PSA Newsletter, Fall 1999 -- Poe in Cyberspace
Heyward Ehrlich, Rutgers University, Newark Links checked February 2002
Research and Teaching Using the Internet
Anyone whose e-mail address is posted on a web page is fair game for odd requests from time to time. Here is one query I received recently:
My name is [ --- ] , I am a student in [ --- ].
I am currently studying the life and workings of Edgar Alan Poe, but am having trouble finding the information i need,
It would he very helpful if u could answer any of the following questions:
1. How was he regarded by the public in his time?
2. What was the span of his writting career?
3. What subjects did he usually write about?
4. How is he regarded as a writer today?
Your help would be much appreciated.
The frequent errors suggest that this is a student hoping to submit a report on Poe without actually doing any reading or writing. The strangely generic questions suggest, furthermore, that the questions are a blanket class exercise which, distressingly, has nothing to do with any particular author. Responses to such e-mail are, in effect, answers which can be plugged directly into a word processor, eliminating reading, research, writing -- and even typing. Whether done on one's own initiative or under the guidance of a teacher, this is a malevolent form of internet plagiarism which seems to be on the increase.
Of course, not everyone abuses the internet. There are abundant ways of using the internet seriously for research and instruction. Edgar Allan Poe remains a major figure in courses in nineteenth century literature, American literature, short fiction, poetry, literary criticism, and special topics. There are internet resources appropriate for research-based graduate and advanced undergraduate courses, discussion-based introductory college and advanced high school offerings, and even appreciations for the general public.
A few cautions are in order. You won't find much material still in copyright on the internet (it's easy to duplicate internet materials, which would be a copyright violation), so standard scholarly editions and critical works published since about 1920 are simply not available in this form. But you will find recent work by Poe teachers and students who have donated their research and pedagogic materials for public use. The new culture of the Web -- unlike the traditional culture of print -- is unexpectedly open and generous. Expect to find Poe syllabi, course plans, bibliographies for author, period, and genre courses, and the product of class projects. If you use internet materials, be sure to use appropriate citations for electronic materials (see www.mla.org/).
Whether you are a teacher, a student, or both, start by comparing your own Poe syllabus and course description to those posted on the Web. Consider the usefulness of class discussions and hypertext clusters to be found there. No one can pretend any longer that the usual questions -- Poe and alcohol, drugs, rabies, and Griswold -- or Poe and the gothic, beautiful, grotesque, and race -- have never been asked before. For heaven's sake, don't limit your research to using a search engine such as Yahoo. (Or have we forgotten the original meaning of the word?) Always take advantage of the best of both worlds by amalgamating printed and electronic resources.
This article with live hypertext links is available online at http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~ehrlich/psa/. For additional research leads, see "A Poe Webliography: Edgar Allan Poe on the Internet," Poe Studies 30: 1-27 (1997) -- online at http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~ehrlich/poesites.html.
A. Courses and syllabi
- PAL: Perspectives on American Literature (Paul R. Reuben):http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap3/poe.html
Paul R. Reuben's complete Research and Reference Guide, which has reached a 12th edition, starts at his home page http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/home.htm. The section on Poe includes selected bibliographies of books and articles, discussions of Poe's influence, major themes, paradoxes, short story types, the aesthetic theory of effect, and the rabies debate, plus brief literary biographies, study questions, and an MLA citation guide. Don't miss the extensive research guide to all of American literature at http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/append/axa.html.
- Course in American Literature, 1820-1860 (Donna Campbell): http://www.gonzaga.edu/faculty/campbell/enl311/1-16-98.html.
This page includes Donna Campbell's lecture notes on such topics as the Silverman biography, phases of Poe's career, the grotesque, themes in Poe, and "The Raven." See also her online Poe bibliography at http://www.gonzaga.edu/faculty/campbell/enl311/poe.htm, a list of periodicals for American literature (with some online sources) at http://www.gonzaga.edu/faculty/campbell/enl311/jourbib.htm, and her course home page at http://www.gonzaga.edu/faculty/campbell/enl311/index.html. This well indexed site also contains a review of resources for research in American Literature, a Guide to American Literary Movements, and a Timeline for American literature.
- The Poe Perplex: http://www.nadn.navy.mil/EnglishDept/poeperplex/about.htm
The syllabus and course description for a course originally offered at the U. S. Naval Academy in 1996, with student research papers on Poe's works, life, interests, career, and friends.
- Classroom issues and strategies: http://www.georgetown.edu/bassr/heath/syllabuild/iguide/poe.html.
Prof. William Goldhurst's advice to the college teacher and advanced student on significant issues in creating a Poe syllabus, supported by a well annotated bibliography.
B. Poe discussions, hypertext annotation, activities
- The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore: http://www.eapoe.org/geninfo/poegen.htm
Serious discussions and surveys of topics of enduring interest, including Poe's Biography, relations with Griswold, his death, his appearance, his supposed used of drugs and alcohol, his religion, his fame and popularity, where he lived, phrenology, music, and his family, friends, and enemies. A rich site with an extensive collection of e-texts, the main address of which is http://www.eapoe.org/.
- Peter Forrest's Fall of the House of Usher: http://www.comnet.ca/~forrest/library.html
A wide ranging compendium of Poe materials for research, including introductory hints on writing a research paper and (alphabetically) bibliographies, biographies, courses, criticisms, historical sites essays, poems, poetry journals, quotations, search, societies, theatre, translations worldwide URLs, and works. (The site also includes material on audio, clothing, comics, exhibits, humor, images, movies, multimedia, musicals, personalities, restaurants, signature, songs, and more.) See also the Help files at http://www.comnet.ca/~forrest/helpfile.html.
- The Poe Decoder: http://www.poedecoder.com/
Essays on Poe's tales, poems, and mind by Christoffer Nilson ("Qrisse'), David Grantz, and Martha Womack, including the feature "Precisely Poe" at http://www.poedecoder.com/PreciselyPoe/, where Martha Womack offers to answer questions about Poe.
- "The Fall of the House of Usher" Page at the University of Texas: http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/~mmaynard/Poe/poe.html [No longer available]
Annotation of "The Fall of the House of Usher" for Michelle Maynard's class at the University of Texas, with emphasis on character analysis, imagery, and themes.
- The Writing Center of William Rainey Harper College: http://info2.harper.cc.il.us/writ_ctr/poe.htm.
Includes commentaries on five Poe tales, "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar," "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether," "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains," "The Masque of the Red Death," and "Hop-Frog."
- Adam Michaels, "The Fall of the House of Usher": http://www.english.upenn.edu/~poe/usher.html
The text of "The Fall of the House of Usher" with annotations for key phrases in hypertext format.
C. Poe Bibliography:
- Internet Public Library: Literary Criticism: Poe: http://www.ipl.org/cgi-bin/ref/litcrit/litcrit.out.pl?au=poe-10
Lists selected links for critical, biographical, and other material on Poe.
A second IPL list contains criticisms of Poe tales: .http://www.ipl.org/cgi-bin/ref/litcrit/litcrit.out.pl?ti=col-221.
- Research Guide to Edgar Allan Poe: Scholarly Sources: http://www.wcsu.ctstateu.edu/library/gd_poe.html
Detailed guide to library resources, including general reference books, card catalog listings, and periodical indexes, for basic Poe research, plus selected list of online resources, from the Western Connecticut State University library.
- Author Sheet: http://www.clpgh.org/clp/Humanities/poe.html
Useful list of hard to find treatments of Poe in books on general literary topics, plus links to direct discussions of Poe in books in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
- Cybertour by Dauphin County Library System: http://dcls.org/reference/poe.html
Selected electronic resources to introduce Poe research to adult readers.
D. General Literary Bibliography:
- Voice of the Shuttle (Alan Liu): http://vos.ucsb.edu/
The most important and extensive general Web site for literary and humanistic research, including links to sites for e-texts, theory, criticism, and syllabi, classified by nationality, period, author, genre, and special topics. Scroll down to Poe.
- Jack Lynch Literary Resources: http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Lit/american.html.
A major starting point for literary research, including a fine compendium of scholarly sites in American literature. Scroll down to Poe.
- Internet Index at Berkeley Sunsite: http://lii.org/.
"A Librarian's Index to the Internet." Click on Authors and then General Resources.
- English and American Literary Resources: http://www.lib.uconn.edu/subjectareas/engweb.html
An extensive online guide to English and American literary resources in the library with selected Web Sites by period -- from the University of Connecticut Libraries.
- Literature and Readings Resources: http://www.waterboro.lib.me.us/books.htm
The Maine Lit Ring: guide to more than 600 links to General Literature and Reading Resources,Authors and Texts, Bestsellers and Award Winners, Book Reviews for Kids and Adults, Bibliographies, Book Lists and Recommended Reading with Reading Groups,Reading and Literature Curriculum and Literacy, Banned Books, Censorship, and Book Stores.
- The English Server at Carnegie Mellon: http://english-www.hss.cmu.edu/.
Search for mentions in its database of 20,000 items. p>
- The Internet Sleuth: Isleuth: http://www.isleuth.com/arts.html [No longer available]
Search Arts & Humanities general databases or move in closer with Humanities, Literature, Online texts, or Poetry pages.
E. Commercial Databases
- Northernlight: http://www.northernlight.com
High powered searches of its Special Collections can produce abstracts of over 1,000 Poe items in journals and magazines (fee-based).
- Electric Library: http://www.elibrary.com.
Each Electric Library search, which can be modified in considerable detail, produces a list of up to 30 items in newspaper and magazines (fee-based).
F. Assisted Research:
- Trackstar: Questions and answers:
Try the frames version if your browser supports it.
- Webquest: Created by Robin Stephens, Ed Simpson, and Skip Frye. http://www.spa3.k12.sc.us/WebQuests/Poe%20WebQuest/poe.html
A guided Webquest for younger readers.