All Things Considered Story on Edgar Allan Poe Features WPI Professor


Monday, January 19, was the 200th birthday of American author Edgar Allan Poe. To commemorate the anniversary, National Public Radio’s daily afternoon news program All Things Considered aired a story noting that while Poe is celebrated in his adopted home city of Baltimore, he is all but ignored in Boston, his birthplace.

The story featured an interview with Kent Ljungquist, professor of English at WPI and one of the world's leading authorities on Poe’s life and writings. The author of The Grand and the Fair: Poe's Landscape Aesthetics and Pictorial Techniques, Ljungquist is known for his critical analyses of the author’s works. In 1991 he determined that an unsigned 1841 review of Poe's series on Autography was, in fact, written by Poe himself.

Ljungquist says that Boston’s indifference to Poe, and his to Boston, may stem from some unpleasant experiences he had in the city, including a disastrous poetry reading in 1845, as well as Poe’s disdain for the Boston literati, particularly Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.