Archive for August, 2020


Now published is a ground-breaking edited collection of essays on Edgar Allan Poe:

Ed. Emron Esplin and Margarida Vale de Gato
Rowman & Littlefield and Lehigh University Press, 2020

The eighteen essays examine multiple facets of editions and anthologisations of Poe’s writings from different periods and across the world.

My own contribution to the volume is:
‘Popular Poe Anthologies in the United Kingdom and France’, pp. 277-292.

Note added 28 September 2021: This book later received the J. Lasley Dameron award for an outstanding essay collection in the area of Poe studies. See entry on this blog for 27 September 2021.



Popular Poe Anthologies in the UK and France

The literary production of Edgar Allan Poe, and his tales in particular, may be considered to occupy a location somewhere on the fault-line between high culture and popular culture, and as such, Poe is an especially suitable candidate for anthologization of a particular kind, namely that by well-known mass-market publishers under inexpensive imprints that focus on literary classics. Such editions may be considered as popular, or if one is to be more specific, semi-popular or quality popular. Popular does not necessarily mean low-quality: a quality popular edition could be defined as one that is not primarily academic but is well-produced and textually and typographically reliable, and this is the kind of anthology on which the present chapter will focus. Such an edition may be introduced by a leading literary or critical figure. Some may be more academically oriented than others, if they include, to a greater or lesser extent, critical apparatus in the form of notes, bibliography, etc., but such editions may still be considered popular courtesy of the imprint they appear under. Two countries where editions of Poe of this type have been especially frequent are the UK and France (…).

The present study will offer a comparative analysis of a corpus of representative popular editions published in the literary markets of the UK and France during the twentieth century (…). The corpus for this study thus stands at five volumes from the UK and four from France. Full details for each volume will be given as they are examined in turn. Of the British volumes, one appeared in Everyman’s Library (Tales of Mystery and Imagination) and one in Collins Classics (Tales, Poems, Essays). The remaining three were published by Penguin (those originally issued as Selected Writings, The Science Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe, and The Other Poe: Comedies and Satires). The French anthologies were all published under the Folio imprint of the Paris publisher Gallimard. The first three—Histoires extraordinaires, Nouvelles histoires extraordinaires and Histoires grotesques et sérieuses—follow Charles Baudelaire’s classic translations, replicating their selection, tale titles, and order of texts as well as their generic titles; a fourth volume consists of tales omitted (and thus not translated) by Baudelaire.