Audible Original Explores Life, Literature, and Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe
October 2020: Just in time for Halloween, Mark’s new Audible Original, Edgar Allan Poe: Master of Horror, is out this month. In this series of lectures, each about 30-40 minutes long, Mark shares insights into many of Poe’s famous tales and poems, including “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Raven,” and “Annabel Lee.” He also surveys Poe’s fascinating life, from his troubled youth to the poverty and losses he experienced as an adult to his mysterious death in Baltimore at the age of 40. One lecture focuses on Poe’s brain, which seems to have undermined the man even while it was creating brilliant literature. The final lecture traces Poe’s pervasive legacy, including his impact on other authors, musicians, and painters, as well as pop culture and more. A summary appears below.
Edgar Allan Poe: Master of Horror
To some of his fellow writers, he was merely “the jingle-man” or “two-fifths sheer fudge.” To others, he was a genius—or even something greater. (The French poet Charles Baudelaire wrote of actually praying to him.) Today, he continues to puzzle, dazzle, excite, and exasperate experts and lay readers alike, whether they consider him a genius, a madman, or both. Who was Edgar Allan Poe, and what is it about the man and his work that makes for this bizarre mixture of fascination and derision? In this series, we will explore both Poe’s tortured life—filled with loss, poverty, neglect, and self-destruction—and his breathtaking work, from the symbolism of “The Tell-Tale Heart” to the surrealism of “The Pit and the Pendulum,” from to the rhythms of “The Raven” to the crazy complexity of his detective fiction, and beyond. Finally, I will draw on my own research to take us inside Poe’s brain, where an apparently extraordinary right cerebral hemisphere provided him with a peculiar passage to our own minds.