Category Archives: Poe and Science

Poe’s Hair Sheds Light on Unsolved Mystery

From June 22 until September 17, 2017, the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia will feature Investigating History: Testing Edgar Allan Poe’s Hair, a groundbreaking new exhibit examining the latest scientific testing of the nineteenth century author Edgar Allan Poe’s hair by University of Virginia scientist Stephen Macko. These tests provide valuable clues to…

Poe’s First Published Story about a Shipwreck Foreshadows Eureka: A Prose Poem (Part I of II)

Poe’s first important tale, “MS. Found in a Bottle,” (1833) won the Baltimore Visiter’s first prize for fiction. Poe scholar, Thomas Mabbott calls it a “masterpiece,” contending that “winning the contest set the author on the way to lasting fame” (Tales and Sketches 131). The Visiter wrote that “Poe’s tales are eminently distinguished by a wild,…

Sonnet-to Science: Poe’s Early Ambivalence About 19th-Century Technologies

By the time that Poe started writing professionally, the Industrial Revolution had already introduced many dramatic advancements that affected the lifestyles and culture of the nineteenth-century public. For example, the literacy rate had steadily increased in the United States, and many people were able to understand most articles written in the newspaper. They could also…

Some Words About Poe’s Tale About a Mummy*

Poe’s tale, “Some Words with a Mummy” (1845) provides one of his most informative views about the value of nineteenth-century science. Although the narrator of this short story does not go anywhere special, Poe’s imagined mummy travels from ancient Egypt to the nineteenth century to reflect on the relative values of ancient and the technologies…

Private Perry is Mr. Poe

John Limon argues that Poe was one of the first American writers who was important both to the fields of literature and science because he engaged in literary mediation, or “negotiation with science.” Limon notes that Poe’s works provide abundant examples that he anticipated forecasted several future developments in technology, e.g., exploration of the Poles,…

The Challenge of Evaluating Poe’s, Eureka: A Prose Poem

  In my last column, I discussed the reasons that I decided not to focus my entire Master’s Thesis research on Poe’s Eureka: A Prose Poem. That conclusion became obvious to me after I examined all of the clues that were available to me at the beginning of my investigation. First of all, I found that Eureka was…

Third Anniversary of the Positively Poe Conference at the University of Virginia

  Poe was in the second class of students who attended the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. According to the UVA Website(aig.alumni.virginia.edu), “Edgar Allan Poe enrolled at the University on February 14, 1826, the 136th of 177 students registering for the second session. He attended classes in the Schools of Ancient and Modern Languages, under…

Conducting a Comprehensive Study of Poe’s, Eureka: A Prose Poem

    First, I am going to propose what a researcher might have to do to conduct a comprehensive study of Poe’s 1848 book, Eureka: A Prose Poem. Then, I am going to explain why I decided not to fall into the trap of attempting to evaluate Poe’s final work. As I noted in my previous…

Poe’s Importance in the History of Science

    As m Blog on Poe and Science advance, I will be documenting the process I undertook and my findings on Poe and Science, which led to my Master’s Thesis in English Literature in December 2015, at Virginia Commonwealth University. After regular visits to the Poe Museum in early 2013 to conduct research on…

Walking Up Poe’s Stairway

  On a cold, but sunny day in February 2013, Poe Museum Curator, Chris Semtner, took down the golden fabric rope from its old and long railing. Chris said that the staff of the museum moved the stairs and incorporated them into present building many years ago. The Memorial Building, where they now stand, commemorates…