She was expecting him. He was starting a new life.
And she just opened the paper and it said, Mr. Poe has recently died in Baltimore. So -- and remember this is before tele -- all of this. So letters were very important. HAYDEN And so when he describes -- the physician describes what happened, he really gives you a sense that this mystery will go on. This might -- could be a little gruesome I'm guessing. This, again, we're talking with Carla Hayden, who's the CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library and a board member of Poe Baltimore, with this terrific book, she's going to read us what the physician wrote after Poe's death in HAYDEN "When brought to the hospital, he was unconscious of his condition, who brought him or with whom he had been associating.
He remained in this condition from five o'clock in the afternoon until three the next morning.
To this state, succeeded tremor of the limbs and, at first, a busy, but not violent or active delirium. Constant talking and vacant converse was spectral and imaginary objects on the wall. His face was pale and his whole person drenched in perspiration. We were unable to induce tranquility before the second day. He told me that he had a wife in Richmond -- which I had since learned was not the fact -- that he did not know when he had left that city or what had become of his trunk of clothing. HAYDEN "And so wishing to rally and sustain his now fast-sinking hopes, I told him, I hoped, that in a few days he'd be able to enjoy the society of his friends here.
And I would be most happy to contribute in any possible way to his ease and comfort. At this, he broke out with much energy and said, the best thing his best friend could do would be to blow out his brains with a pistol. That when he beheld his degradation, he was ready to sink in the earth.
I don't know how many doctors write letters like that nowadays. And I didn't know what -- I guess you'd call it cooping -- is this So this is, in addition to having the Halloween tie-in, it's sort of an election-day tie-in. So, please illuminate us. And this idea that, for three days, Poe was supposedly taken to different parts of the city and being used as what they called a repeater -- someone who would vote in different wards.
And they would change the person's clothing so that they could do it. Because when Poe was found, he was in clothing that was not his usual meticulous clothing. So that really was of a concern to people who knew him, because he was usually so distinctive. HAYDEN And so this thing of cooping is that you would have someone dress up and go and vote in about three or four wards. And that possibly Poe was given much more to drink than he usually had or given some type of hallucinogenic so that he could be used and trotted around Baltimore to coop -- fly the chicken coop. HAYDEN I think that would be a wonderful thing to see and which wards he actually -- and what the vote count might have been in those wards.
I'm Christina Bellantoni sitting in for Kojo. And we'll be right back. And we're talking about the local life and legacy of Edgar Allan Poe just a few days before Halloween here. So our listeners might have noticed the normal peppy Kojo intro music was preceded by a very particular ominous thumping beat. That was the "Tell-Tale Heart. HAYDEN Well, when you read it, and it's a very short story, the "Tell-Tale Heart," and it starts with a person who is convinced that an old man who has one false eye is looking at him.
And he spies on the man and very cautiously looks. And every time he looks in the room the man's eye -- this false eye is looking at him or this eye. And finally he kills the man, the old man. And the police come and different things happen. HAYDEN And as he's sitting there answering questions from the police, let's go, everything's okay, he starts to hear this thump, thump. And he's convinced because the police are talking about lunch or something else, they can't hear it but he can hear it and he knows it.
And things keep going and it just -- he's hearing it and he's like, when will it stop? Oh, this horrible. And the police are just -- and he's trying to tell this convincing story that, oh, I don't know what happened to the old guy. He's under the floorboards. So the guilt and everything, just this thumping that you could just hear. But it really gets that central question of guilt. And school children read this and grow up thinking, oh, better always tell the truth. And also when you think about his stories, that sometimes you don't really witness in a story the death or the horror, it's in the person's mind, the imagination.
And sometimes that can be even more cruel and horrifying than something you're looking directly into. And there's going to be a Vincent Price film that's going to be on the big screen this Halloween. So let's take a listen now to Vincent Price reciting the opening stanzas of "The Raven. Eagerly I wished the morrow, vainly I had sought to borrow, from my books surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the lost Lenore, for the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels called Lenore, nameless here for evermore.
VINCENT PRICE And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain thrilled me, filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before, So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating "Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door, some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door, this it is, and nothing more.
On our website, kojoshow. And just this profound sense of loneliness. You can imagine some dark and dreary night in your own house feeling and hearing a noise and wondering what was happening. Now you can tell us, is "The Raven" your favorite or do you have some other favorites? Join our conversation at Send a tweet to kojoshow or email kojo wamu. You know, what have you really seen as his works at this rich literature continuing on? HAYDEN Well, what we talked about and mentioned Sherlock Holmes and the idea of a crafty person -- think of Agatha Christy and Miss Marple, and of course the Belgian -- the spiffy Belgian with the mustache and all of the great investigators and detectives.
And this idea -- and writers like Josephine Tate sp? The locked room syndrome that you have, everyone there and who actually committed the murder or the daring deed or the terrible deed. HAYDEN And this building of suspense is definitely something that Edgar Allan Poe brought into the literature and made sure that other people thought this idea of ending that doesn't quite go with what you've been led to believe all the way to the end and keeps you reading because you want to know who done it. It's that whole thing of who done it is his greatest legacy I believe.
Now we have Liza on from Baltimore, Md. Hi, Liza. LIZA Hi. I'm so glad to be speaking with you. I'm Liza Luens sp? I'm so delighted Carla is singing our praises because in fact we've been opened to the public now since Memorial Day. And one of the things that I wanted to share, because you're talking about Halloween, and so many people were asking whether we were going to be open for Halloween.
And from until on Saturday and Sunday, that's November 1 and November 2, anyone who comes dressed as a recognizable Poe character will be let into the museum for free. So they can't just put on like a little kind of John Waters type mustache. Poe would have to recognize the character. But we're really excited about that event and we're welcoming people to bring any offerings for an alter that we're going to have outside as well.
Carla Hayden was very excited when she hears you're calling. Liza, could you just -- oh, I don't know if she's still there. And so, for example, two weekends ago we had two separate parties from Germany, from Turkey, from Korea, from Brazil.
Find a copy online
It's kind of a common thing that people really kind of come to the Poe House. So every Saturday and Sunday from am until pm we're open to the public. We charge a very small admission. And then people come in. They're able to see the house. We have very knowledgeable volunteers who are there as kind of docents that can share about Edgar Allen Poe and his history in Baltimore. LIZA And what's such a treat is that what really happens is it's almost like a rolling cocktail party without cocktails.
And the people come and talk about what they know about Poe and share it. So it's really been a treat for the public. And we have special events, that we just finished a whole series of October Wednesday lunchtime October events throughout the City of Baltimore that was funded through the Baltimore Office of Promotion in the Arts where we had a variety of performers, Sharee Winert sp? Thank you so much, Liza. And we've got all of this information at kojoshow.
Why don't you give us also your website so people can find that. The easiest way to do that would be to actually Google Poe Baltimore Facebook because otherwise in Facebook it's a little harder to find. We have a distinctive yellow and black logo. So we really welcome everyone to the museum. We'll be open until the end of the year December 28 and we will close seasonally and open again in the spring.
But we welcome everyone to come.
Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy
And I'm so excited to hear you. And thank you, Carla, for sharing what you're sharing today. I hope I'll see you at our board meeting soon. And we've been pushing Poe in Baltimore as his personal connection. And I think it might be time to yield a little bit to Richmond. I actually -- I have to use the transition of discussion about beat boxing to play a very interesting rendition of "Mr.
I first heard this in Nebraska, of all places. Here we go. We got some laughs in here. And joining us now in studio is Chris Semtner. He's the curator of the Poe Museum in Richmond, Va. Thanks so much for joining us. Thanks for having me. Great to be here. So we've been talking about all Baltimore's claims to Poe, but certainly Richmond has a lot of him as well. Poe's Pub is one of my favorite restaurants down there, but there's so much history in Richmond.
Tell us a little bit about his life there and how he's tied to Richmond, Va. He wrote a letter where he famously referred to himself as a Virginian. And he was orphaned there at the age of two. He grew up in Richmond with foster parents, John and Francis Allan who gave him Allan as a middle name.
It was in Richmond that he began his career in journalism that really shaped the rest of his life. He first fell in love there. He was married there. His sister lived there during all of his lifetime. He was engaged with her at the time of her death and her house is still standing on Church Hill. The burial sites of his mother, his foster parents are all still there. The house where he gave his last reading of "The Raven" is still standing there. And of course the Poe Museum. For Halloween we're having Poe Goes to the Movies.
And Vincent Price's daughter will be in town. And then the day after Halloween, November 1, Vincent Price was a big foodie. So he even wrote a cookbook. We're having Vincent Price-inspired foods inspired by his cookbook prepared by different chefs in town from Can-Cans and the Berkeley Hotel. So there'll be a wine tasting and you'll be able to sample different -- Vince Price's favorite foods. All these links are up at kojoshow.
And of course join our conversation. Tell us what Poe has meant to you if you studied it in school. Give us a call at One thing that's interesting and some of your favorites works, Chris, are actually not the spooky works. So he was really a literary first critic and wrote many other works. Some of his best-selling novels had nothing to do with scaring people. So tell us a little bit about that. He wrote that to be appreciated you must be read.
They're not going to appreciate your work unless they read it. And he really wanted to stand out from the crowd. And part of that was writing book reviews. It just tore apart the northern writers. And another part of it was creating a persona about himself. He -- we actually have an autobiographical memo in our museum where he came up with fansical tales about him fighting the Greek wars of independence and going to St. Petersburg, Russia. And it really drew attention to him. SEMTNER But another way that attracted this attention was by writing totally new things like inventing the detective story and pioneering science fiction and of course the horror stories.
And he wrote about 70 short stories. And only about 15 of them were horror stories. So there were a lot more comedies and satires. Thank you very much for joining us.
Thank you very much for taking my call. And my question is, I have read Edgar Allan Poe short stories, you know, years ago. And I enjoyed most of his short stories and the topic or the issue that he raised and then, you know, tried to convey to the readers. But my question is, I remember his short stories are not -- are a little bit different.
And then he called them short, short stories. And that was a new genre during that time. And then I would like your guests to comment on the difference between short stories and short, short stories and basically in relation to Edgar Allan Poe's works. And thank you very much for Chris Semtner of the Poe Museum in Richmond, do you have some thoughts on that? He grew up loving poetry and wanting to write poetry. His hero growing up was Lord Byron. So today you might idolize a basketball star or a rock star, but he idolized Lord Byron, the man who was mad, bad and dangerous to know.
And he published three books of poetry before he even published his first short story. So he found out later that these didn't pay the bills. But he started entering his short stories in contests and found out he won a big contest for his adventure story "Manuscript Found in a Bottle. And that segued into him getting a job at the Southern Literary Messenger. And before then a lot of writers thought short stories should be used to edify or to enlighten or to give you a moral example.
But Poe thought that the idea of poetry should have a single unified emotional impact on the reader, that the poem should be beautiful for its own sake, that art exists for art's sake and is really ahead of its time. So he thought with his stories he should build them up so that every element leads up to that emotional impact he's trying to get. You just have to make sure it springs at just the right time and all the parts work together. So you see it really effectively in the "Tell-Tale Heart. You don't even know the names of the characters because it's not important.
You don't even know if the narrator's a male or female because that's not what's important to him. He's just trying to get that emotional impact that just rises to the end with that confession. Tear up the planks here, here, here to the beating of his heart. It's still spooky even not hearing the words.
It's not something that you'd expect, right? A piece of hack work he did. He was -- early in his career he had moved to New York and the magazine he was going to work there failed. He had written one novel but "The Conchologist's First Book" was just a deal he'd made with a professional conchologist who wanted a cheaper version of his own book to sell at lectures. And his publishers wouldn't allow him to do that.
So there was more of a market, they thought, for seashells than there was for the tales, the grotesque and arabesque. So Richmond lays claim to him, Baltimore lays claim to him, Philadelphia, Boston obviously. And I was -- what really intrigued by the Vincent Price wine aspect and the wonderful things you have in Richmond. But it shows his influence and enduring influence that the cities that he spent the most time in or had the most emotional attachment to really claimed him.
And I think that if you are a Poe aficionado to actually be on this side of the United States, you could go to Richmond in one day, go up to Baltimore, all of that and have quite a day. He moved around. His works are read everywhere. So we really consider Poe's home to be anywhere his works are read.
His works are read in Paris, France. He was a big hit over there even during his lifetime. So everywhere you go as long as you're reading Poe's works, you're keeping his memory alive. And that's where he is at that time. He's the first one who really changed the face of world literature.
Before him there were popular writers in Europe like Washington Irving, but Poe's the first one who invented new literary genres, who came up with this idea of art for art's sake who really changed the way we thought about art and literature. Elizabeth Hardwick. Peter Ackroyd. Herman Melville. The Portable Henry James. The Black Cat. A Man of Letters. The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg. Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Edgar Allen Poe. Ian Walker. Arnold Bennett. Philosophy of Composition Annotated. Kevin J. Richard Francis Burton.
My Life as Author and Editor. Shelley Costa Bloomfield. The Technique of the Mystery Story. Carolyn Wells. George Iles. Books and Persons. Edgar Poe and his Critics. Sarah Helen Whitman. James M.
Edgar Allan Poe Analyzes Handwriting. Martin Scofield. A Book Of Prefaces. The Marketing of Edgar Allan Poe. Jonathan Hartmann. The Tell-Tale Heart. Study Guide Poe's Short Stories.
Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy - AbeBooks - Jeffrey Meyers:
Carla Aira. A History of American Literature Since Fred Lewis Pattee. Amy Lowell Anew. Carl Rollyson. The Letters of William James, Vol. William James. Joan Joyner. Cambridge Neighbors from Literary Friends and Acquaintance. William Dean Howells. Samuel Greene Wheeler Benjamin. Purloined Letter Annotated. William Faulkner. John Bassett. Garrets and Pretenders. Paul Buhle. Mary McCarthy's Theatre Chronicles, — Mary McCarthy. John C. Reading Henry James. George Monteiro.
Edgar Allan Poe in Context. Edgar Allan Poe's obsession with human mind. Anna Broda. The Raven Illustrated and Annotated. Roger Gard. Gary Clemons. Great Writers on the Art of Fiction. James Daley. Thou Art the Man Annotated. The Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe. Scott Peeples. My Mark Twain. Carl Van Doren. Frederick Anderson.
A Small Boy and Others. The Author's Craft. Charles Dickens's American Audience. Robert McParland. Hearts of Darkness.