Midnight dreary : the mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe

by John Evangelist Walsh

Hardcover, 1998

Status

Available

Publication

New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, 1998.

Description

With the publication of three short tales in the 1840s, Poe invented the detective story. Then his own sudden and bizarre death created a real-life mystery, still unsolved after 150 years, as tantalizing as any of his famous stories. While traveling alone from Richmond, Virginia, to New York City, Poe disappeared for nearly a week. When seen again he was terribly drunk and nearly dead in Baltimore. In the hospital, he couldn't tell where he'd been all that time or who he'd been with. Four days later, after periods of raving delirium, he died. The immediate cause of death given was "congestion of the brain," or "inflammation of the brain," catch-all medical phrases of the day. Midnight Dreary examines the last days of one of America's most admired authors, definitively untangling more than a century of speculation. On its 150th anniversary the greatest Poe mystery of all is finally put to rest.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Midnightdreary
This book is actually two books. The first half, the author gives a fairly accurate account of Poe's last few days as well as a run-down of the various theories on his death, including the origins of many of those theories. The author's narrative voice snidely editorializes about each of these theories and chides many of them for lacking evidence. The second half of the book is his own editorialized theory which hinges on nearly no evidence at all.… (more)
LibraryThing member R0BIN
I got caught up in this investigation into the death of Edgar Allan Poe and enjoyed reading it but I would be careful about recommending this book to someone else. I only know about two people who would be interested enough to read this. It was pretty dry reading. This author is seriously detail oriented.

Because of all that detail, I also feel that I would like to agree with the author's conclusions. The other theories that Poe's death came as a direct result of either alcohol or drugs, diabetic coma or epilepsy seemed either too easy or too unlikely. I thought that the rabies theory was interesting but the evidence for it was even less than convincing.

Walsh tracks Poe for the whole week before he died, minute by minute. And that's both the strength and the weakness of the book. Going back and forth over that week and all the possible scenarios minute by minute means that the investigation is very thorough (Gil would be proud) but, by the end, I was glad it was over.
… (more)
LibraryThing member R0BIN
I got caught up in this investigation into the death of Edgar Allan Poe and enjoyed reading it but I would be careful about recommending this book to someone else. I only know about two people who would be interested enough to read this. It was pretty dry reading. This author is seriously detail oriented.

Because of all that detail, I also feel that I would like to agree with the author's conclusions. The other theories that Poe's death came as a direct result of either alcohol or drugs, diabetic coma or epilepsy seemed either too easy or too unlikely. I thought that the rabies theory was interesting but the evidence for it was even less than convincing.

Walsh tracks Poe for the whole week before he died, minute by minute. And that's both the strength and the weakness of the book. Going back and forth over that week and all the possible scenarios minute by minute means that the investigation is very thorough (Gil would be proud) but, by the end, I was glad it was over.
… (more)

Language

Barcode

4885
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