of its founder, Thomas Jefferson. It had strict rules against gambling, horses, guns, tobacco and alcohol, but these rules were generally ignored. Jefferson had enacted a system of student self-government, allowing students to choose their own studies, make their own arrangements for boarding, and report all wrongdoing to the faculty. The unique system was still in chaos, and there was a high dropout rate. During his time there, Poe lost touch with Royster and also became estranged from his foster father over gambling debts. Poe claimed that Allan had not given him sufficient money to register for classes, purchase texts, and procure and furnish a dormitory. Allan did send additional money and clothes, but Poe's debts increased. Poe gave up on the university after a year, and, not feeling welcome in Richmond, especially when he learned that his sweetheart Royster had married Alexander Shelton, he traveled to Boston in April 1827, sustaining himself with odd jobs as a clerk and newspaper writer. At some point he started using the pseudonym Henri Le Rennet.

Poe was first stationed at Boston's Fort Independence while in the army. Unable to support himself, on May 27, 1827, Poe enlisted in the United States Army as a private. Using the name "Edgar A. Perry," he claimed he was 22 years old even though he was 18. He first served at Fort Independence in Boston Harbor for five dollars a month. That same year, he released his first book, a 40-page collection of poetry, Tamerlane and Other Poems, attributed with the byline "by a Bostonian." Only 50 copies were printed, and the book received virtually no attention. Poe's regiment was posted to Fort Moultrie in Charleston, South Carolina and traveled by ship on the brig Waltham on November 8, 1827. Poe was promoted to "artificer," an enlisted tradesman who prepared shells for artillery, and had his monthly pay doubled. After serving for two years and attaining the rank of Sergeant Major for Artillery (the highest rank a noncommissioned officer can achieve), Poe sought to end his five-year enlistment early. He revealed his real name and his circumstances to his commanding officer, Lieutenant Howard. Howard would only allow Poe to be discharged if he reconciled with John Allan and wrote a letter to Allan, who was unsympathetic. Several months passed and pleas to Allan were ignored; Allan may not have written to Poe even to make him aware of his foster mother's illness. Frances Allan died on February 28, 1829, and Poe visited the day after her burial. Perhaps softened by his wife's death, John Allan agreed to support Poe's attempt to be discharged in order to receive an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"The Business Man" Published 1840


"The Business Man" is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe about a fictitious businessman boasting of his accomplishments. It was published in February 1840 in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine. The story questions the concept of a self-made man.

Plot summary

The narrator of the story is Peter Proffit, a "methodical" businessman by his own admission. He says a nurse swung him around when he was a young boy, and he bumped himself on the head against a bedpost. That single event determined his fate: the resulting bump was in the area dedicated to system and regularity, according to phrenology.

Proffit goes on to say that he despises geniuses and that they are all asses — "the greater the genius the greater the ass." Geniuses can not, he says, be turned into men of business.

At the age of fourteen, his father forced him to work as a merchant, which Proffit could not stand. He says that though most boys run away from home at the age of twelve, he chose to wait until the age of sixteen. What finally convinced him was his mother's suggestion that he work as a grocer. Instead, he becomes a "Walking-Advertisement" for a tailor. Feeling swindled by his employer over a penny, however, he moves on to start his own business.

Proffit's new business is the "Eye-Sore" business. When he sees a large home or palace being built, he buys a nearby or adjoining property and builds a "mud-hovel" or "pig-sty" so ugly that he is paid 500% the value of the lot to tear it down. One owner, however, offers less than 500%. In retaliation, Proffit lamp-blacks the house overnight. For this, he is put in jail and is ostracized by others in the Eye-Sore business.

Proffit then enters the Assault-and-Battery business. He makes money by starting fights with people on the streets and then sues them for attacking him. He then becomes involved with Mud-Dabbling, forcing people to pay him not to splash them with mud. He also has a dog rub up against people's shoes to make them dirty, then offers his services as a shoeshiner. Though he gave the dog a third of the profits, the routine split when the dog began to demand half.

Proffit then becomes an organ grinder, though he makes money by people paying him to stop rather than to play. He boasts of his own abilities in business and lists his eight "speculations" for success. He then tries forging letters and delivering them to rich people, asking them to pay postage themselves. He says, however, that he had moral issues with this line of work after hearing people say unkind things about the fake people who had written to them.

A law is later passed to keep down the population of cats, with citizens paid for any cat tails they turn in. Proffit begins to raise cats so that he can collect the reward for their tails. It was his most profitable venture. After all his business ventures, he considers himself "a made man" and is considering running for office -- or, more accurately, purchasing a seat in county government.

"The Businessman"
Salvadore Dali

Analysis

The story is a satire[1] and is often interpreted as a reflection of Poe's strained relationship with his foster father John Allan, himself a successful businessman.[2] The story also satirizes businesspeople in general, suggesting that their success is not due to their method of punctuality and self-discipline but because of ruthless business practices, violence, egotism, and pure chance.[3] Poe also calls to question the concept of a "self-made man," expressing skepticism that such a concept is possible.[4] Like "The Man That Was Used Up," another of Poe's satires, this man is essentially hollow and worthless.[5]

In "The Business Man," Poe also makes fun of the dubious nature of phrenology, then a popular pseudoscience.[3]

In the story, the narrator asserts: "In biography, truth is every thing, and in autobiography it is especially so." This is ironic considering Poe's own tendency to alter his life story; he often omitted details of his military career, and invented stories about his nonexistent travels to Greece, Turkey, and Russia.[6]

Proffit's dog is named Pompey, a name Poe also uses for two African slave characters in "A Predicament" and in "The Man That Was Used Up."[7]

Publication history

The story was originally titled "Peter Pendulum"[8] and published in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine in February 1840.[9] It was first published as "The Business Man" in the August 2, 1845 issue of the Broadway Journal.[10]

References

1.^ Meyers, Jeffrey (1992). Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy (Paperback ed. ed.). New York: Cooper Square Press. pp. 69. ISBN 0815410387.
2.^ Sova, Dawn B. (2001). Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z. New York: Checkmark Books. pp. 40. ISBN 081604161X.
3.^ Schnackertz, Hermann Josef. "Of Bumps and Brains: E. A. Poe and Phrenology", Lost Worlds and Mad Elephants: Literature, Science and Technology. Galda and Wilch, 1999. p. 67. ISBN 3931397165
4.^ Person, Leland S. "Poe and Nineteenth Century Gender Constructions" as collected in A Historical Guide to Edgar Allan Poe, J. Gerald Kennedy, Ed. Oxford University Press, 2001. p. 158–159. ISBN 0195121503
5.^ Person, Leland S. "Poe and Nineteenth Century Gender Constructions" as collected in A Historical Guide to Edgar Allan Poe, J. Gerald Kennedy, Ed. Oxford University Press, 2001. p. 159. ISBN 0195121503
6.^ Meyers, Jeffrey (1992). Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy (Paperback ed. ed.). New York: Cooper Square Press. pp. 38. ISBN 0815410387.
7.^ Goddu, Teresa A. "Poe, sensationalism, and slavery", The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe, Kevin J. Hayes (editor). New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. p. 101. ISBN 0521797276
8.^ Sova, Dawn B. (2001). Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z. New York: Checkmark Books. pp. 279. ISBN 081604161X.
9.^ Quinn, Arthur Hobson (1998). Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography (Paperback ed. ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 294. ISBN 0801857309.
10.^ Sova, Dawn B. (2001). Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z. New York: Checkmark Books. pp. 40. ISBN 081604161X.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lighthouse at the End of the World (1995) Stephen Marlowe


The Lighthouse at the End of the World by Stephen Marlowe (1995) concentrates on Poe's last week alive and has C. Auguste Dupin trying to solve his disappearance.

Deathday: Mystery Writer Stephen Marlowe 2008


Stephen Marlowe (born Milton Lesser, August 7, 1928 in Brooklyn, NY, died February 22, 2008, in Williamsburg, Virginia) was an American author of science fiction, mystery novels, and fictional autobiographies of Christopher Columbus, Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, and Edgar Allan Poe. He is best known for his detective character Chester Drum, whom he created in the 1955 novel The Second Longest Night. Lesser also wrote under the pseudonyms Adam Chase, Andrew Frazer, C.H. Thames, Jason Ridgway and Ellery Queen.

He was awarded the French Prix Gutenberg du Livre in 1988, and in 1997 he was awarded the "Life Achievement Award" by the Private Eye Writers of America. He lived with his wife Ann in Williamsburg, Virginia.


His fictional Poe autobiography, "The Lighthouse at the End of the World" (1995), puts Poe in the center of a mystery story in the final days of his life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"A Valentine" Published 1846


An ode to Frances Sargent Osgood. To translate the address, read the first letter of the first line in connection with the second letter of the second line, the third letter of the third line, and so on. The name will thus appear.

1.For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,
2. Brightly expressive as the twins of Leda,
Shall find her own sweet name, that nestling lies
3. Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.
Search narrowly the lines! — they hold a treasure
4. Divine — a talisman — an amulet
That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure-
5. The words — the syllables! Do not forget
The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor
6. And yet there is in this no Gordian knot
Which one might not undo without a sabre,
7. If one could merely comprehend the plot.
Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering
8. Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus
Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing
9. Of poets, by poets — as the name is a poet's, too,
Its letters, although naturally lying
10. Like the knight Pinto-Mendez Ferdinando —
Still form a synonym for Truth — Cease trying!
11. You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do.


A Valentine (1846)

First published in the New York Evening Mirror's February 21, 1846 issue, "A Valentine" was written specifically for Frances Sargent Osgood, whose name is hidden within the lines of the poem. In its first publication, it had the title "To Her Whose Name Is Written Below." To find the name, take the first letter of the first line, then the second letter of the second line, then the third letter of the third line, and so on. Before its publication, it was presented at a private literary salon at the home of Anne Lynch Botta on February 14, 1846. Though Poe was not in attendance, it was a very public revelation of his affection for Osgood.



Sunday, February 19, 2012

"Lenore" Published 1843


"Lenore" is a poem by the American author Edgar Allan Poe. It began as a different poem, "A Paean," and was not published as "Lenore" until 1843.

A Pæan

by Edgar Allan Poe

How shall the burial rite be read?
The solemn song be sung?
The requiem for the loveliest dead,
That ever died so young?

Her friends are gazing on her,
And on her gaudy bier,
And weep ! - oh! to dishonor
Dead beauty with a tear!

They loved her for her wealth -
And they hated her for her pride -
But she grew in feeble health,
And they love her - that she died.

They tell me (while they speak
Of her "costly broider'd pall")
That my voice is growing weak -
That I should not sing at all -

Or that my tone should be
Tun'd to such solemn song
So mournfully - so mournfully,
That the dead may feel no wrong.

But she is gone above,
With young Hope at her side,
And I am drunk with love
Of the dead, who is my bride. -

Of the dead - dead who lies
All perfum'd there,
With the death upon her eyes,
And the life upon her hair.

Thus on the coffin loud and long
I strike - the murmur sent
Through the grey chambers to my song,
Shall be the accompaniment.

Thou died'st in thy life's June -
But thou did'st not die too fair:
Thou did'st not die too soon,
Nor with too calm an air.

From more than fiends on earth,
Thy life and love are riven,
To join the untainted mirth
Of more than thrones in heaven -

Therefore, to thee this night
I will no requiem raise,
But waft thee on thy flight,
With a Pæan of old days.

First authorised edition, Pioneer, February 1843, 1:60-61

"Lenore"

by Edgar Allan Poe

Ah, broken is the golden bowl!
The spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll!—A saintly soul
Glides down the Stygian river!
And let the burial rite be read—
The funeral song be sung—
A dirge for the most lovely dead
That ever died so young!
And, Guy De Vere,
Hast thou no tear?
Weep now or nevermore!
See, on yon drear
And rigid bier,
Low lies thy love Lenore!

"Yon heir, whose cheeks of pallid hue
With tears are streaming wet,
Sees only, through
Their crocodile dew,
A vacant coronet—
False friends! ye loved her for her wealth
And hated her for her pride,
And, when she fell in feeble health,
Ye blessed her—that she died.
How shall the ritual, then, be read?
The requiem how be sung
For her most wrong'd of all the dead
That ever died so young?"

Peccavimus!
But rave not thus!
And let the solemn song
Go up to God so mournfully that she may feel no wrong!
The sweet Lenore
Hath "gone before"
With young hope at her side,
And thou art wild
For the dear child
That should have been thy bride—
For her, the fair
And debonair,
That now so lowly lies—
The life still there
Upon her hair,
The death upon her eyes.

"Avaunt!—to-night
My heart is light—
No dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight
With a Pæan of old days!
Let no bell toll!
Lest her sweet soul,
Amid its hallow'd mirth,
Should catch the note
As it doth float
Up from the damned earth—
To friends above, from fiends below, th' indignant ghost is riven—
From grief and moan
To a gold throne
Beside the King of Heaven?"

Interpretation

The poem discusses proper decorum in the wake of the death of a young woman, described as "the queenliest dead that ever died so young," The poem concludes: "No dirge shall I upraise,/ But waft the angel on her flight with a paean of old days!" Lenore's Fiance, Guy de Vere, finds it inappropriate to "mourn" the dead; rather, one should celebrate their ascension to a new world. Unlike most of Poe's poems relating to dying women, "Lenore" implies the possibility of meeting in paradise.[1]

The poem may have been Poe's way of dealing with the illness of his wife Virginia. The dead woman's name, however, may have been a reference to Poe's recently-dead brother, William Henry Leonard Poe.[2] Poetically, the name Lenore emphasizes the letter "L" sound, a frequent device in Poe's female characters including "Annabel Lee," "Eulalie," and "Ulalume."[3]

Major themes

Death of a beautiful woman (see also "Annabel Lee," "Eulalie," "The Raven," "Ulalume." In Poe's short stories, see also "Berenice," "Eleonora," "Morella").

Publication history

The poem was first published as part of an early collection in 1831 under the title "A Pæan." This early version was only 11 quatrains and the lines were spoken by a bereaved husband. The name "Lenore" was not included; it was not added until it was published as "Lenore" in February 1843 in The Pioneer, a periodical published by the poet and critic James Russell Lowell. Poe was paid $10 for this publication.[4] The poem had many revisions in Poe's lifetime. Its final form was published in the August 16, 1845, issue of the Broadway Journal while Poe was its editor.[5]

The original version of the poem is so dissimilar from "Lenore" that it is often considered an entirely different poem. Both are usually collected separately in anthologies.[6]

Lenore in other works

The ballad Lenore, written by German poet Gottfried August Bürger and published in 1773, has a protagonist who is punished for blasphemy by a demon with the appearance of her dead lover.

A character by the name of Lenore, thought to be a deceased wife, is central to Poe's poem "The Raven" (1845).

Roman Dirge made a comic book inspired by the poem, involving the comedic misadventures of Lenore, the Cute Little Dead Girl.

Lenore is a French model.[1]

Lenore is an overture of Beethoven. [2]

"My Lost Lenore" is a song by the gothic metal band Tristania, inspired by Poe's work and included in their 1998 album Widow's Weed.

References

1.^ Kennedy, J. Gerald. Poe, Death, and the Life of Writing. Yale University Press, 1987: 69. ISBN 0-300-03773-2
2.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. Harper Perennial, 1991: 202–203. ISBN 0-06-092331-8
3.^ Kopley, Richard and Kevin J. Hayes "Two verse masterworks: 'The Raven' and 'Ulalume'," as collected in The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Kevin J. Hayes. Cambridge University Press, 2002: 200. ISBN 0-521-79727-6
4.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. Harper Perennial, 1991: 201. ISBN 0-06-092331-8
5.^ Sova, Dawn B. Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z. Checkmark Books, 2001: 130. ISBN 0-8160-4161-X
6.^ Hoffman, Daniel. Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe. Louisiana State University Press, 1972: 68. ISBN 0-8071-2321-8


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe (1942)


The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe (1942)

Poe is played by John Shepherd (later known as Shepperd Strudwick). Stunning Linda Darnell plays Virginia Clemm. A quite young Henry Morgan (billed as Henry Morgan) aka MASH's "Colonel Potter" shows up as Ebenezer Burling

IMDB Plot Summary:

"Edgar Allan Poe led an unhappy childhood, broken only by the unceasing devotion of his foster mother, Mrs. Frances Allan, whose loving ministrations gave him courage to carry out his desire to write. His first love was Elmira Royster, and though she married another while he was at the University of Virginia, he could never purge his thoughts of her and, under the influence of her spell, he poured out the deepest passions of his heart. After a discouraging period during which he was disowned by his foster father and lost his appointment to West Point, he found the love that tamed his restless heart with Virginia Clemm. After he and Virginia married, Poe did his greatest creative work, writing for the Southern Literary Messenger and Graham's Magazine."

Plot summary written by Les Adams on IMDB.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (2010) Seth Grahame-Smith


Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is a 2010 novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, released on March 2, 2010.[1]

Plot summary

The epistolary-style book is written as a biography of Abraham Lincoln, based on "secret diaries" kept by the 16th President and given to the author by a vampire named Henry Sturges.

When Lincoln is eleven years old, he learns from his father Thomas Lincoln that vampires are in fact real creatures. Thomas explains to his son that a vampire killed Abraham's grandfather (also named Abraham Lincoln) in 1786. Young Abraham is also shocked to learn that his beloved mother Nancy Hanks Lincoln succumbed not to milk sickness but rather to being given a "fool's dose" of vampire blood, the result of Thomas's failure to repay a debt. Lincoln vows in his diary to kill as many vampires as he can. A year later he lures the vampire responsible for his mother's death to the family farm and manages to kill it with a homemade stake.

At the age of sixteen Lincoln gets word of a possible vampire attack along the Ohio River and investigates, but this time he is no match for the vampire and is nearly killed. He is saved at the last moment by the intervention of the vampire Henry Sturges. Henry nurses Lincoln back to health and explains some of the nature of vampirism, emphasizing that some vampires are good and others are evil. Lincoln spends the summer with Henry and trains for combat, becoming a skilled wrestler and axe-handler. For several years following, Henry sends Lincoln the names and addresses of evil vampires; Abraham dutifully tracks them down and kills them.

As a young adult Lincoln and a friend travel down the Mississippi River to New Orleans on a flatboat to sell a number of goods. Here Lincoln's life is changed forever after he witnesses a slave auction. Lincoln follows a slave buyer and his new slaves back to their plantation and discovers to his horror that the buyer is a vampire - the slaves are to be used not for labor but for food. Lincoln writes in his diary his belief that vampires will continue to exist in America as long as they can easily buy their victims in this manner - to end slavery is to end the scourge of vampires. Lincoln becomes an Abolitionist.

Lincoln returns to his home in New Salem and begins his business and political careers by day, continuing to track down the vampires in Henry's letters at night. His life is once again tinged by tragedy when his lover Ann Rutledge is attacked and murdered by her ex-fiance John McNamar, now a vampire living in New York City. With Henry's help, Lincoln catches McNamar and kills him, but he decides to give up vampire hunting and instead concentrate on his daytime pursuits. He marries Mary Todd, begins to raise a family, starts a law firm, and is elected to a term in the United States House of Representatives.

While in Washington, Lincoln meets his old friend Edgar Allan Poe, who also knows the truth about vampires. Poe tells Lincoln that the vampires are being chased out of their ancestral homes in Europe (in part because of a public outcry over the bloody atrocities of Elizabeth Báthory) and are flocking to America because of the slave trade. Poe warns that if the vampires are left unchecked they will eventually seek to enslave all Americans, white and black. Lincoln leaves Washington in 1849 and declines to seek re-election; Poe is found murdered that same year in Baltimore, the victim of a vampire attack.

In 1857 Henry summons Lincoln to New York City. Here Lincoln and fellow vampire slayer William Seward are told that the vampires in the South intend to start a civil war so that they can conquer the north and enslave everyone. Lincoln is ordered to debate Stephen A. Douglas in what become known as the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Although Lincoln loses to Douglas (an ally of the Southern vampires), he gains a great deal of publicity and respect, which allows him to capture the Republican Party nomination for president and then the office itself.

Lincoln's election triggers the secession of the southern states and the start of the American Civil War. Early battles, such as the First Battle of Bull Run go poorly for the Union troops after they are attacked by Confederate vampires. Lincoln decides that the best way to defeat the vampires is to eliminate their food source and starve them out — to that end, he announces the Emancipation Proclamation and encourages the slaves to fight back against slave owners and vampires alike. This begins to turn the tide of the war.

However, the war takes a personal toll on Lincoln. A vampire assassin sneaks onto the White House lawn and kills Willie Lincoln, the President's 11-year-old son. Henry appears at the White House and offers to turn Willie into a vampire so that he will "live" again, but Lincoln is unwilling to allow it. Enraged, he banishes Henry and all other vampires from the White House and refuses to speak to any of them ever again.

The war ends with the South's defeat. Lincoln receives reports that the vampires in the South are fleeing to Asia and South America in the wake of the slave system's collapse. Happy for the first time in many years, he attends a play at Ford's Theater, only to be assassinated by the actor and vampire John Wilkes Booth. Booth expects the vampires to rally around President Lincoln's death, but instead finds himself shunned and hiding in a Virginia barn as Union troops arrive to arrest him. Henry arrives and confronts Booth inside the burning barn; it is implied that Henry is the one who kills Booth.

Lincoln's death is mourned by the nation. His body is brought by a funeral train back to Springfield, Illinois, where Henry stands guard.

The biography concludes with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Both Abraham Lincoln and Henry Sturges attend and Lincoln writes about spending the previous night at the White House. Henry has used his powers to turn Lincoln into a vampire, believing that "some men are just too interesting to die."

Reception

The Los Angeles Times gave Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter a positive review, noting that "a writer who can transform the greatest figure from 19th century American history into the star of an original vampire tale with humor, heart and bite is a rare find indeed."[2]

Time Magazine gave the novel a mixed review, calling author Grahame-Smith "a lively, fluent writer with a sharp sense of tone and pace," but finding the novel "a little too neat" and noting that "Once the connection is made, it feels obvious, and neither slavery nor vampirism reveals anything in particular about the other. One could imagine a richer, subtler treatment of the subject, in which the two horrors multiply each other rather than cancel each other out."[3]

Entertainment Weekly gave the novel a rating of "C+" and called it "a trivial book, clinging to a fad past its prime — a labored send-up that refracts the life story of one of the most important, famous, and minutely analyzed figures in all of American history through a cockeyed and ultimately foolish lens."[4]

On 16 March 2010, the book debuted at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list under the category "Hardcover Fiction," [5] dropping to #15 in its seventh week on the list.[6]

Film adaptation

In March 2010 it was announced that Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov (producers of 9) are currently working on the live action adaptation of this novel in conjuction with Twentieth Century Fox for a possible 2012 release.[7] Grahame-Smith himself will write the screenplay of the film adaptation.[8] 20th Century Fox has announced a June 22, 2012 release date for the film[9]; it will be the third time that Burton will do a film for 20th Century Fox after Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Planet of the Apes (2001)

References

1.^ Seth Grahame-Smiths neues Werk “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
2.^ Mcintyre, Gina (2010-03-04). "BOOK REVIEWS Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter". The Los Angeles Times.
3.^ Grossman, Lev (2010-03-08). "Critique of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter". Time.
4.^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (2010-02-24). "BOOK REVIEW Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter".
5.^ "Best Sellers". The New York Times. 2010-03-16. 6.^ "Best Sellers: Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. April 23, 2010. 7.^ Tim Burton and 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'
8.^ Who is Penning 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'?
9.^ "Abraham Lincoln to Hunt Vampires in 2012". October 29, 2010.



Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led the country through its greatest internal crisis, the American Civil War, preserved the Union, and ended slavery. Reared in a poor family on the western frontier, he was mostly self-educated. He became a country lawyer, an Illinois state legislator, and a one-term member of the United States House of Representatives, but failed in two attempts at a seat in the United States Senate. He was an affectionate, though often absent, husband, and father of four children.

Lincoln was an outspoken opponent of the expansion of slavery in the United States, which he deftly articulated in his campaign debates and speeches. As a result, he secured the Republican nomination and was elected president in 1860. As president he concentrated on the military and political dimensions of the war effort, always seeking to reunify the nation after the secession of the eleven Confederate States of America. He vigorously exercised unprecedented war powers, including the arrest and detention, without trial, of thousands of suspected secessionists. He issued his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and promoted the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, abolishing slavery.

Lincoln closely supervised the war effort, especially the selection of top generals, including Ulysses S. Grant. He brought leaders of various factions of both parties into his cabinet and pressured them to cooperate. He defused a confrontation with Britain in the Trent affair late in 1861. Under his leadership, the Union took control of the border slave states at the start of the war and tried repeatedly to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond. Each time a general failed, Lincoln substituted another, until finally Grant succeeded in 1865. A shrewd politician deeply involved with patronage and power issues in each state, he managed his own re-election in the 1864 presidential election.

As the leader of the moderate faction of the Republican party, Lincoln came under attack from all sides. Radical Republicans wanted harsher treatment of the South, Democrats desired more compromise, and secessionists saw him as their enemy. Lincoln fought back with patronage, by pitting his opponents against each other, and by appealing to the American people with his powers of oratory; for example, his Gettysburg Address of 1863 became one of the most quoted speeches in history. It was an iconic statement of America's dedication to the principles of nationalism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. At the close of the war, Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction, seeking to speedily reunite the nation through a policy of generous reconciliation in the face of lingering and bitter divisiveness. Just six days after the decisive surrender of the commanding general of the Confederate army, Lincoln fell victim to an assassin — the first President to suffer such a fate. Lincoln has consistently been ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Deathday: Poe's Fiancee Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton 1888


Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton (1810 – February 11, 1888) was an adolescent sweetheart of Edgar Allan Poe who became engaged to him shortly before his death in 1849.

Their early relationship, begun when she was 15, ended due to the interference of her father while Poe was studying at the University of Virginia. Two years later she married Alexander B. Shelton, who became wealthy through his involvement in the transportation industry. The couple had four children, though only two lived past infancy. After his death in 1844, Royster and her children inherited $100,000 with the stipulation that she would lose a portion of this estate if she remarried.

Poe came back into her life in 1848 and they renewed their relationship. Poe pressed her to marry him, though she was hesitant and her children did not approve. They never married; he died shortly thereafter in October 1849. Royster had an influence on Poe's work and may have inspired "The Raven" and "Annabel Lee." The early relationship between Poe and Shelton was immortalized by other writers, including Poe's brother William Henry Leonard Poe.

Biography

Royster and Poe were neighbors in Richmond, Virginia[1] when they began their relationship in 1825, when she was 15 years old and he was 16. They discussed marriage, though Royster's father vocally disapproved. They were secretly engaged as Poe began classes at the University of Virginia in 1826; however, Royster's father intercepted and destroyed all of Poe's letters to his daughter.[2] Royster wrote later that his disapproval was only because of their young age but he likely also considered Poe unsuitable due to social and financial status as a poor orphan.[3]

Thinking Poe had forgotten her, Royster married Alexander Shelton, a businessman from a well-to-do Virginia family. Royster was only 17 at the time but quickly gained social prominence and wealth: Shelton worked in the transportation industry and was for a time the co-owner of a boat line that travelled the James River.[4] The couple had four children, though a son and a daughter died in infancy.[5] Alexander Shelton died of pneumonia[6] at the age of 37 on July 12, 1844.[7] Royster and her two children were left an estate worth $100,000.[4]

Second relationship with Poe

Poe and Royster would meet again in July 1848,[8] over a year after the death of Poe's wife Virginia Clemm. His visit was unannounced. As Royster described it: "I was ready to go to church and a servant told me that a gentleman in the parlor wanted to see me. I went down and was amazed to see him—but knew him instantly".[9] By this time, Royster was very religious, having been baptized as an adult at St. John's Episcopal Church.[4] She was 39 and living with her 19-year old daughter Ann and 10-year old son Southall.[6] A friend described her as being very attractive around this time:

"Her eyes were a deep blue, her hair brown, touched with grey, her nose thin and patrician... Her voice was very low, soft and sweet, her manners exquisitely refined, and intellectually she was a woman of education and force of character. Her distinguishing qualities were gentleness and womanliness."[9]

Royster attended Poe's lecture in Richmond, sitting in the front row.[9] Poe and Royster rekindled their relationship somewhat and discussed marriage. Her children disapproved, however, and her dead husband's will stipulated that remarriage would remove three-quarters of her estate.[8] Poe visited Richmond on September 17, 1849, and stayed with Royster for the evening. He wrote: "I think she loves me more devotedly than any one I ever knew... I cannot help loving her in return."[10] Poe hoped to be married before he left Richmond and pushed her to respond. She wanted time to consider: "I told him if he would not take a positive denial he must give me time to consider it."[11] Royster may have been reticent because of the rumors of Poe's drinking and, because of this, may have inspired Poe into joining the Richmond chapter of the Sons of Temperance.[12] Poe's lecture tour then brought him to Norfolk, Virginia and Old Point Comfort.[13] It is unclear if the couple was ever officially engaged but most biographers agree that they came to an "understanding" by late September.[8]

The wedding never took place; after Poe said goodbye to her, he left Richmond on September 27, 1849, and died mysteriously only two weeks later in Baltimore.[8] Royster recalled her last moments with him: "He came up to my house on the evening of the 26th Sept. to take leave of me.–He was very sad, and complained of being quite sick... I felt so wretched about him all of that night, that I went up early the next morning to enquire after him, when, much to my regret, he had left in the boat for Baltimore."[14] On his deathbed, Poe mentioned a wife he had in Richmond, possibly referring to Royster.[15] Biographer John Evangelist Walsh suggests that Royster's brothers were responsible for Poe's mysterious death.[16]

Royster later said that she would not "have married him under any circumstances." A letter Royster wrote to Poe's mother-in-law Maria Clemm, however announced that she was ready to accept her as her own mother-in-law.[14] In her letter, she also referred to Poe as "the dearest object on earth" to her.[17]


Later life

After Poe's death, Royster refused to speak about him or her relationship, bluntly denying all requests and living a relatively reclusive lifestyle. In 1875, she finally granted an interview to local sculptor Edward Valentine as a response to a Poe biography written by John H. Ingram. In this conversation she vehemently denied ever having been engaged to Poe.[18] In June 1884, however, she privately admitted to Dr. John Joseph Moran, Poe's attending physician at the time of his death, that she and Poe had been engaged.[19] Royster died on February 11, 1888, and her obituary, published on the front page of the Richmond Whig on February 12, bore the heading "Poe's first and last love,"[20]

References in literature

Many of the poems in Poe's first published work, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), were inspired by his failed childhood romance with Royster, with many lines discussing the follies of youth and lost love.[21] One of Poe's minor poems, "Song," is presumed to be about Royster. She also believed that the "lost Lenore" in the poem "The Raven" as well as the title character in "Annabel Lee" were representative of her and claimed that Poe himself had assured her of it.[22] Biographers, however, often debate Poe's inspiration, particularly for "Annabel Lee." Poe's wife Virginia, who had died two years prior to the poem's publication, was suggested by poet Frances Sargent Osgood and generally is considered the most likely candidate for the title character, though Osgood herself is another possibility.[23] Sarah Helen Whitman and Sarah Anna Lewis also claimed to have inspired the poem.[24] Even so, in her later years, Royster was known familiarly in Richmond as "Poe's Lenore."[20]

Poe's brother William Henry Leonard Poe also wrote a short story based on his brother's young romance with Royster called "The Pirate" which was published in the October 27, 1827, issue of the North American.[25] Lambert A. Wilmer, a Baltimore writer who was friend of both Poe brothers, also wrote about the young relationship. His drama in verse, Merlin, was in three parts, the first of which was published on August 18, 1827.[26]

Further reading

Davis, Harriet Ide. Elmira: The Girl Who Loved Edgar Allan Poe. Houghton Mifflin Co., 1966.

References

1.^ Stashower, Daniel. The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder. New York: Dutton, 2006: 38. ISBN 052594981X
2.^ Walsh, John Evangelist. Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: St. Martin's Minotaur, 2000: 6. ISBN 0312227329
3.^ Meyers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. New York: Cooper Square Press, 1992: 18. ISBN 0815410387
4.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. Harper Perennial, 1991: 425. ISBN 0060923318
5.^ Walsh, John Evangelist. Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: St. Martin's Minotaur, 2000: 5–6. ISBN 0312227329
6.^ Walsh, John Evangelist. Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: St. Martin's Minotaur, 2000: 5. ISBN 0312227329
7.^ Thomas, Dwight and David K. Jackson. The Poe Log: A Documentary Life of Edgar Allan Poe 1809–1849. New York: G. K. Hall and Co., 1987: 467. ISBN 0783814011
8.^ Sova, Dawn B. Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z. New York: Checkmark Books, 2001: 214. ISBN 081604161X
9.^ Meyers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. New York: Cooper Square Press, 1992: 249. ISBN 0815410387
10.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. Harper Perennial, 1991: 430. ISBN 0060923318
11.^ Meyers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. New York: Cooper Square Press, 1992: 250–251. ISBN 0815410387
12.^ Stashower, Daniel. The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder. New York: Dutton, 2006: 280. ISBN 052594981X
13.^ Kennedy, J. Gerald. "A Brief Biography," A Historical Guide to Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001: 58. ISBN 9780195121506
14.^ Meyers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. New York: Cooper Square Press, 1992: 251. ISBN 0815410387
15.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991: 426. ISBN 0060923318
16.^ See John Evangelist Walsh's Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2000.
17.^ Walsh, John Evangelist. Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: St. Martin's Minotaur, 2000: 124. ISBN 0312227329
18.^ Walsh, John Evangelist. Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: St. Martin's Minotaur, 2000: 127–128. ISBN 0312227329
19.^ Walsh, John Evangelist. Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: St. Martin's Minotaur, 2000: 128. ISBN 0312227329
20.^ Walsh, John Evangelist. Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: St. Martin's Minotaur, 2000: 184. ISBN 0312227329
21.^ Stashower, Daniel. The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder. New York: Dutton, 2006: 43–44. ISBN 052594981X
22.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991: 426. ISBN 0060923318
23.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991: 401. ISBN 0060923318
24.^ Sova, Dawn B. Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z. New York: Checkmark Books, 2001: 12. ISBN 081604161X
25.^ Sova, Dawn B. Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z. New York: Checkmark Books, 2001: 193. ISBN 081604161X
26.^ Thomas, Dwight and David K. Jackson. The Poe Log: A Documentary Life of Edgar Allan Poe 1809–1849. New York: G. K. Hall and Co., 1987: 81. ISBN 0783814011


Friday, February 10, 2012

Deathday: Poe Publisher William Evans Burton 1860


William Evans Burton (September 24, 1804 – February 10, 1860), who often went by the nickname Billy, was an English actor, playwright, theater manager and publisher who relocated to the United States.


Life and work

Early life

Born in London on September 24, 1804, Burton was the son of William George Burton (1774-1825), a printer and the author of Research into the religions of the Eastern nations as illustrative of the scriptures in 1805. Intended for a career in the church, Burton was a pupil at St. Paul's School in London, an institution associated also with the dramatic names of Robert William Elliston and Charles Mathews. At the age of 18, in consequence of the death of his father, the youth was called to take charge of the printing office, and also to be the support of a widowed mother. His first effort was to establish a monthly magazine. The attempt was a failure, but it brought him theatrical acquaintances, and under their influence he presently drifted toward the stage.

The first step in his theatrical career, as usual, was to join an amateur dramatic society, and it is said that about this time he gave a performance of Hamlet somewhere on the Strand. In 1825 he was associated with a provincial company acting at Norwich, and elsewhere in England, and he played low comedy. His aspirations at the start were for the tragic, and it is known that late in life he still at times entertained the fancy that nature had intended him to be a tragedian. Burton was one of the funniest creatures that ever lived, but his interior nature was thoughtful and saturnine. He thought, felt, and understood tragedy, but when he came to act, he was all comedian.

At the outset of his career he led the usual life of an itinerant actor. There is a tradition that in the course of his wanderings he once played before George IV at Windsor. After several years in the provinces, he made his first London appearance in 1831 at the Pavilion Theatre as Wormwood in The Lottery Ticket, in which part he was much admired, and which he then acted there upward of fifty consecutive times. John Liston was then the reigning favorite in London (Joseph Shepherd Munden, who died in 1832, being in decadence), and next to Liston stood John Reeve, upon whom it is thought that the earlier style of Burton was in a measure founded.

In 1832 Burton obtained a chance to show his talents at the Haymarket Theatre — Liston having temporarily withdrawn — and there he played Marall to Edmund Kean as Sir Giles Overreach, and Mrs. Glover as Meg in A New Way to Pay Old Debts, a circumstance which he always remembered, and often mentioned with pride and pleasure. His talents as a writer likewise displayed themselves at an early age. In May 1833, a play from his pen, called Ellen Wareham, was first presented, and it is mentioned that this piece had the somewhat unusual fortune of being acted at five different theatres of London on the same evening. Burton went on to a large number of plays during his career.

Relocation to the United States

In 1834 he relocated to the United States, where he appeared in Philadelphia as Dr. Ollapod in The Poor Gentleman. He took a prominent place, both as actor and manager, in New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore, the theatre which he leased in New York being renamed Burton's Theatre. He was very successful as Captain Cuttle in John Brougham's dramatization of Dombey and Son, and in other low comedy parts in plays from Charles Dickens's novels.


Publishing work

In 1837 in Philadelphia he established the Gentlemen's Magazine, of which Edgar Allan Poe was for some time the editor. His magazine was intended for a general audience, incorporating the standard fare of poetry and fiction, but had a focus on sporting life like hunting and sailing. Burton likely served as a literary critic himself for the magazine. To remain competitive, the magazine included better paper, more illustrations, and higher-quality printing, making production costs high. Poe became an editor in 1839, though Burton disliked Poe's harsh style of criticism. Even so, Poe's responsibilities increased whenever Burton left town to perform at other venues.[1] It was under Burton that Poe began what has since been termed the "Longfellow War," with Poe using his role as critic to anonymously accuse the popular poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow of plagiarism. Another critic, Willis Gaylord Clark, blamed Burton for allowing these literary attacks, telling Longfellow that Burton was: "a vagrant from England, who has left a wife and offspring behind him there, and plays the bigamist in this with another wife, and his whore besides; one who cannot write a paragraph in English to save his life."[2]

Poe left the magazine in June 1840. Burton and Poe had a tumultuous working relationship. Burton tried selling the magazine without telling Poe, and Poe made plans to launch his own competing Philadelphia-based magazine called The Penn without mentioning it to Burton.[3] Additionally, Burton may have written a particularly scathing negative review of Poe's novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket and spread rumors of his drunkenness, which Poe denied. Poe told a friend that Burton was a "blackguard and a villain."[4] Poe's friend Joseph E. Snodgrass thought Burton's rumor-mongering was enough for Poe to sue for slander but Poe noted his own name-calling was enough for a countersuit.[5]

Later life

In late 1840, Burton sold his magazine to George Rex Graham for the price of $3,500 (one dollar for each subscriber), who transformed it into Graham's Magazine.[6] Burton used the money from the sale to renovate his theater, which eventually failed.[7] Burton went on to become the editor of the Cambridge Quarterly and the Souvenir. He also wrote several books, including a Cyclopaedia of Wit and Humour in 1857.

Burton died February 10, 1860, in New York City. At the time of his death, he had collected a library of over 100,000 volumes, especially rich in books by and relating to William Shakespeare.

William Evans Burton was the father of the English painter William Shakespeare Burton.


References

Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). "Burton, William Evans". Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press.

"Burton, William Evans". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1900.

1.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. Harper Perennial, 1991: 142–144
2.^ Thompson, Lawrance. Young Longfellow (1807–1843). New York: The Macmillan Company, 1938: 44.
3.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. Harper Perennial, 1991: 156
4.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. Harper Perennial, 1991: 158–159
5.^ Bittner, William. Poe: A Biography. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1962: 163.
6.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. Harper Perennial, 1991: 162
7.^ Bittner, William. Poe: A Biography. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1962: 162.


Lenore: The Last Narrative of Edgar Allan Poe (2002)


Lenore: The Last Narrative of Edgar Allan Poe (2002) is a novel by Frank Lovelock that fictionalizes Poe's final days before his death. The story is presented as a delirious dream Poe has while in the hospital. C. August Dupin makes an appearance along with Lenore, depicted as a woman in love with a runaway slave named Reynolds. Lovelock weaves Poe's own letters and works into the story; direct quotes are acknowledged in bold, italicized text with notes on their origins.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Deathday: Poe Friend & Author George Lippard 1854


George Lippard (April 10, 1822 – February 9, 1854) was a 19th-century American novelist, journalist, playwright, social activist, and labor organizer. Nearly forgotten today, he was one of the most widely-read authors in antebellum America. A friend of Edgar Allan Poe, Lippard advocated a socialist political philosophy and sought justice for the working class in his writings. He founded a secret benevolent society, Brotherhood of the Union, investing in it all the trappings of a religion; the society, a precursor to labor organizations, survived until 1994. He authored two principal kinds of stories: Gothic tales about the immorality, horror, vice, and debauchery of large cities, such as The Monks of Monk Hall (1844), reprinted as The Quaker City (1844); and historical fiction of a type called romances, such as Blanche of Brandywine (1846), Legends of Mexico (1847), and the popular Legends of the Revolution (1847). Both kinds of stories, sensational and immensely popular when written, are mostly forgotten today. Lippard died at the age of 31 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 9, 1854.

Life and work

Early life

George Lippard was born on April 10, 1822, near Yellow Springs, in West Nantmeal Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, on the farm of his father, Daniel B. Lippard. The family moved to the city of Philadelphia two years later, shortly after his father was injured in a farming accident. Young Lippard grew up in Philadelphia, in Germantown (presently part of the city of Philadelphia), and Rhinebeck, New York (where he attended the Classical Academy). After considering a career in the Methodist religious ministry and rejecting it because of a "contradiction between theory and practice" of Christianity, he began the study of law, which he also abandoned, as it was incompatible with his beliefs about human justice. Following the death of his father in 1837, Lippard spent some time living like a homeless bohemian, working odd jobs and living in abandoned buildings and studios. Life on Philadelphia's streets gave him firsthand knowledge of the effects the Panic of 1837 had on the urban poor. Distressed by the misery he witnessed, "Lippard decided to become a writer for the masses."[1]

Early writing career

Lippard then commenced employment with the Philadelphia daily newspaper Spirit of the Times. His lively sketches and police court reporting drew readers and increased the paper’s circulation. He was but twenty when the Saturday Evening Post published his first story, a "legend" called "Philippe de Agramont."

He called his historical fiction stories "Legends" as they were not so much about what happened, as about what ought to have happened. Some of his legendary romances include: The Ladye Annabel (1842); The Belle of Prairie Eden (1844); Blanche of Brandywine (1846); The Nazarene (1846); Legends of Mexico (1847); and Legends of the Revolution (1847). One of the particular Legends of the Revolution was called "The Fourth of July, 1776," though it has come down to us under the name "Ring, Grandfather, Ring". The story was first published on January 2, 1847, in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier before being collected in Washington and His Generals. The story introduced "a tall slender man... dressed in a dark robe", left unidentified, whose stirring speech inspired the faint-hearted members of the Second Continental Congress to sign the Declaration of Independence.[2] After it was signed, the persistent ringing of the Liberty Bell proclaiming independence on the 4th of July caused its fabled crack, though this event did not happen. Another of Lippard's legends misrepresents somewhat the beliefs of Johannes Kelpius and his community of followers along the Wissahickon Creek; John Greenleaf Whittier relied on Lippard’s legend about Kelpius for his long poem Pennsylvania Pilgrim. Another of Lippard’s legends, "The Dark Eagle," about Benedict Arnold, was received uncritically by later readers, though few of its contemporary readers would have done the same. Many of the legends were republished in the Saturday Courier; another edition Legends of the Revolution was published 22 years after his death in 1876.


The Quaker City

George Lippard's most notorious story, The Quaker City, or The Monks of Monks Hall (1845) is a lurid and thickly plotted exposé of city life in antebellum Philadelphia. Highly anti-capitalistic in its message, Lippard aimed to expose the hypocrisy of the Philadelphia elite, as well as the darker underside of American capitalism and urbanization. Lippard's Philadelphia is populated with parsimonious bankers, foppish drunkards, adulterers, sadistic murderers, reverend rakes, and confidence men, all of whom the author depicts as potential threats to the Republic. Considered the first muckraking novel,[3] it was the best-selling novel in America before Uncle Tom's Cabin.[4] When it appeared in print in 1845, it sold 60,000 copies in its first year and at least 10,000 copies throughout the next decade.[5] Its success made Lippard one of the highest-paid American writers of the 1840s, earning $3,000 to $4,000 a year.[6]

The Quaker City is partly based on the March 1843 New Jersey trial of Singleton Mercer.[7] Mercer was accused of the murder of Mahlon Hutchinson Heberton aboard the Philadelphia-Camden ferry vessel Dido on February 10, 1843. Mercer alleged that Heberton only five days before he shot him had lured his sixteen-year old sister into a brothel and raped her at gunpoint. He entered a plea of insanity and was found not guily. The trial took place only two months after Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Tell-Tale Heart," a story based on other murder trials employing the insanity defense; Mercer's defense attorney openly acknowledged the "object of ridicule" which an insanity defense had become. Nonetheless, a verdict of not-guilty was rendered after less than an hour of jury deliberation, and the family and the lawyer of young Mercer were greeted by a cheering crowd while disembarking from the same Philadelphia-Camden ferry line on which the killing took place. Lippard employed the seduction aspect of the trial as a metaphor for the oppression of the helpless. The Monks of Monk Hall outraged some readers with its lingering descriptions of "heaving bosoms" but such descriptions also drew readers and he sold many books. A stage version was prepared but banned in Philadelphia for fear of riots.[7] Though many were offended by the story’s lurid elements, the book also prompted social and legal reform and may have led to New York's 1849 enactment of an anti-seduction law.

Lippard took advantage of the popularity of his novel The Quaker City to establish his own weekly periodical, also named The Quaker City. He advertised it as "A Popular Journal, devoted to such matters of Literature and news as will interest the great mass of readers."[8] Its first issue was published December 30, 1848.[9]

Labor organizer

In 1850 Lippard founded the Brotherhood of the Union (later the Brotherhood of America), a secret benevolent society aiming to eliminate poverty and crime by removing the social ills causing them. His own title in the organization was "Supreme Washington."[10] His legend-like vision was that such an organization would establish a means for men to sincerely follow a living religion. The organization grew and achieved a membership of 30,000 by 1917, but declined some time thereafter, ceasing to exist in 1994.

He was a popular lecturer, journalist, and dramatist, renowned for both the stories he wrote and for his relentless advocacy of social justice. He was a participant in the National Reform Congress (1848) and the Eighth National Industrial Congress (1853), and in 1850 founded the Brotherhood of the Union. He was not, however, immune from some of the particular prejudices of his day. The Monks of Monk Hall (also published as Quaker City) portrays a malevolent hump-backed Jewish character, Gabriel Van Gelt, one who forges, swindles, blackmails, and commits murder for money. Lippard's portrayal of blacks also reflects some of the stereotypes of his day; this is certainly hinted at in the lengthy full title of one of his sensational crime novels: The killers: A narrative of real life in Philadelphia: in which the deeds of the killers, and the great riot of election night, October 10, 1849, are minutely described : Also, the adventures of three notorious individuals, who took part in that riot, to wit: Cromwell D. Z. Hicks, the leader of the Killers; Don Jorge, one of the leaders of the Cuban expedition; and "The Bulgine," the celebrated Negro Desperado of Moyamensing. A bulgine is a derisive term for a nautical steam engine or a small dockside locomotive; the term is recalled in several folk songs, including the capstan shanty "Eliza Lee," also known as "Clear the Track, Let the Bulgine Run."

Literary life

Many of his stories dealt with the early leaders of the United States, including George Washington and Benedict Arnold. Lippard particularly admired Washington and devoted more pages to him than any other writer of fiction up to that time, though his stories are often sensationalized and immersed in Gothic elements.[10] In one of his later stories Lippard relates that George Washington rises from his tomb at Mount Vernon to take pilgrimage of nineteenth-century America accompanied by an immortal Roman named Adonai. The pair travel to Valley Forge where they see a strange, huge building and hear chaotic, frightening noises. The building turns out to be a factory.

George Lippard married Rose Newman on May 15, 1847. In an unconventional ceremony they were married outdoors in the evening of a new moon while standing on Mom Rinker's Rock above the Wissahickon Creek. That year, Lippard moved to 965 North Sixth Street, a home in which Poe had used as his final home in Philadelphia before moving to New York.[3]

His friendship with Edgar Allan Poe is notable. Poe gave Lippard credit for rescuing him from the streets on several occasions. He was more reserved about Lippard's artistic merits; possibly Poe’s own artistic standards were too high to admit praise of Lippard's writing. This is ironic, because everything we generally associate with Poe was even more intense in Lippard's style. Lippard wrote an effusive obituary after Poe’s death.

Final years

George Lippard’s wife died on May 21, 1851 shortly after the March death of their infant son. A daughter had died in 1849. In 1852, Lippard spoke in Philadelphia on the 115th birthday of Thomas Paine, attempting to redeem his political legacy and reputation, which had faltered somewhat due to his book The Age of Reason. In his version of Paine's life, Paine was responsible for convincing John Adams, Benjamin Rush, and Benjamin Franklin to seek American indepenence.[11]

Always frail, Lippard suffered from tuberculosis for the last years of his life. Confined to his house with the disease, Lippard spent the final months of his life writing a newspaper story protesting against the Fugitive Slave Law.[12] He died on February 9, 1854, at his home, then 1509 Lawrence Street,[3] shortly before attaining the age of 32. His last words were to his physician: "Is this death?"[13] He was buried at Odd Fellows Cemetery at 24th and Diamond Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but his remains and an impressive burial monument were years later removed along with many other graves from this cemetery to Lawnview Cemetery, an Odd Fellows Cemetery in Rockledge, Pennsylvania, just outside of Northeast Philadelphia. His current monument was added by the Brotherhood of the Union.[3]

Writing style and response

Lippard achieved substantial commercial success in his lifetime by purposely targeting a young working-class readership by using sensationalism, violence, and social criticism.[14] Lippard acknowledged the influence of Charles Brockden Brown (1771–1810) on his writing and dedicated several books to him.

Lippard's writing has occasional glimmers of style, but his words are more memorable for quantity than for quality, and his writing for its financial success than for its literary style. He proved that one could make a living by wordsmithing. If he is remembered at all today, it is more for his social thinking, which was progressive, than for his language and literary style.

Nonetheless, years after Lippard's death, Mark Twain mentioned him in a letter to home. During the short time Twain spent in Philadelphia working for The Philadelphia Inquirer, he wrote: "Unlike New York, I like this Philadelphia amazingly, and the people in it . . . . I saw small steamboats, with their signs up--"For Wissahickon and Manayunk 25 cents." Geo. Lippard, in his Legends of Washington and his Generals, has rendered the Wissahickon sacred in my eyes, and I shall make that trip, as well as one to Germantown, soon . . . ."

Many of Lippard's fictions were received as historical fact. Probably the most famous person to quote a historical romance by George Lippard as though it were actual history is the late President Ronald Reagan, in a commencement address at Eureka College on June 7, 1957.[citation needed] Reagan quoted from George Lippard's "Speech of the Unknown" in Washington and His Generals: or, Legends of the Revolution (1847), which relates how a speech by an anonymous delegate was the final motivation that spurred delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

After Lippard became successful as a novelist, he tried to use popular literature as a vehicle for social reform.[15]

Works

Philippe de Agramont (1842 July in Saturday Evening Post)
Adrian, the Neophyte (1843)
The Battle-Day of Germantown (1843)
Herbert Tracy; or, The Legend of the Black Rangers. A Romance of the Battle-field of Germantown (1844)
The Ladye Annabel; or, The Doom of the Poisoner. A Romance by an Unknown Author (1844)
The Quaker City; or, The monks of Monk Hall (anon., 1844) (full text page images at openlibrary.org)
Blanche of Brandywine (1846) (on-line text at Google Book Search)
The Nazarene; or, The last of Washington (1846)
The Rose of Wissahikon; or, The Fourth of July, 1776. A Romance, Embracing the Secret History of the Declaration of Independence (1847)
Washington and His Generals; or, Legends of the Revolution (1847) (on-line text at Google Book Search)
Legends of Mexico (1847)
Bel of Prairie Eden: A Romance of Mexico (1848)
Paul Ardenheim, the Monk of Wissahikon (1848)
Memoirs of a Preacher: A Revelation of the Church and the Home (1849)
The Man with the Mask: A Sequel to the Memoirs of a Preacher. A Revelation of the Church and the Home (1849)
Washington and His Men: A New Series of Legends of the Revolution (1850)
The Killers: A Narrative of Real Life in Philadelphia By a Member of the Philadelphia Bar (1850)
The author hero of the American revolution (n.d.)
The bank director’s son (1851)
Adonai, the pilgrim of eternity (1851)
Mysteries of the pulpit; or, A revelation of the Church and the home (1851)
Thomas Paine, author-soldier of the American Revolution (1852)
The Midnight Queen; or Leaves from New York Life (1853) (online page images at Wright American Fiction)
The Empire City; or, New York by night (1853)
New York: its upper ten and lower million (1854) (online page images at Wright American Fiction - on-line text at Google Book Search)
Eleanor; or, Slave catching in Philadelphia (1854)
The life and choice writings of George Lippard (1855)
The legends of the American revolution “1776” (1876) (full text at Pennsylvania digital bookshelf)

Notes

1.^ Reynolds, David. Introduction to The Quaker City; or The Monks of Monk Hall Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1970: xi.
2.^ Nash, Gary B. The Liberty Bell. Yale University Press, 2010: 42–43. ISBN 978-0-300-13936-5.
3.^ Ehrlich, Eugene and Gorton Carruth. The Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982: 205. ISBN 0195031865
4.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991: 211. ISBN 0060923318
5.^ Reynolds, David. Introduction to The Quaker City; or The Monks of Monk Hall," Amerhest, MA,The University of Massachusetts Press, 1970: vii.
6.^ Streeby, Shelley. American Sensations: Class, Empire, and the Production of Popular Culture. University of California Press, 2002: 40. ISBN 0520223144
7.^ Cleman, John. "Irresistible Impulses: Edgar Allan Poe and the Insanity Defense", collected in Bloom's BioCritiques: Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Harold Bloom. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2001: 67 ISBN 0791061736
8.^ Streeby, Shelley. American Sensations: Class, Empire, and the Production of Popular Culture. University of California Press, 2002: 41. ISBN 0520223144
9.^ Streeby, Shelley. American Sensations: Class, Empire, and the Production of Popular Culture. University of California Press, 2002: 44. ISBN 0520223144
10.^ Bryan, William Alfred. George Washington in American Literature 1775–1865. New York: Columbia University Press, 1952: 214.
11.^ Kaye, Harvey J. Thomas Paine and the Promise of America. New York: Hill and Wang, 2005: 146–147. ISBN 978-0-8090-9344-1.
12.^ Reynolds, David. Introduction to The Quaker City; or Monks of Monk Hall, Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1970: xix
13.^ Latham, Edwardd. Famous Sayings And Their Authors: A Collection of Historical Sayings in English, French, German, Greek, Italian, and Latin. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1906: 34.
14.^ Howe, Daniel Walker. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007: 631. ISBN 978-0-19-507894-7
15.^ Streeby, Shelley. American Sensations: Class, Empire, and the Production of Popular Culture. University of California Press, 2002: 42. ISBN 0520223144

References

Denning, Michael Mechanic Accents "Chapter 6, Mysteries and Mechanics of the City" London, 1987
Hart, James D. Oxford Companion to American Literature, 5th ed. Oxford, OUP, 1983.
Herzberg, Max J. Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature. Crowell, 1962.
Myers, Robin. Dictionary of Literature in the English Language, vol 1. Oxford, Pergamon Pr, 1970.
Oberholtzer, Ellis Paxson. Literary History of Philadelphia. Jacobs, 1906.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Poe Actor & Gomez Addams John Astin


John Allen Astin (born March 30, 1930) is an American actor who has appeared in numerous films and television shows, and is best known for the role of Gomez Addams on The Addams Family, and other similarly eccentric comedic characters.

Early years

Astin was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Margaret Linnie (née Mackenzie) and Dr. Allen Varley Astin, who was the director of the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology).[1] He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1952, after transferring from Washington and Jefferson College. He initially studied mathematics at Washington & Jefferson then became a drama major at Johns Hopkins; he was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at Johns Hopkins.


Career

Astin started in theater, doing voice-over work for commercials. His first big break came with a small part in West Side Story in 1961. At this time, he also guest starred on the ABC sitcom, Harrigan and Son, starring Pat O'Brien. In 1962–1963, he starred with Marty Ingels in the sitcom I'm Dickens, He's Fenster, which aired thirty-one episodes in a single season. From 1964–1966, he starred in The Addams Family as Gomez Addams, the head of the macabre family. He appeared in the TV show The New Addams Family as Grandpapa Addams in 1998, with the role of Gomez Addams played by Glenn Taranto.

Astin also played the Riddler on ABC's Batman during Frank Gorshin's second season departure. (Gorshin came back for the third and final season.) He played submarine commander Matthew Sherman in the 1970s TV series Operation Petticoat. He also made a notable appearance in popular mystery show Murder, She Wrote, as the villainous Sheriff Harry Pierce. He had a recurring role on the sitcom Night Court as Buddy, eccentric former mental patient and the stepfather of lead character Harry Stone. He also played the regular role of Ed LaSalle in the short-lived Mary Tyler Moore sitcom Mary during the 1985–86 television season. He guest starred on numerous television series too, including a Gunsmoke appearance in 1967 as Festus's cousin Henry, Jack Palance's ABC circus drama, The Greatest Show on Earth and Duckman.

Astin received an Academy Award nomination for Prelude, a short film that he wrote, produced, and directed. He was nominated for an Ace Award for his work on Tales from the Crypt, and received an Emmy nomination for the cartoon voice of Gomez on ABC-TV's The Addams Family. He also voiced the character Bull Gator on the animated series Taz-Mania. Astin served for four years on the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, and has been active in community affairs in Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

He has continued to work in acting, appearing in a string of Killer Tomatoes films as Professor Gangreen and as Professor Wickwire in The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.

He also has toured the one-man play Edgar Allan Poe: Once Upon a Midnight, written by Paul Day Clemens and Ron Magid. In a December 2007, Baltimore Examiner interview, Astin said of his acting experience:

“We all struggle, and I had plenty of that, but I've had a great time. I've done hundreds of TV shows and 30 to 40 movies, and I love acting. I'm very happy having done the Poe. That's been really terrific.[2] ”


Teaching

Astin currently teaches method acting and directing in the Writing Seminars Department at Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater. Commenting on his dual career, he said in 2007, "I don't know one major university that has a known actor teaching every day."[2] He hopes to re-establish a drama major at the university, noting that he is one of only a handful to earn a drama degree from Hopkins. Astin can be seen singing and playing cowbell in a music video from JHU released in December 2009.

Personal life

He has five sons, three (David, Allen, and Tom) by his first wife, Suzanne Hahn, and another (Mackenzie Astin) by his second wife, actress Patty Duke. John also legally adopted Sean Astin, Duke's son from a previous marriage. John Astin is currently married to Valerie Ann Sandobal and lives in Baltimore. He is a practicing Buddhist.[2]

His younger brother, Alexander Astin, is a professor emeritus at UCLA. He has five granddaughters: Alexandra, Elizabeth, Isabella, Sedona and Jaya.

Filmography

The Twilight Zone: "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim" (1961)
West Side Story (1961) – Glad Hand, Social Worker Leading Dance
That Touch of Mink (1962) - Mr. Everett Beasley
Move Over Darling (1963) - Clyde Prokey
The Addams Family (1964–66) (television) – Gomez Addams
Batman: "Batman's Anniversary/A Riddling Controversy" (1967) (television) – The Riddler (#2)
The Wild Wild West: "The Night of the Tartar" (1967) (television) – Count Nikolai Sazanov
The Flying Nun: "Flight of the Dodo Bird" (1967) (television) – Father Lundigan
Candy: (1968) – Mister Christian
Viva Max! (1969) – Sergeant Valdez
Bunny O'Hare (1971) – Ad
Night Gallery: "Pamela's Voice" (1971) (television)
Night Gallery: "The Girl with the Hungry Eyes" (October 1, 1972) (television) - Mr. Munch
Evil Roy Slade (1972) – Evil Roy Slade
The Partridge Family (1973) (television) - Sydney Rose in The Mad Millionaire
Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972)
Freaky Friday (1976) – Bill Andrews
Operation Petticoat (1977) - Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Sherman
National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985) - Kent Winkdale (host of "Pig in a Poke")
Mr. Boogedy (1986) – Neil Witherspoon
Teen Wolf Too (1987) – Dean Dunn
Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988) – Professor Gangreen
Killer Tomatoes Strike Back (1990) – Professor Gangreen
Killer Tomatoes Eat France (1991) – Professor Gangreen
Eerie Indiana (1991) (television) – Radford
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (1993) (television) – Professor Albert Wickwire
Night Court (1986) – Former Mental Patient Buddy Ryan (revealed later in the series to be Judge Harry Stone's father)
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) – Janitor
Taz-Mania (1991) (television) – Bull Gator (voice)
The Addams Family, animated series (1992) – Gomez Addams (voice)
The Silence of the Hams (1993) – The Ranger
Duckman (1994) – Terry Duke Tetzloff (voice)
Mad About You: "Up All Night" (1994) (television) – himself
Super Password – Himself
The Frighteners (1996) – The Judge
The Nanny (1996) - The Plastic Surgeon (episode - Tattoo)
School of Life (2005) – Stormin' Norman Warner

References

1.^ "John Astin Biography". filmreference. 2008. http://www.filmreference.com/film/93/John-Astin.html. Retrieved 2009-01-17.
2.^ Jessica Novak (28December 2007). "Johns Hopkins' leading man". The Baltimore Examiner.