Join this three-part reading group at the Center for Fiction as we read Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.
Although Arthur Gordon Pym is Edgar Allan Poe’s only novel, it is one of his least read and most unusual works—a strange seafaring adventure tale about an Antarctic exploration gone wrong—that has had an enduring impact on writers since its publication in 1838. Borges described it as his “greatest work,” and it influenced Jules Verne, H. P. Lovecraft, and is famously considered an inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. We’ll read Poe’s novel and his other sea-inspired short story "Ms. Found in a Bottle," H. P. Lovecraft’s novella-length sequel At the Mountains of Madness, and Mat Johnson’s recent and acclaimed novel, Pym, a satirical fantasy about an African-American scholar who journeys to Antarctica in search of answers about Poe’s enigmatic novel. We’ll look closely at themes of travel and adventure, racial symbolism, and the horror and fantasy of discovering new worlds.
Please use the Melville House edition of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym for the first meeting and read the entire (short) novel.
Why do we fear vaccines?” Eula Biss asks in On Immunity, the provocative book resulting from her investigation into the metaphors and myths surrounding disease and immunity, launched after she became a new mother. In conversation with writer and bookseller (and new mom) A. N. Devers.
On the anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s death, join the Center for Fiction and Community Bookstore for a discussion about the darker side of fiction and the relevance of the gothic in literature today with Edward Carey, author of his Heap House and Observatory Mansions, and Shelley Jackson, author of Half Life and Skin (a story tattooed serially on 2095 volunteers). There will be a short reading from Poe’s work, and Edward Gorey’s fur coat will make an appearance. Moderated by writer and bookseller A. N. Devers.
Since his death on October 7, 1849 and his hasty funeral the next day, Edgar Allan Poe has not rested. Although he is buried in Baltimore, his body has been in a near perpetual state of being memorialized since his mysterious and unexpected death at the young age of 40. Cities fight over the rightful ownership of his bones and his legacy. In this illustrated lecture, writer A. N. Devers will revisit Poe’s burial, his subsequent re-burial years later, and the restaging of his funeral in 2009, a huge affair in which a horse-drawn casket carrying Poe’s life-size rubber cadaver was pulled through the streets of Baltimore before being eulogized by actors in costume from his past and from the future (like H.P. Lovecraft and Walt Whitman). She will prod at literary celebrity, how we memorialize the dead, and how these events can alter the perceived biographical history of a person. Co-sponsored by The Center for Fiction.