A Poe Webliography by Heyward Ehrlich

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P R E F A C E :

A.  Printed vs. electronic bibliographies.
B.  Text Availability/Quality.
C.  Resources for research and teaching.
D.  Help in using these pages.
E.  The Five Parts of this Webliography.

A. How a webliography differs from a typical bibliography:

  1. Most of the items here contain live hypertext links -- so that clicking on any one link immediately displays that item on the screen. Use the Back button to return to the starting point, or click on new links to jump somewhere else.

  2. Since the Web itself is in constant flux, the ideal Webliography would be updated hourly, a fluid metatext ever-changing in time, the author's suggested pathways being reshaped, unpredictably, by each decision of the reader in browsing.

  3. In practice, many Web e-texts are freely downloaded, copied, and edited, and some actually re-emerge as uploads in other guises at new locations. A common misconception, therefore, is that nothing on the Web (or Internet, to use the two words interchangeably here) is in copyright. True, the Web contains a good deal of public domain material, but the Web also contains much copyrighted material for which public use permissions have been granted. Some significant exceptions to free use may prohibit electronic copying, require the inclusion of copyright notices, demand passwords, restrict access to users at the host institution, or require a fee to access full texts.

    In any event, don't expect to find the standard printed research and reference materials you ordinarily use, particularly if they were published during the current era of copyright protection, which began in the 1920s.

    TOP | ToC | Preface: A. Printed vs. electronic | B. Availability/Quality | C. Resources | D. Help | E. Five Parts

B. Availability/Quality:

  1. Most of Poe's tales, poems, and longer works are available on the internet or on CD-ROM (in various incarnations and combinations), but the vast majority of the criticisms, reviews, and articles are not currently available in any electronic form. (This deficiency is in process of being remedied in a project currently underway at the Web site of the Poe Society of Baltimore.)

  2. The quality of Poe e-texts is uneven. Many older texts were casually produced by scanning for massive CD-ROM anthologies, using whatever edition or editions came to hand. At that time the printed sources of e-texts were not carefully selected (some still remain unknown), and it was not standard practice to paginate the text, disclose the source, or verify the electronic result against a standard printed text.

    This older Poe material on the Web is quite suitable for general or undergraduate use -- but great care must be taken in critical or graduate research requiring verified e-texts exactly matched to standard printed editions. Since early Poe e-texts had no pagination, it was often expedient to paginate them according to the Harrison edition, out-of-copyright but still useful. Although the page and pagragraph breaks matched the Harrison edition, at times the text did not.

    Happily this picture is now changing as recent digital preservation and access projects produce better edited and more carefuly verified electronic versions of historical Poe editions, such as those in the Poe Society of Baltimore, The American Verse Collection at the University of Michigan, A Digitized Library of Southern Literature at the University of North Carolina, the Making of America project at the University of Michigan, the Early American Fiction project at the University of Virginia in collaboration with Chadwyck-Healey. Nevertheless, for the most critical textual applications, the absolute, detailed fidelity of these texts to the printed originals cannot be taken for granted.

TOP | ToC | Preface: A. Printed vs. electronic | B. Availability/Quality | C. Resources | D. Help | E. Five Parts

C. Resources for the researcher and teacher:

  1. Primary texts: since no broad scholarly initiative exists to produce a comprehensive electronic edition of Poe (a shortcoming which reflects the current state of the complete printed edition), the scholar has several choices in selecting texts for serious study:

  2. Carefully edited historical facsimiles, such as the Tales (1845) at the University of North Carolina Digitized Library of Southern Literature, the Complete Poems (ed. J. H, Whitty, 1911) at The American Verse Collection of the University at Michigan, and other texts in preparation in the Poe Society of Baltimore and Early American Fiction project at the University of Virginia. A carefully edited selection of several Poe texts is in Representative Poetry On-Line at the University of Toronto, and Poe's contributions to the Southern Literary Messenger are among the items in the nineteenth century periodicals collection of the Making of America project at the University of Michigan and Cornell University.

  3. About thirty short works, chiefly tales, readily available online as HTML and SGML encoded texts at the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center (ETC) and University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative (HTI). Many of these texts have been paginated according to the Harrison edition and have been given attractive screen fonts.

    Most of these works are also available in plain-text form from Internet Wiretap, the Oxford Text Archive (OTA), and other online sources.

  4. About 140 plain texts, grouped in about 120 files, without pagination or enhanced screen fonts (formerly online in the Virginia Tech Eris collection) are still available at UM-StLouis. This larger set of e-texts also includes poems, longer works, and selected criticism.

    This group of some 140 plain texts is also available, with some variations, on two commercial CD-ROMs: The Library of the Future, 3rd ed. and Corel World's Greatest Books .

  5. Restricted texts: limited to qualified applicants, password holders, or local users, including certain texts at the OTA, the ETC, and the Oxford University Press project.

  6. Fee-based full text articles: in recent professional journals, offered by Northernlight and the Electric Library, the indexes and abstracts being free of charge.

  • Commentaries, criticisms, and secondary works: Northernlight and Electric Library, mentioned above, provide full texts of recent articles in selected professional journals for a fee. A list of online literary criticism is maintained at the Internet Public Library.

  • Teaching and classroom material is ample on the Web, some of it providing excellent starting points for class discussions, research, and projects.

  • Searching with standard Web-wide search engines and indexes can locate material on specific topics. Several text archives also have internal search mechanisms to find particular words or phrases.

  • A note on plagiarism: unfortunately electronic research is followed by the rise of Web sites specializing in assisted or paid research, some using unmistakable site names. They are not included here.

    TOP | ToC | Preface: A. Printed vs. electronic | B. Availability/Quality | C. Resources | D. Help | E. Five Parts

    D. Help in using these pages:

    1. If you are using this webliography online at its Web site, http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~ehrlich/poesites.html, it will come up on your screen as plain text. You can also return to this option by clicking on "Text Only" at the top of the file.

    2. If you prefer a fixed navigation frame on the left as the text scrolls in the main frame on the right, click on "With Frames" on the very top line of the file.

    3. You may also jump from topic to topic by clicking on the thin horizontal navigation bar which appears at the top of each section in the main text.

    4. If you are using a fast connection line or don't mind the downloading delay, you may see the same information with daguerreotypes as navigation icons. Go to the top of the file and click on with Graphics.

    5. To use both the navigation frame at left and the daguerreotypes navigation icons, click on "With Both" on the top line of the file.

    6. Font face and size: To keep the lines from overrrunning its lines, requiring horizontal scrolling, adjust your browser to display a compact font face, such as Times Roman, in a small size, such as 10 or 11 pt. It may also help to give a full screen to you browser and to turn off the directory and toolbar displays.

      TOP | ToC | Preface: A. Printed vs. electronic | B. Availability/Quality | C. Resources | D. Help | E. Five Parts

      E. The Five Parts of this Webliography:

      1. General Poe Web sites as starting points (A).

      2. E-text archives and sites for plain, HTML-encoded, edited, and hypertext materials (B, C, D, E).

      3. Commentaries, secondary works, and CD-ROM editions (F, G).

      4. Guides and indexes for independent searches (H, I).

      5. All the above elements (A-I) are linked to the horizontal navigation bar. Additional resources (not on the navigation bar) include foreign material, multimedia, Poe associations, and miscellanies (J, K, L, M).