20 January 2010

Blame it on the raven

The mysterious visitor who leaves roses and cognac at Edgar Allen Poe's grave on his birthday failed to show last night for the first time in 60 years. (What, Elizabeth, were you busy?) On the bright side, one of the few dozen people who came out to see the so-called "Poe toaster" could be ready to assume the mantle.

The article notes that Poe died in Baltimore at 40 "after collapsing in a tavern," which may be true but is kind of disrespectful. I mean, did they have to point out it was a tavern? His death is further complicated by the fact that his rival Rufus Griswold wrote a lot of posthumous biographical material on him that played up his bad behavior. The University of Maryland re-opened Poe's hospital file in the '90s and, noting that he did not have alcohol in his system when admitted, concluded that he might have had rabies.

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