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University Libraries - News, Events & Exhibits

"Radical Errors": Edgar Allan Poe at 200

Thomas Cooper Library West Gallery
Jun 15, 2009 - Aug 10, 2009
Born in the same year as Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), over the course of a 20-year literary career, helped define new genres of literature in antebellum America, wrote a significant body of literary criticism, and worked assiduously at his craft despite his tumultuous personal life. Though best known today for his short stories of horror, mystery, and psychological investigation, Poe began his literary career as a poet (his most famous poem, “The Raven,” despite its relative nascence, is one of the world’s most frequently-anthologized poems) and continued to write poems during his career as a literary editor and book reviewer, while also contributing short fiction to the rapidly-expanding nineteenth-century American magazine marketplace. Poe’s published output is significant for a relatively short writing life: about fifty poems and seventy short stories coupled with a larger body of essays and book reviews on a multitude of subjects. Along the way, he wrote one novel that has gained increasing critical attention, worked on serious scientific essays, and “invented” the modern detective story. This exhibition, drawn from the collections of Rare Books and Special Collections, showcases the earliest of Poe’s works held at the University of South Carolina and is especially strong in showing how many of his writings first appeared in contemporary periodicals, of all variations and for different audiences.