Enigmatic Edgar

Edgar Allan Poe's death in Baltimore on October 7, 1849, ensured that the writer and the city would be forever linked. On October 7, 2016, come celebrate Poe’s life and legacy, and commemorate the anniversary of his death, at the George Peabody Library in Mt. Vernon. We’ll be screening The Raven, a film that reimagines Poe’s last days by putting him in pursuit of a serial killer who is copying the murders in his own tales. Showtime is 7 pm; this event is free and open to the public.

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We’ll have the perfect spooky ambiance for our viewing: an exhibition of rare Poe materials. The Enigmatic Edgar A. Poe in Baltimore & Beyond features highlights from the Susan Jaffe Tane Collection of Edgar Allan Poe, one of the finest private collections of Poe materials in the world. Fragment of Poe’s coffin? Check. Lock of his hair, snipped at his demise? Check. Poe action figure? Check. And what else, you ask? How about:

  • “The Raven” manuscript, in Poe’s own hand, on loan from the Free Library of Philadelphia, plus several other Poe manuscripts and letters
  • Poe’s first published book of poems, one of only 12 known copies and “the most celebrated rarity in American literature”
  • the engagement ring that Poe gave to the woman who had been his teenage sweetheart
  • the story that launched Poe’s career as an author—“MS. Found in a Bottle”— published when he won a contest in The Baltimore Saturday Visiter
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” as they first appeared to readers in magazines
  • the New-York Tribune obituary that ruined Poe’s reputation
  • comic book adaptations of Poe’s stories and international translations of his works

Plus many nineteenth-century editions of Poe’s works, beautiful illustrations, and contemporary homages.

While he is best known for his horror stories and the eerie poem “The Raven,” Edgar Allan Poe was actually a tireless experimenter. He is credited with inventing the literary genres of science fiction and detective fiction. He was an exacting literary critic and a prolific book reviewer. He wrote a book about mollusks (or… plagiarized it, depending on your point of view) and another in which he anticipated several key cosmological tenets. He published a story about hypnotizing a dead man that was republished as a factual account. Enigmatic Edgar takes you far beyond the Poe you already know.

The exhibition opens today, and is free and open to the public. It runs through Sunday, February 5, 2017 at the George Peabody Library, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore, MD 21202. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Thursdays 10 – 5, Fridays and Saturdays 10 – 3, and Sundays 10 – 1.

For more about the exhibition and additional film screenings, stay tuned to #EnigmaticEdgar.

 

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