Email all work for the course to me at

Zoom link

All page references are to Hayes' The Annotated Poe.

Two Discussion Questions (DQs) and Three BIG WORDS are due every Sunday and Tuesday by 5:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

When you are preparing to co-lead class discussion, create a google doc with your partner and share it with me so I can add my thoughts.  

"At these words a vague and half-formed conception of the meaning of Dupin flitted over my mind. I seemed to be upon the verge of comprehension, without power to comprehend--as men, at times, find themselves upon the brink of remembrance, without being able, in the end, to remember."

--Edgar Poe, "The Murders of the Rue Morgue"

"Es läßt sich nicht lesen."

--Edgar Poe, "The Man of the Crowd"

Google translate

Jennifer West on Ed Ruscha STAINS, 1969

Ed Ruscha: Buildings and Words

Ed Ruscha on Marcel Duchamp

If you sometimes feel melancholic, sometimes joyous, sometimes anxious; if you love words, word play, and the sounds words can make (the musicality of language); if you like to make up words (neologisms) if you like to read stories, especially detective mysteries, enigmatic ghost and horror stories, and sad poems; if there is something you what to understand about the world and you don't quite know what it is; if you are reflective; if you have the patience to read closely and the stamina to keep doing it; if you are not particularly squeamish; if you care; if you have a sense of humor; if you don't mind reading really long sentences with numerous dependent clauses, all of which begin with the same word as this one does; if all this is the case, I say, you should be fine in this class. Some literature can be therapeutic. Use only under a doctor (of philosophy) 's supervision, however. FYI: Elizabeth Bishop, "One Art." Poems are good.

This will be a discussion class, not a lecture, and I will encourage you to befriend each other by meeting in small break out groups and by co-leading class.

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (Please expect minor adjustments to be made in the schedule from time to time; all changes will be announced both in class and on the class email listserv.)

Poe meant for his Tales to be read in one sitting. I recommend that you read each assigned Tale twice, perhaps in two sittings.

Poe Resources / Purposive Pedagogical Fragmentation (not the same thing as confusion)

August 31




Burt: Poe's "Raven"

YOUR FIRST ASSIGNMENT: DUE SEPTEMBER 1 by 5:00 PM: Send in one word document to me at (See below)


Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” Read by Christopher Walken, Vincent Price & Christopher Lee

"The Raven" (Poetry Foundation) read by James Earl Jones without music and with music and rainstorm.

"The Raven" (Poetry Foundation) read by Christopher Lee without music or sound effects and with music

“The Raven,” read by Christopher Walken with sound effects and music gradually introduced.



Send all three parts in one word document as an attachment to me at Don't forget to put your name in the upper left corner.

Part 1. One Discussion Question (DQ) on the film The Raven (dir. James McTeigue, 2011) (Click on the blue link. You'll have to rent the film)

Part 2. One DQ on Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven" (Annotated Poe version)

Part 3. Three BIG WORDS Poe uses in "The Raven"

DUE September 1 by 5:00 PM: Send all three parts in one word document to me as an attachment at Don't forget to put your name in the upper left corner. Email all future work for the course to me at

September 2 Good Mourning to Poe, or Poe's Invitation and Resistance to (Auto)Biographical Criticism (including most kinds of psychoanalytic criticism) The writer is not to be confused with the person (hagiography or ad hominem).

Required Reading and Viewing:

1. Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven" (Kevin Hayes, ed. The Annotated Poe, pp 374-84)

2. The Raven (dir. James McTeigue, 2011) You'll have to borrow or rent the film if you can't find it streaming for free. :(

Recommended Reading and Viewing:

The Raven (1935) Trailer

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” Read by Christopher Walken, Vincent Price & Christopher Lee

"The Raven (Poetry Foundation)"




Part 1. One Discussion Question (DQs) on “The Philosophy of Composition” / Hayes, pp. 113-31 / facsimile pdf and Three BIG WORDS that Poe uses. (Please look them up and copy the words and their definitions in your word document.)

Part 2. Your Transcription of The Simpsons' abridgment of "The Raven" from Season 2 Episode 3: Treehouse of Horror  Cut and paste "The Raven (Poetry Foundation)" into a word document. Put your name in the upper left corner of the document and save it. With your word document open, listen to the Simpsons' "The Raven" and (a) transcribe all additional dialogue and (b) strike through all lines from the "The Raven" that the Simpsons writer of the abridgement cut. You will need this transcription in order to write your first paper.

Please put both items in the same document and put your name in the upper left corner. Email the document to me as an attachment at

September 4 (We will work in small groups for part of this class.)

One Required Reading and One Required Viewing (Write one DQ on “The Philosophy of Composition” (1846) and one on The Simpsons' abridgment of "The Raven" and three BIG WORDs) (Please look the words up and copy the words and their definitions into your word document.):

1. Edgar Allan Poe, “The Philosophy of Composition” (1846), p. 113-31 / facsimile. (Consider it as Poe's reading of his poem ""The Raven (Poetry Foundation)." Can we take Poe's account at face value? Or is he playing us?)

2. Your Transcription of The Simpsons' adaptation of "The Raven" from Season 2 Episode 3: Treehouse of Horror by Edgar Allen Poe Read by James Earl Jones. You will need this transcription in order to write your first paper.

Recommended Reading:

"The Raven (Poetry Foundation)"

The Raven. With literary and historical commentary by John H. Ingram (in French, Latin,and French translation as well "Fabrications" and "Parodies" too)

Charles Dickens to Edgar Allan Poe — March 6, 1842

Joseph N. Riddel, "The 'Crypt' of Edgar Poe," boundary 2 Vol. 7, No. 3, Revisions of the Anglo-American Tradition: Part 2 (Spring, 1979), pp. 117-144

Jodey Castricano, "The First Partition: Without the Door," in Cryptomimesis: The Gothic and Jacques Derrida's Ghost Writing ( (2001, pp. 5-30)

Shawn Rosenheim,  "The King of `Secret Readers': Edgar Poe, Cryptography, and the Origins of the Detective Story," ELH, January 1989, (pp. 375-400).

Laurent Milesi, Towards a Cryptanalysis: Genealogies of ‘Lit-Crypts’ from Poe to the ‘Posts’

Louis A. Renza, ‘Poe's Secret Autobiography,’ in The American Renaissance Reconsidered,
Ed. Walter Benn Michaels and Donald E. Pease (1985), esp. pp. 61-69

September 7


FIRST PAPER DUE September, 12 by 11:59 p.m. (PAPER TOPICS)


DUE Tuesday September 8 by 5:00 p.m: One DQ on "Manuscript Found in a Bottle" and one DQ on Kevin J. Hayes' "Introduction" to The Annotated Poe and three BIG WORDS Poe uses (look them up and copy the words and their definitions in your word document). Email all work for the course to me at

You can read Kevin J. Hayes' "Introduction" to The Annotated Poe ?for free online.  The entire introduction is included in the preview. Here's on to find the "Introduction."  Go to this link: Click on the "look inside" feature next to the book cover on your left.  When the preview opens click on "first pages."  You will be directed the "Metzengerstein," the first tale in the book. But if you scroll up, you'll see page 22 of the Introduction.  Just keep scrolling up until you get to page one.  And then start reading. :). 

If you don't have one of the required books, you can read "Manuscript Found in a Bottle"

here. You will also find Poe's stories and novel on this website (click). You can find lots of online versions of Poe's tales and poems by googling "Poe" and the title. This is the first edition (posthumously published) of Poe's works: The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe (1850)  by Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Rufus Wilmot Griswold


September 9

2 REQUIRED READINGS (Write one DQ on each reading and three BIG WORDs in total.)

1. Edgar Allan Poe and Kevin J. Hayes, Ed. "Introduction," The Annotated Poe, 3-21.

2. Poe, "Manuscript Found in a Bottle," pp. 36-48 (All page references are to The Annotated Poe.)

Recommended Reading:

An introduction to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Revised version of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Alfred Lord Tennyson, "The Kraken"

Kevin Hayes, "Appendix: First Printings, Reprints, and Translations Published During Poe's Lifetime," The Annotated Poe, 397-402.

Due Thursday September 10 by 5:00 p.m: Three DQs total: One DQ on each tale we'll discuss September 11 and three BIG WORDS Poe uses. Email all work for the course to me at


September 11 Poe's Plagues: Covid-19

3 REQUIRED READINGS (Write one DQ on each reading, three BIG WORDs in total.)

1 "The Masque of the Red Death," pp. 233-30 (All page references are to Hayes' The Annotated Poe.)

2. "Hopfrog," pp. 359-69

3. "King Pest the First" (I have linked this story because it is included in The Annotated Poe.)


FIRST PAPER DUE September, 12 by 11:59 p.m. (PAPER TOPICS)


5 Hours of Edgar Allan Poe Stories Read by Vincent Price & Basil Rathbone

Poe, "The Masque of the Red Death" Read by Basil Rathbone

Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Wedding Knell,” inTwice-Told Tales (1837)

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Legends of the Province House, etc. : being second series of Twice-told tales

PBS Documentary Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive (2016)

The Seventh Seal (dir. Ingmar Bergman,1957)

Percentage by which streaming of the film Contagion in mid-March exceeded the previous four-week average 3,000

Jill Lepore, "What our contagion fables are really about," New Yorker 03, 30, 2020

Your Quarantine Reader Fearing the worst? Writers have been doing that for centuries. Here are the best pandemic novels from Edgar Allan Poe to Stephen King

The Masque of Red Death (dir. Roger Corman, 1964) Roger Corman film trailer

FIRST PAPER DUE September, 12 by 11:59 p.m. (PAPER TOPICS)

LIVE GRADING Office Hours: M W F 10:35-11:15, and by appointment.

DIfFERnENt Assignment.! Due September 13 (See below.)

FYI: Jerome McGann reads selected poems by Edgar Allan Poe

DUE September 13: DIfFERnENt Assignment. One DQ on any two of the three assigned poems (your choice) and 50 words arguing which of the three poems is the best and why you think so (using the texts only as your evidence).


September 14: PoesCrypt 1. Down in the Crypt, or Po' Poe


1. "Ulalame, A Ballad," pp. 385-89 (All page references are to Hayes' The Annotated Poe.)

Just fyi; Jeff Buckley * Ulalume

2. "Annabel Lee," pp. 393-95; just fyi "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe (read by Basil Rathbone)

3. "Lenore" (cf. "The Raven"); just fyi Lenore - Edgar Allan Poe


Poe, "To Helen"; recording

Poe, "Eulalie"

BBC Documentary

Edgar Allan Poe Love Death and Women (2010)

Kennedy, J. Gerald. "Poe, 'Ligeia', and the Problem of Dying Women" collected in New Essays on Poe's Major Tales, edited by Kenneth Silverman. Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Floyd Stovall, "THE WOMEN OF POE'S POEMS AND TALES," Studies in English No. 5 (October 8, 1925), pp. 197-209

Jerome McGann reads selected poems by Edgar Allan Poe

Jerome McGann introduction to Poe Alien Angel


DIfFERnENt Assignment.! Due September 14 (See below.)

DUE September 15: DIfFERnENt Assignment. (Write 3 DQs, one on each reading, plus 3 Big Words; and 50 words on which of the three tales is the best. :)

September 16 Poe's Corpse Brides

How to pronounce - Ligeia

How to Pronounce Ligeia

3 REQUIRED READINGs: (Write 3 DQs in total, one on each reading, plus 3 Big Words; and we'll discuss your 50 words on which of the three tales is the best.)

"Ligeia," 65-82

"Berenice," pp. 49-58

"Morella," pp. 59-64


Poe: "The Conqueror Worm" (read by Vincent Price)

"The Assignation"


The Tomb / Edgar Allan Poe's Ligeia (2009) | Official Trailer

Tomb Of Ligeia

September 18: Nothing Required

Poe Is Cancelled. Po/E/Mo/TiOn

The Northern Southern Gothic: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Chapter 42 "An Authentic Ghost Story"

Sentimentalism and Domestic Fiction

Sensationalist Novel / Gothic Novel / Sensibility / Poe's detectives as Romantic heroes of sensibility

Robert Montgomery Bird, Sheppard Lee,Written By Himself Vol. 1 

Sheppard Lee, Written by Himself. Vol. 2 (of 2)

"Sheppard Lee is an identity thief. . . . Poe would have preferred an essentially constant narrative focus, a consciousness continually and con-sistently present to itself (and to Bird’s readers), from whose stable perspective the wide variety of social circumstances and events depicted in the novel would be perceived—circum-stances and events that, it might be, would slowly have an im- pact upon that consciousness. Such a protagonist might look different (because he changed bodies), and therefore pass as someone else in the eyes of others, but would retain a secure sense of self-identity nevertheless. Bird, however, dramatized another, quite different possibility: that identity would be nearly lost from one reincarnation to the next. 

This seems, finally, to be Bird’s rather pointed agenda: to put his readers on notice that, in these fraught times of national struggle over slavery, and in the face of intractable political dilemmas, he could give no affordance for moralistic complacency of any sort." Christopher Looby, "Introduction," Sheppard Lee Written by Himself

Edgar Allan Poe (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Review of Sheppard Lee,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. IX: Literary Criticism - part 02 (1902), pp. 126-139

Maurice S. Lee, "Absolute Poe: His System of Transcendental Racism," American Literature, Volume 75, Number 4, December 2003, pp. 751-781, see pp. 758-763

Historicist criticism of Poe's works always turns out to be psychological criticism of Poe the man, often retelling Poe's story as a story about Poe. It's another kind of kind of nonreading of Poe's "unreadable" works that the works themselves may elicit or even solicit.

T. S. Eliot, "From Poe to Valéry," The Hudson Review, Autumn, 1949, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Autumn, 1949), pp. 327-342

Poe, "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains"


September 21

Poescryption .2: Opening the Crypt

ONE REQUIRED READING AND ONE VIEWING (Write one DQs and three BIG WORDS on the reading and one on the film.)

1. "The Fall of the House of Usher," pp. 95-116.

2. The Fall of the House of Usher (dir. Jan Svankmajer, 1980)


Leo Spitzer, "A Reinterpretation of "The Fall of the House of Usher"

"The Fall of the House of Usher" read by Basil Rathbone

The Haunted Palace (read by Basil Rathbone)

Edgar Poe, The Fall of the Usher Comic Book

The Fall of the House of Usher (dir. Jean Epstein, 1928)

Histoires extraordinaires (dir. Jean Faurez, 1949)

The Fall of the House of Usher - 1950

The House of Usher - Vincent Price (1960) - Official Traile

The Fall of the House of Usher (1979) Classics Illustrated film series

The House of Usher (dir. Hayley Cloake, 2006)

USHER (Chris Harrington, 2002, 38 mins.)

The Fall of the House of Usher animated with subtitles Edgar Allan Poe Read by Christopher Lee (2015)

Edgar Allan Poe, “The Fall of the House of Usher.” In Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine. Philadelphia: William E. Burton, September 1839. 


September 23


Poe, "William Wilson," pp. 117-37


Edgar Allan Poe (ed. T. O. Mabbott) WILLIAM WILSON

Washington Irving, An Unwritten Drama of Lord Byron

Edgar Allan Poe to Washington Irving — October 12, 1839 (LTR-083a)


William Wilson is adapted in this film:

Spirits of the Dead is available on the Criterion Channel, linked below.

"Federico Fellini, Louis Malle, and Roger Vadim each direct a tale from Edgar Allan Poe in this haunting anthology film."

Metzengerstein is adapted by Roger Vadim as well. "Never Bet the Devil Your Head" is adapted by Fellini and retitled "Toby Dammit."

Poe's first published Tale, Metzengerstein

September 25


Poe, "A Descent into the Maelström," pp. 210--28


Philip Glass: Descent Into the Maelstrom

Joseph Glanvill, Witchcraft, and Seventeenth-Century Science

The Journal Of Julius Rodman

"The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall


September 28

1 REQUIRED Viewing and 3 REQUIRED READINGs (Write four DQs in total, one on each of the four numbered below):

1. Poe, "The Pit and the Pendulum," pp. 241-58

2. Poe,"The Cask of Amontillado," pp. 350-58

3. Poe, "The Premature Burial"

4. Poe, The Pendulumthe Pit and Hope (dir. Jan Švankmajer, 1983)


Edgar Allan Poe - The Pit and the Pendulum with subtitles (Read by Christopher Lee)

The Cask of Amontillado with subtitles - Edgar Allan Poe (Read by Christopher Lee)

The Cask of Amontillado (Edgar Allan Poe) PBS

Auguste, comte de Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, “The Torture by Hope,” in Cruel Tales (1883)

In French "La Torture par l'espérance"

Tebb, William; Vollum, Edward Perry Premature burial, and how it may be prevented, with special reference to trance catalepsy, and other forms of suspended animation (1905)

September 30

Poe, "The Imp of the Perverse" / Poe, "The Imp of the Perverse" (read by Vincent Price) (part essay, part tale; call back to the "evil moment" in "Berniece")

October 2


"I'm Not Dead Yet" Paris Review 2016


Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Bottle Imp"

Classics Illustrated -116- The Bottle Imp (1954)

Jan Bondeson, Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear (2002) 

The Premature Burial (1962) - Official Trailer

The POV coffin scene in Vampyr (dir. Carl Dreyer, 1932)

Poe's sources for "The Pit and the Pendulum":

Anecdote towards the Spanish Inquisition Literary Gazette 1820

Ireland, W. H., The Abbess: A Romance (1799)

Critical Introduction to The Abbess By Benjamin Frankin Fisher, IV to 1974 edition


October 5 Poescryption / POE .2: Narrator Kills It

3 REQUIRED READINGs (Write 3 DQs in total)

1. Poe, “The Black Cat," pp. 306-17

2. Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart," 259-65

3. Christopher Benfey, "Poe and the Unreadable: “The Black Cat" and “The Tell-Tale Heart," pp. 29-37


Edgar Allan Poe, “Instinct vs Reason — a Black Cat” [Text-02], Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, vol. 4, no. 5, January 29, 1840, p. 2, cols. 6-7

"Cryptoanalysis" in Robert Regan, "Hawthorne's "Plagiary"; Poe's Duplicity, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Dec., 1970, Vol. 25, No. 3 (Dec., 1970), pp. 281-298.

Laurent Milesi, "Towards a Cryptanalysis: Genealogies of ‘Lit-Crypts’ from Poe to the ‘Posts’" Parallax Volume 15, 2009 - Issue 1: inscr(i/y)ptions

Christopher Lee reads The Tell-Tale Heart Tales of Mystery & Horror by Edgar Allan Poe

The Tell Tale Heart - 1953 narrated by James Mason

The Tell-Tale Heart (dir. Ernest Morris, 1960)

Iggy Pop, "The Tell-Tale Heart"

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart” Read by Bela Lugosi (1946)

Stefan Andriopoulos, "Chapter 3, "Ghost Narratives and the Gothic Novel: Print Culture and Reading Addiction," in Ghostly ApparitionsGerman Idealism, the Gothic Novel, and Optical Media, pp. 73-104


October 7


DIfFERnENt Assignment.!

Write 1 DQ on similarities between The Imp of the Perverse and The Tell-Tale Heart; and write one DQ on similarities between The Imp of the Perverse and The Black Cat.

1. Poe, “The Black Cat," pp. 306-17

2. Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart," 259-65

Poe, "The Imp of the Perverse" / Poe, "The Imp of the Perverse" (read by Vincent Price) (part essay, part tale; call back to the "evil moment" in "Berniece")

3. Christopher Benfey, "Poe and the Unreadable: “The Black Cat" and “The Tell-Tale Heart," pp. 37-43.


October 9 Nothing required, but read these these short pieces anyway:

1. BY THE LATE EDGAR A. POE, The Poetic Principle (1850)


Edgar Allan Poe, ''The Tell-Tale Heart,'' in: The Pioneer. A Literary and Critical Magazine. Vol. I, No. 1. Edited by J. R. Lowell and R. Carter. Boston: Leland and Whiting, January 1843. 

The Tell-Tale Heart in The Broadway Journal 1845-08-23: Vol 2 Iss 7

The Best Versions Of Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart

The Black Cat - Diamanda Galás

The Black Cat (1941)

The Black Cat (dir. Lucio Fulci, 1981)


October 12 Poencryption "Es läßt sich nicht lesen." Google translate


Poe, "The Man of the Crowd," pp. 163-74


Baudelaire on the flaneur

October 14


Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Wakefield" (Poe loved it.)

Recommended READINGs

Edward Bulwer Lytton's novel, EUGENE ARAM A TALE (1832)

Poe's review of Lytton's novel.

Bran Nicol, "Reading and Not Reading 'The Man of the Crowd': Poe, the City, and the Gothic Text," Philological Quarterly, 91 (3) (Summer, 2012): 465-93.

Stephen Rachman, “Reading Cities: Devotional Seeing in the Nineteenth Century,” ALH 9 (Winter 1997), pp. 653- 675

Charles Dickens (and Poe's Man of the Crowd), "The Streets—Morning, The Streets—Night, Shops and their Tenants, Meditations in Monmouth-Street, and Gin-Shops," in Sketches from Boz

Sketches by Boz "The Drunkard's Death"

October 16 POE-unctuation! (and predictive text)


John Neal, "To Byron" The Portico [Baltimore] 4 (July-August 1817) ,149-50.

Lord Byron, "Manfred" / / Modern Critical Edition

Lord Byron, "Darkness"

Jane Stabler, "The Dashes in Manfred"


Read Poe on the dash in "Marginalia," Essays and Reviews, ed. G. R. Thompson (New York: Library of 

America, 1984), p. 1425-26. This is the text with the part Benfey quotes on the dash as a second thought or emendation. Poe mentions John Neal, linked above. You'll have to adjust the size of p. 1425 in the pd5. Zoom In several times. Sorry.

Skim Poe's  “The Philosophy of Composition” / Hayes, pp. 113-31 / facsimile pdf and focus just on Poe's use of dashes. to interrupt himself

Skim “The Black Cat," pp. 306-17 and “The Tell-Tale Heart," 259-65 and find the parts where Poe uses lots of dashes for dramatic effect.

Read these excerpts from two book reviews Poe wrote:

Review Excerpt 1:

Our hero himself was born, we are told, on the borders of the Thames, not far from Greenwich. When a well grown lad he accompanies his father to the continent. In Florence he falls in love with a Countess in her thirty-fifth year, who curls his hair and gives him sugar-plums. The issue of the adventure with the Countess is thus told.

 “You have chosen them with much taste,” said the Countess; “a beautiful flower is this!” she continued, selecting one from among the number, “its vermillion is in your cheeks, its blue in your eyes, and for this pretty compliment I deserve a — you resist eh! My pretty, pretty lad, I will! There! Another, and you may go free. Still perverse? Oh, you stubborn boy! How can you refuse? One — two — three! I shall devour you with kisses!” 

* * * * * 

* * * * * 

We have printed the passage precisely as we find it in the book-notes of admiration-dashes-Italics and all. Two rows of stars wind up the matter, and stand for the catastrophe — for we hear no more of the Countess. Now if any person over curious should demand why Morris Mattson, Esq. has mistaken notes of admiration for sense-dashes, kisses, stars and Italics for sentiment — the answer is very simple indeed. The author of Vivian Grey made the same mistake before him. 

Indeed we have made up our minds to forward Ben D’Israeli a copy of Paul Ulric. He will read it, and if he do not expire upon the spot, it will do him more real service than the crutch. Never was there a more laugh able burlesque of any man’s manner. Had Mr. Mattson only intended it as a burlesque we would have called him a clever fellow. But unfortunately this is not the case. No jackdaw was ever more soberly serious in fancying herself a peacock, than our author in thinking himself D’Israeli the second.

--Poe, Paul Ulric: Or the Adventures of an Enthusiast. New York: Published by Harper &Brothers.

Paul Ulric: Or, The Adventures of an Enthusiast, Volume 1. Front Cover. Morris Mattson. Harper & Brothers, 1835.

Review Excerpt 2:

With the exception of now and then a careless, or inadvertent expression, such for instance, as the word venturesome instead of adventurous, no fault whatever can be found with Mr. Kennedy’s style. It varies gracefully and readily with the nature of his subject, never sinking, even in the low comedy of some parts of the book, into the insipid or the vulgar; and often, very often rising into the energetic and sublime. Its general character, as indeed the general character of all that we have seen from the same pen, is a certain unpretending simplicity, nervous, forcible, and altogether devoid of affectation. This is a style of writing above all others to be desired, and above all others difficult of attainment. Nor is it to be supposed that by simplicity we imply a rejection of ornament, or of a proper use of those advantages afforded by metaphorical illustration. A style professing to disclaim such advantages would be anything but simple — if indeed we might not be tempted to think it very silly. We have called the style of Mr. K. a style simple and forcible, and we have no hesitation in calling it, at the same time, richly figurative and poetical. We have opened the pages at random for an illustration of our meaning, and have no difficulty in finding one precisely suited to our purpose. Let us turn to vol. i. page 112. — ” The path of invasion is ever a difficult road when it leads against a united people. You mistake both the disposition and the means of these republicans. They have bold partizans in the field, and eloquent leaders in their senates. The nature of the strife sorts well with their quick and earnest tempers; and by this man’s play of war we breed up soldiers who delight in the game. Rebellion has long since marched beyond the middle ground, and has no thought of retreat. What was at first the mere overflow of popular passion has been hardened into principle — like a fiery stream of lava which first rolls in a flood, and then turns into stone.” 

While we are upon the subject of style, we might as well say a word or two in regard to punctuation. It seems to us that the volumes before us are singularly deficient in this respect — and yet we noticed no fault of this nature in Swallow Barn. How can we reconcile these matters? Whom are we to blame in this particular, the author, or the printer? It cannot be said that the point is one of no importance — it is of very great importance. A slovenly punctuation will mar, in a greater or less degree, the brightest paragraph ever penned; and we are certain that those who have paid the most attention to this matter, will not think us hypercritical in what we say. A too frequent use of the dash is the besetting sin of the volumes now before us. It is lugged in upon all occasions, and invariably introduced where it has no business whatever. Even the end of a sentence is not sacred from its intrusion. Now there is no portion of a printer’s fount, which can, if properly disposed, give more of strength and energy to a sentence than this same dash; and, for this very reason, there is none which can more effectually, if improperly [column 2:] arranged, disturb and distort the meaning of every thing with which it comes in contact. But not to speak of such disturbance or distortion, a fine taste will intuitively avoid, even in trifles, all that is unnecessary or superfluous, and bring nothing into use without an object or an end. We do not wish to dwell upon this thing, or to make it of more consequence than necessary. We will merely adduce an example of the punctuation to which we have alluded. Vide page 138, vol. i. “Will no lapse of time wear away this abhorred image from your memory? — Are you madly bent on bringing down misery on your head? — I do not speak of my own suffering. — Will you forever nurse a hopeless attachment for a man whom, it must be apparent to yourself, you can never meet again? — Whom, if the perils of the field, the avenging bullet of some loyal subject, do not bring him merited punishment, — the halter may reward, or, in his most fortunate destiny, disgrace, poverty, and shame pursue: — Are you forever to love that man?” — 

Would not the above paragraph read equally as well thus: “Will no lapse of time wear away this abhorred image from your memory? Are you madly bent on bringing down misery on your head? I do not speak of my own suffering. Will you forever nurse a hopeless attachment for a man whom, it must be apparent to yourself, you can never meet again — whom, if the perils of the field, the avenging bullet of some loyal subject, do not bring him merited punishment, the halter may reward, or, in his more fortunate destiny, disgrace, poverty and shame pursue? Are you forever to love that man?”

--Poe,HORSE-SHOE ROBINSON; A Tale of the Tory Ascendency. By the Author of’ Swallow Barn. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Blanchard.

John Pendleton Kennedy, Horse-Shoe Robinson, A Tale of the Tory Ascendency 1860

Recommended READINGs

BY THE LATE EDGAR A. POE, The Poetic Principle (1850)


--Poe "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether"

--Poe, Second Review of Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Twice-Told Tales A Review by Edgar Allan Poe Graham's Magazine, April, 1842 [as reprinted in pages 568-9 of Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews, The Library of America, 1984]

Edgar Allan Poe, "Mellonta Tauta" (1849)

October 19 Decryption 3. Cryptograms, Ciphers, Cryptography


Poe, "The Gold Bug," first part, pp. 267-89. This part stops at the end of this paragraph: "When at length, we had conclded our examination, the and the intense excitement of the time . . . . . a full detail of all the circumstances connected with it."

Recommended Reading:

Frederick Douglass, "The Heroic Slave"


Morse Code 

Kevin McLauglin, "Distraction in America: Paper, Money, Poe," in Paperwork: Fiction and Mass Mediacy in the Paper Age, 29-49; 128-35.

Louis J. Budd, Edwin Harrison Cady, Ed. On Poe

JODEY CASTRICANO, "The First Partition: Without the Door," Cryptomimesis: The Gothic and Jacques Derrida's Ghost Writing (2001), 5-30

Edgar Allan Poe’s Contributions to Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, (1943)

J. Gerald Kennedy, Romancing the Shadow: Poe and Race (There are some literal-minded or essays in this collection. I find many of the readings of Poe's Tales to be unpersuasive.)

William F. Friedman, "Edgar Allan Poe, Cryptographer" American Literature Vol. 8, No. 3 (Nov., 1936), pp. 266-280

Terence Whalen, "The Code for Gold: Edgar Allan Poe and Cryptography," Representations, No. 46 (Spring, 1994), pp. 35-57


A satire of paper money and "Gold Humbug":

October 21


Poe, "The Goldbug," second part, pp. 290-305 It begins: “You remember,” said he, “the night when I . . . "

October 23

The Gold Bug Classics Illustrated



Kevin McLauglin, "Distraction in America: Paper, Money, Poe," in Paperwork: Fiction and Mass Mediacy in the Paper Age, 29-49; 128-35.

Marc Shell, "The Gold Bug," in Money, Language, and ThoughtLiterary and Philosophic Economies from the Medieval to the Modern Era (1993)

Shawn Rosenheim,  "The King of `Secret Readers': Edgar Poe, Cryptography, and the Origins of the Detective Story," ELH, January 1989, (pp. 375-400).

Shawn Rosenheim, The Cryptographic Imagination: Secret Writings From Edgar Allan Poe to the Internet (1997)

W. K. Wimsatt, Jr. "What Poe Knew about Cryptography"

Poe, "Introduction," or the narrative frame of Poe's prose poem Eureka

Alexander Pope's Epistle to Bathurst

Sir Arhtur Conan Doyle, "The Adventure of the Dancing Men"

Sir Arhtur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: "The Dancing Men" (indebted to Poe's "The Gold Bug")

Classics Illustrated 15 Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin TV adaptation (1987)

"from that hour, your face seemed to be daguerreotyped on my memory."

Frederick Douglass, "The Heroic Slave"

October 26


Poe, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, pp. 175-86

"Dupin" rhymes with "Fin" ("the end") in French. "Dupin" sounds like "Dupon."


How to say 'orangutan' in French?

How to say orang-outang

Mrs. Gore (Catherine Grace Frances) "The Scrap-Stall" and "An Oddity of the Seventeenth-Century" in The Abbey: And Other Tales, Volumes 1-2

Sheridan Le Fanu, Passage In The Secret History Of An Irish Countess (apparently, the first locked room mystery)

Ernst Bloch, "A Philosophical View of the Detective Novel," Discourse Vol. 2, MASS CULTURE ISSUE (Summer, 1980), pp. 32-52. Also here.

Jorge Luis Borges,"The Detective Story" in On Writing


Unlocking the Crypt: Poe and Detective Fiction .4

October 28


Poe, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, pp. 186-209

October 30

DIfFERnENt ASSIGNMENT (Dividing up the narrative structure and close reading.)

Required if you can:

Louis A. Renza, ‘Poe's Secret Autobiography,’ in The American Renaissance Reconsidered,
Ed. Walter Benn Michaels and Donald E. Pease (1985), esp. pp. 61-69


The Murders in the Rue Morgue Facsimile of the Ms.

Edgar Allan Poe, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” [Text-01], “Johnston” manuscript, early 1841

Edgar Allan Poe, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” [Text-02], Graham’s Magazine (Philadelphia, PA), vol. XVIII, no. 4, April 1841, pp. 166-179

Kevin McL]auglin, "Distraction in America: Paper, Money, Poe," in Paperwork: Fiction and Mass Mediacy in the Paper Age, 29-49; 128-35.

Double Indemnity (1944) 720p

Double Indemnity novel

Recommended Reading and Viewing:

Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Musgrave Ritual" (1893)

Murders in the Rue Morgue (dir. Robert Florey, 1932)

Poe, “Maelzel's Chess Player”

W. K. Wimsatt, Jr., "Poe and the Chess Automaton" American Literature, May, 1939, Vol. 11, No. 2 (May, 1939), pp. 138-151

John T. Irwin, "Reading Poe's Mind: Politics, Mathematics, and the Association of Ideas in The Murders in the Rue Morgue" American Literary History, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Summer, 1992), pp. 187-206

Murders in the Rue Morgue (dir. Robert Florey, 1932)

Gaston Leroux, The Mystery of the Yellow Room Extraordinary Adventures of Joseph Rouletabille, Reporter,1908 locked room genre; cf. Murders in the Rue Morgue

Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, p. 20

Tzvetan Todorov, "The Typology of Detective Fiction," in The Poetics of Prose, trans. Richard Howard (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1977), 45

Poe, "An Acrostic," "Enigma," "A Valentine to," and "An Enigma."

November 2


Poe, "The Purloined Letter," pp. 318-36

November 4


Poe, "The Purloined Letter," pp. 318-36

November 6


E.T.A. HOFFMANN, "My Cousin's Window" (It anticipates "The Man of the Crowd" and is a good example of what Poe's contemporaries meant when faulted him for his "Germanism." It is also a capitivating and enthralling read. An earlier translation may be found here: E.T.A. Hoffman's, "My Cousin's Window" pp. 337-41.

Poe's Metzengerstein is a good example of Poe's "Germanism."


Walter Benjamin, "Some Motifs on Baudelaire," on Poe's Man of the Crowd,

Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet" in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Jacques Lacan and Jeffrey Mehlman, "Seminar on 'The Purloined Letter'" Yale French Studies No. 48, French Freud: Structural Studies in Psychoanalysis (1972), pp. 39-72

Jacques Derrida, "The Purveyor of Truth," Yale French Studies, 1975, No. 52, Graphesis: Perspectives in Literature and Philosophy (1975), pp. 31-113

Barbara Johnson, "The Frame of Reference: Poe, Lacan, Derrida," Yale French Studies, 1977, No. 55/56, Literature and Psychoanalysis. The Question of Reading: Otherwise (1977), pp. 457-505

John T. Irwin, American Hieroglyphics, pp. 3-6; pp. 23-57

John T. Irwin, "Mysteries We Reread, Mysteries of Rereading: Poe, Borges, and the Analytic Detective Story," MLN Vol. 101, No. 5, Comparative Literature (Dec., 1986), pp. 1168-1215

James Rosenheim and Stephen Rachman Shawn, Ed. The American Face of Edgar Allan Poe (1995)

Emron Esplin, "Borges’ Philosophy of Poe’s Composition," Comparative Literature Studies, Volume 50, Number 3, 2013, pp. 458-489

MAURICE J. BENNETT, The Detective Fiction of Poe and Juan Luis Borges, "Ibn Hakkan Al-Bokhari - Dead In His Labyrinth" (1970)

Poe, The Bells


November 9


Juan Luis Borges, "Death and the Compass" (Borges' version of Poe's PL, according to John Irrwin,The Mystery to a Solution)


November 11



DUE THURSDAY, November 12 by 5:00 p.m.: 2 DQs and 3 BIG WORDS

November 13


Juan Luis Borges, "Garden of the Forking Paths" (Borges' version of Poe's MofMR, according to John Irwin,The Mystery to a Solution)


Ibn Hakkan Al-Bokhari Dead in his Labyrinth (Poe's version of MintRM, according to John Irwin,The Mystery to a Solution)

Maurice J. Bennett, "The Detective Fiction of Poe and Borges," Comparative Literature Vol. 35, No. 3 (Summer, 1983), pp. 262-275

Jonathan Auberbach, "Poe's Other Double: The Reader in the Fiction," Criticism 24 (Fall 1982): 341-61





November 16 Poe-tiques .6: The French Reception Poe's Crypts


Poe, "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar," pp. 337-50


Adaptations of "The Black Cat" and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" in Two Eyes (dir. Dario Argento and George Romero, 1990)

Guy de Maupassant, "Night: A Bad Dream"

Roland Barthes, "Textual Analysis of Poe's Valdemar"

Jacques Derrida, "The Deaths of Roland Barthes."

Basil Rathbone reads Poe: The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

Guy de Maupassant, "Was It a Dream?" pp. 545-49


November 18


Poe, "The Balloon Hoax"


Robert Locke, "The Great Moon Hoax

István Kornél Vida, "The "Great Moon Hoax" of 1835," Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Spring-Fall, 2012), pp. 431-441

Poe, "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" (1835)

Poe, "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains"

Poe, "Mesmeric Revelation"

November 20



November 23 P.S. Poe's Re-inscryption .7 Ante-Bellum Poe (reactionary and racist--according to John Carlos Rowe)


The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, pp. 3-79 in the Oxford World's Classics Edition (preface to chapter IX)


A Posible Source for Poe's Pym

Porter, William Ogilvie; Porter, Jane, ed. Sir Edward Seaward's Narrative of his Shipwreck, and Consequent Discovery of Certain Islands in the Caribbean Sea 1831

Edgar Allan Poe, Vol.1 THE IMAGINARY VOYAGES. Edited by Burton R. Pollin.

Poe Pym Preface as Satire

Digital Facsimile:

“Arthur Gordon Pym, No. I.”  

Southern Literary Messenger; Devoted to Every Department of Literature and the Fine Arts. [Volume 3, Issue 1, Jan 1837; pp. 13-16]

Diplomatic Transcription:

Digital Facsimile:

Arthur Gordon Pym, Part II Southern Literary Messenger; devoted to every department of literature and the fine arts. [Volume 3, Issue 2, Feb 1837; pp. 109-116]

Digital Transcription:

Notes to 1902 James A. Harrison's 1902 Complete Works edition

VARIATIONS in the text

Edgar Allan Poe, “South Sea Expedition,” Southern Literary Messenger, Vol. III, no. 1, January 1837, 3:68-72

J. V. RIDGELY AND IOLA S. HAVERSTICK, "Chartless Voyage: The Many Narratives
of Arthur Gordon Pym"

Benjamin Morrell, A Narrative of Four Voyages To the South Sea, North and South Pacific Ocean, Chinese Sea, Ethiopic and Southern Atlantic Ocean, Indian and Antarctic Ocean (1832)

Captain Marryat, The Phantom Ship (1839)

November 25

Thanksgiving Break


November 27

Thanksgiving Break

Over this break, read The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, pp. 79-178 in the Oxford World's Classics Edition (Chapter X to the end, including the "Note.")




The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, pp. 79-125 in the Oxford World's Classics Edition (Chapters X to XVII)


Lisa Gitelman, "Arthur Gordon Pym and the Novel Narrative of Edgar Allan Poe"

Ki Yoon Jang, Edgar Allan Poe and the Author-Fiction: "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket," Texas Studies in Literature and Language, Vol. 52, No. 4 (WINTER 2010), pp. 355-380

Richard Kopley, ed. Poe's Pym: Critical Explorations (1992)

Andrew Horn, "'But to Return From This Digression. . .': The Functions of Excursus in Edgar Allan Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym" Communiqué, 11 (1986), 7–22.

Barton Levi St. Armand, "'Seemingly Intuitive Leaps': Belief and Unbelief in Eureka," in Poe as Literary Cosmologer: Studies on Eureka, A Symposium, ed. Richard P. Benton (Hartford, Conn., 1977)





December 7

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, pp. 125-78 in the Oxford World's Classics Edition (Chapter XXVII to the end, including the "Note.")


December 9


Poe's Eureka: A Prose Poem / Digital Facsimile



















To produce the final decoded message, I corrected these errors, reversed the words (which had been spelled backwards) and added appropriate spacing and punctuation: The soul secure in her existence smiles at the drawn dagger and defies its point. The stars shall fade away, the sun himself grow dim with age and nature sink in years, but thou shaltflourish in immortal youth, unhurt amid the war of elements, the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds. As far as I have been able to determine, this is the first time that the crypto- graph has been solved, so the message constitutes what is essentially a new Poe 43

The theme (the soul versus the wreck of matter) also appears in "The Con- versation of Eiros and Charmion," "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar," and Eureka, adding further evidence to the case for Poe's authorship

The theme (the soul versus the wreck of matter) also appears in "The Con- versation of Eiros and Charmion," "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar," and Eureka, adding further evidence to the case for Poe's authorship

What Ostrom does not report is that Virginia often wrote back. On one occasion she even sent him a valentine containing her own experiment with secret writing, an acrostic poem that spells out Poe's full name with the initial letters of each line.22

22. The valentine poem is dated 14 February 1846; for a facsimile see Josephine Poe January, "Edgar Allan Poe's 'Child Wife,"' Century Magazine, new series 56 (1909): 894-96. Poe also composed a number of acrostic poems, including "Elizabeth," "An
Acrostic," "Enigma," "A Valentine to ," and "An Enigma.

Poe, "An Acrostic," "Enigma," "A Valentine to," and "An Enigma."

"A Few Words on Secret Writing," Graham's Magazine, July 1841; reprinted in Works, 14:114-49. Between July and December 1841, Poe wrote four articles on cryptography for Graham's; the entire series is reprinted (with errors discussed below) in See The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. James A. Harrison, 17 vols. (New York, 1902; 1965), 17:61.

TERENCE WHALEN, Edgar Allan Poe and the Masses: The Political Economy of Literature in Antebellum America(1999)

Poe and Mrs. Whitman in The Century Magazine v.77 1908-09.

Michael Williams, "'The language of the cipher': Interpretation in 'The Gold-Bug,"' American Literature 53 (1982): 653.

4 "Reductive and Expansive Language: Semantic Strategies in Eureka," Poe Studies, II (1978), I-2. See also John Carlos Rowe, "Writing and Truth in Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym," Glyph: Johns Hopkins Textual Studies, 2 (I977), I02-2I.

5 "Gold in the Bug," trans. Frank Towne, Poe Studies, 9 (x976), 36. Another valuable analysis of the tale is Barton Levi St. Armand's more traditional study, "Poe's Sober Mystification: The Uses of Alchemy in 'The Gold-Bug,'" Poe Studies, 4 (I97I), 1-7.


Classics Illustrated -064- Treasure Island

John A. Hodgson, "Decoding Poe? Poe, W. B. Tyler, and Cryptography" The Journal of English and Germanic PhilologyVol. 92, No. 4 (Oct., 1993), pp. 523-534 

Poe, Chapter on American Cribbage

Poe's review of Barnaby Rudge focuses on the detective-story plot

Poe, review of Charles Dickens, Sketzches by Boz / focuses on B / lack Veils and Poe's review of The Pickwick Papers fouses on Ms by a Madman

Poe's "Man of the Crowd" and Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz, "The Street"--"Morning--"Night"--"Shops and their Tenants"--"Meditations on Monmouth Street"--"Gin Shops," 69-74, 74-80, 80-84, 213-20

Marc Shell, paper-gold-and-art-as-representation-and-exchange


Edgar Allan Poe (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Review of Posthumous Memoirs of His Own Time,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. IX: Literary Criticism - part 02 (1902), 9:174-184

Giorgio Agamben_Bartleby, on Contingency

John T. Irwin, "Beating the Boss: Cain's "Double Indemnity"" American Literary History Vol. 14, No. 2 (Summer, 2002), pp. 255-283

N. Tom o' logical studies. The great tumble bug of Missouri, bent-on rollin his ball
Published by H.R. Robinson, 1837.

 Hugh S. ManonSome like It Cold: Fetishism in Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity" Cinema JournalVol. 44, No. 4 (Summer, 2005), pp. 18-43 

Edgar Allan Poe and music

Henry James, The Art of Fiction

Horacio Silvestre Quiroga Forteza

"Stonehearst Asylum, previously known as Eliza Graves, is an American Gothic film directed by Brad Anderson and written by Joseph Gangemi. It is loosely based on the 1845 short story "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" by Edgar Allan Poe."


Mat Johnson, Pym: A Novel

This will be a discussion class, not a lecture, and I will encourage you to befriend each other by meeting in small break out groups and by co-leading class.

I may ask you to do things no professor has ever asked you to do, like read a poem closely.

This course will not be recorded. Teaching is like theater. When the performance is over, it's gone. Only more or less reliable memories are left. And this website.

Two Discussion Questions and three BIG WORDs or a DIfFERnENt Assignment are almost always due Sundays and Tuesdays by 5:00 p.m. Usually, nothing is due on Thursdays. On Fridays, we will REZOOM our discussion. I have posted due dates for the the first few classes but I will no longer give due dates for DQs, etc. after September 11. You'll know the drill by then.


The Cask of Amontillado comic 

The Oblong Box

Please have your camera and audio turned on during class. If they are not on, expect to hear me calling on you.

General questions about literature and the arts: "WHY" did the writer do it this way? "HOW" did the writer do it? And "WHAT"did the writer do? This last question is the most important of the three.


Graham's Magazine Vol XXXIV No. 5 May 1849

LA MUSIQUE,” says Marmontel, in those “Contes Moraux” which in all our translations, we have insisted upon calling “Moral Tales,” as if in mockery of their spirit—“la musique est le seul des talents qui jouissent de lui-meme; tous les autres veulent des temoins.”

"A poem, in my opinion, is opposed to a work of science by having, for its immediate object, pleasure, not truth; to romance, by having, for its object, an indefinite instead of a definite pleasure, being a poem only so far as this object is attained; romance presenting perceptible images with definite, poetry with indefinite sensations, to which end music is an essential, since the comprehension of sweet sound is our most indefinite conception. Music, when combined with a pleasurable idea, is poetry; music, without the idea, is simply music; the idea, wi thout the music, is prose, from its very definitiveness.


William Wordsworth, Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1802)

Peter Bell (Wordsworth)

Poe and the wounded, infirm, paralyzed, disabled body, dying body, and the living dead body.


A glossary of terms used in Grecian, Roman, Italian, and Gothic architecture
by Parker, John Henry, 1806-1884; Wordsworth, William, 1770-1850.

Al Aaraaf” in, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems (1829), pp. 13-38

"Israfel"; "The Doomed City"; Preface "Letter to Mr ---B" in Poems by Edgar A. Poe (1831)

Poe stories

English: Poe Vocabulary

Poe, Phrenology

Poe stories concerned with phrenology:

“The Fall of the House of Usher” 

"The Imp of the Perverse"

Madeleine B. Stern, Poe: "The Mental Temperament" for Phrenologists," American Literature May, 1968, Vol. 40, No. 2 (May, 1968), pp. 155-163

Chapter IV


Edward Hungerford, "Poe and Phrenology," American Literature, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Nov., 1930), pp. 209-231 

Edgar A. Poe , "Phrenology and Physiognomy"

L. Miles, Johann Gaspar Spurzheim, Franz Joseph Gall

Phrenology and the moral influence of phrenology: arranged ... from the ...Carey, Lea and Blanchard, 1835

 The Domain of Arnheim

Detail of 'The Domain of Arnheim' by Rene Magritte

Go to domain-of-arnheim for the story and the painting

Poe, "The Domain of Arnheim"

Errol Morris on "The Domain of Arnheim"

The Domain Of Arnheim 1962 by Rene Magritte

"The Lighthouse" Poe's last story

Charles Baudelaire's essay on Poe's life and works. Histoires extraordinaires. Traduites de Charles Baudelaire


Poe Bibliography (Anthomous Collection Tales of the Grotesque and Arabsque) (Posthumous Tales of Mystery and Imagination--several different editions with different tables of contents).

Poe Biography (Charles Griswold)

Life and letters of Edgar Allan Poe by Harrison, James Albert, 1903 New York, T. Y. Crowell & co

Poe, Edgar Allan, Tales of Mystery and Imagination London : J. M. Dent & sons, ltd.; New York, E. P. Dutton & co., inc. [1938]

Edgar Allan Poe, Tales Issue 1 1845

"The Case of M. Valdemar"

Sidney E. Lind, "Poe and Mesmerism"
PMLA Vol. 62, No. 4 (Dec., 1947), pp. 1077-1094

Poe dedicated Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque to the anonymous author.

A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

Poe Collections: Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840)

No complete edition of Poe's collected works has ever been published.

--Poe, Tamberlane and Other Poems

"Poe’s is the shakiest of all large American reputations, and yet, if I remember rightly a statement of Malcolm Cowley’s, there have been more studies of him than of any other native writer. There is, as Whitman said, an “indescribable magnetism” about Poe’s much romanticized life, and that would be part of the explanation. It is also true that Poe is an important point in any brief for Southern letters, that his supposed morbidity has attracted many diagnosticians of psychic and cultural sickness, and that some critics have been annoyed into writing about Poe by a desire to comprehend or explain away his high standing abroad. Finally, and on the whole recently, a number of people have attempted direct literary analysis of Poe, moved by a sense that there is more to him than obsession, mystification, and—as Yeats put it of “The Pit and the Pendulum”—“an appeal to the nerves by tawdry physical affrightments.”

Richard Wilbur, "The Poe Mystery Case," New York Review of Books, July 13, 1967

Precarious relation to the canon "Introduction: Beyond the 'Problem of Poe'" The American Face of Poe

Harsh criticism of Poe's poetry by Ralph Waldo Emerson and T.S. Eliot.

Jerome McGann introduction to Poe Alien Angel

Poe's more famous writings as children's literature

Poe's literary reviews as "hatchet jobs" and "biting" satires.

Introduction to Poe Selected Tales(Penguin)

Poelarizing: Poe as underestimated (Rufus Wilmot Griswold; W.K. Wimsatt,  "Poe and the Chess Automaton" ) and Poe as overestimated.Poe's Failures as Successes.

Lois Davis Vines, Poe Abroad: Influence, Reputation, Affinities (2002)

Guy de Maupassant, "Night: A Bad Dream"

Obligatory Note of Hope

What Is There to Love About Longfellow? | The New Yorker June 1, 2020

Kubin, Alfred The Other Side; a Fantastic Novel

"Introduction" and Stanley Cavell, "Being Odd, Getting Even (Descartes, Emerson, Poe)" in

The American Face of Edgar Allan Poe Ed. Shawn Rosenheim and  Stephen Rachman (1995), pp. 3-36

Jerome McGann, The Poet Edgar Allan Poe: Alien Angel

Jerome McGann reads selected poems by Edgar Allan Poe


On Poe edited by Louis J. Budd and Edwin H. Cady. Durham: Duke University Press, 1993 PS2638 .O5 1993 

Henri Justin, "The Paradoxes of Poe's Reception in France," The Edgar Allan Poe Review , Spring 2010, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 2010), pp. 79-92

Murders in the Rue Morgue Official Trailer #1(dir. GORDON HESSLER, 1971)

M.P. Shiel: The Yellow Danger - 1898

Jerome McGann reads selected poems by Edgar Allan Poe

Berenice (dir. Eric Rohmer, 1954)

Berenice - Edgar Allan Poe (horror film) Vincent Price reading / Price reading (with music )

The Life and Works of Edgar Allan PoeA Psycho-analytic Interpretation

Feverish Precursors:

Charles Brockden Brown, Arthur Mervyn: Or, Memoirs of the Year 1793, Volume 1

Charles Brocken Brown, Wieland (1799)

Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year

Gothic Novel and Romanticism (Coleridge)

"Poe's Meta / Physics" in Universes without Us

After Poe / Poe's Reception

Jean Ray, Malpertuis (novel and film adaptation)

De Maupassant Le Horla; The Hand

Sheridan Le Fanu, Camille

Poescrypts schedule

Juan Louis Borges, "Kafka and His Precursors"

Edgar Allen Poe, Van Kempeln and Hs Discovery
"Maelzel's Chess Player" (1836) is an essay by Edgar Allan Poe

Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque  (1840)

The Oblong Box

Eureka: A Prose Poem the narrative frame.

Sir Walter Scott, “On the Supernatural in Fictitious Composition; and particularly on the works of Ernest Theodore William Hoffmann” First published in  Foreign Quarterly Review  vol. 1, no. 1 (1827): 60-98.


There is a very life in our despair,
Vitality of poison, -- a quick root
Which feeds these deadly branches; for it were 300
As nothing did we die; but Life will suit
Itself to Sorrow's most detested fruit,
Like to the apples on the Dead Sea's shore,
All ashes to the taste: Did man compute
Existence by enjoyment, and count o'er
Such hours 'gainst years of life, -- say, would he name threescore?

Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto III [excerpt]

Bonaparte, Marie, Princess, The life and works of Edgar Allan Poe : a psycho-analytic interpretation

From Beyond the Grave

It Follows

A glossary of terms used in Grecian, Roman, Italian, and Gothic architecture
by Parker, John Henry, 1806-1884; Wordsworth, William, 1770-1850. sgn; Fenwick, Isabella. ins; Reed, Henry. sgn; Wordsworth Collection

Al Aaraaf” in, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems (1829), pp. 13-38

"Israfel"; "The Doomed City"; Preface "Letter to Mr ---B" in Poems by Edgar A. POE 1831

"The Adventures of One Hans Pfall"


Jacques Derrida, "De Tout"

Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Speckled Band"

Poe, "The Oval Portrait"

Schalcken the Painter film and short story

Freud, "The 'Uncanny'"

Guy De Maupassant, The Hand

Herman Melville, Bartleby the Scrivener

H. P. Lovecraft, The Mountains of Madness

Carole Shaffer-Koros, "Edgar Allan Poe and Eugene Sue: A Fraught Authorial Relationship" The Edgar Allan Poe Review, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Autumn 2018), pp. 192-205

Eugene Sue, Mysteries of Paris (Proletarian Literature)

Prosper Mérimée, "La Vénus d'Ille"

Robert Louis Steven "The Bottle Imp"

Filmmakers read. A lot. Watch this interview with Werner Herzog.


Direct Knowledge (Information; myth) vs. Oblique Knowledge ([Deniable] Analogy; Philosophy and Literature)

Loop Narrative / Thematic Structure (Visualizing, Spatializing works of art that can only be experienced in linear time.)

Ludovico Einaudi, "Elegy for the Artic" (stops one note short of beginning over)

James Joyce, Finnegans Wake

The Searchers (dir. John Ford, 1956) doorway shots opening and closing

All the President's Men, from typewriter to teletype

Invaders from Mars (film begins over)

Zodiac (dir. David Fincher) sound montage

Mr. Robot Season 2, Episode 6 m4ster-s1ave.aes (sit-com episode)

Classical music in contemporary films. See Liam Niesen dropped off at the train station in The Commuter (dir.
Jaume Collet-Serra, 2018)

Second movement of Beethoven's Ninth in the opening title sequence to Ready or Not (dir.
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin
Tyler Gillett, 2019) and Tchaikovsky's Overture of 1812 in the butler driving the car sequence.

Cross-cutting and Carly Jo Epsen, "Run Away with Me" in Mr Robot Season 4, espiode nine: 410 Gone Timestamp 39:02

'I write because I don't know what I think until I read."

--Eudora Welty

Corruption is Legal in America

"Talking of Hitchcock in the spaced-out fourth chapter, where the froth of film and music clips has largely subsided, Mr. Godard says ''we've forgotten why Joan Fontaine leans over the edge of the cliff and what it was that Joel McCrea was going to do in Holland,'' and so on, ''but we remember a handbag, but we remember a bus in the desert, but we remember a glass of milk.''"

''Histoire(s) du Cinema'' (dir. Jean-Luc Godard)

"In the United States, the 1033 Program transfers excess military equipment to civilian law enforcement agencies. The program legally requires the Department of Defense to make various items of equipment available to local law enforcement. The 1033 program was instituted per Bill Clinton's 1997 National Defense Authorization Act, though precedents to it existed following World War II."

Bach's Goldberg Variations, variation number 25 ("Crown of Thorns")

Rachel Podger - Rosary Sonata nr. 16 ‘The Guardian Angel’

Philip Glass Koyaanisqatsi (original version)

Vivaldi - La Stravaganza - 12 Concertos Op. 4 - I Musici - Felix Ayo - 1963

Vivaldi -?La Stravaganza?Op.4 / Violin Concerto No. 4 in a minor, RV 357 3rd mov (Rachel Podger

Antonio Vivaldi - La Stravaganza | Rachel Podger


Rubber Bullets Are Anything but “Nonlethal.” They Should Be Banned.

"To observe attentively is to remember distinctly"

Keith Richards: "There's Two Sides to Every Story" (Part 1)

Keith Richards: "There's Two Sides to Every Story" (Part 2)

Neil Young Reveals the Secrets to Hit Records

The South vindicated from the treason and fanaticism of the northern abolitionistsPhiladelphia : H. Manly, 1836.

Flora Cash ? For Someone - [Official Music Video]

Reading Won't Make You a Better Person

A classic, you have to repeat to understand
time stamp around 23:00

Flora Cash For Someone - [Official Music Video]

Hiroshi Yoshimura ‎– Music For Nine Post Cards (Wave Notation 1) † [1982, full album]

La Pléiade : du courant littéraire à la prestigieuse bibliothèque

Robert Darnton, "What Is the History of Books?," Daedalus Vol. 111, No. 3, Representations and Realities (Summer, 1982), pp. 65-83 

Robert Darnton, The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future (2009)

Robert Darnton, "In Defense of the New York Public Library," June 7, 2102

Sheridan Le Fanu, "Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter" 1839

Schalcken the Painter  (BBC)

Joseph Mallord William Turner, "Hannibal Crossing the Alps"

"I would be glad enough if the book simply served to make people want to read Richardson and argue with my case."

Terry Eagleton, The Rape of Clarissa (1982), viii ("progressive?" [yes]; "feminist"; "genuinely subversive elements")

"Like Ulysses, the Wake has chapters that are marked off by page breaks and white space but that have no names or numbers. Critics have supplied numbers and names to make it easier to talk about the units. There are four large divisions, numbered I, II, III, and IV. Part I has eight chapters and Parts II and III each have four. Part IV has only one fairly short chapter. Thus, in its large division into parts, the book follows the 3 + 1 structure from Vico, and each of Books I-III also follows the structure, with I having two cycles and II and III one each."

Kevin Baker, "The Deep State of Dementia" From the September 2019 issue pdf


"Well, first of all, they're all psychopaths."

Mindhunter Season 1, Episode 3 (2017) Timestamp 4:42

The Art of Analogy:

The last three shots of North by Northwest (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1959) Timestamp 1:58

Sex scene on a subway late at night in Risky Business (dir. Paul Brickman, 1983)

Version and Variation:

Alas poor Yorick variations in versions of a film with the same title, namely, Hamlet.

Aesthetic Judgment:

"Insofar as the technique and the product lead us to dismiss the losers in the rankings, we are obviously using them to blind ourselves to the future possibilities of those losers and to the fact that hierarchies seldom remain un changed. In the other direction, however, I find it hard to imagine that many of the things that we care about-loving someone as opposed to some other one, preferring this critic to that, even choosing to read this book rather than that-would be possible without comparison. For it is hard to imagine judgments without comparison, as John Barrell suggested when he maintained that Western society since the eighteenth century had made evaluation-the perception of the value of this as opposed to that-the most common of common activities."

--Frances Ferguson

Repetition, AND the LIMITS of RESEMBLANCE: Imitation; Counterfeit; Homage; Caricature Parody; Satire

Conventions and Creativity

Here are two different versions of the same scene from two versions of the same film, namely, The Maltese Falcon. Which one is better? There is only one answer.

Two examples of the same convetion from two seasons of the same show. Which one is better? There is only one answer.


Mindhunter Season 1 Episode (dir. David Fincher, 2017)


Mindhunter Season 2 Episode 8 (dir. Carl Franklin, 2019) Time stamp 37:35

Shot Reverse Shot

Long take framed by standard shot reverse shot intro and exits:

Amazon Prime Patriot 1, Season 8 Episode

Synthesis and Sound Design

Cross cutting editing

and Opening Title Sequences

Mindhunter (2017; 2019)

Abridge the description below: Cut it down from 468 words to less than forty words:

Herman Melville, Chapter 42 "The Whiteness of the Whale," in Moby Dick.

Though in many natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances beauty, as if imparting some special virtue of its own, as in marbles, japonicas, and pearls; and though various nations have in some way recognised a certain royal preeminence in this hue; even the barbaric, grand old kings of Pegu placing the title “Lord of the White Elephants” above all their other magniloquent ascriptions of dominion; and the modern kings of Siam unfurling the same snow-white quadruped in the royal standard; and the Hanoverian flag bearing the one figure of a snow-white charger; and the great Austrian Empire, Caesarian, heir to overlording Rome, having for the imperial color the same imperial hue; and though this pre-eminence in it applies to the human race itself, giving the white man ideal mastership over every dusky tribe; and though, besides, all this, whiteness has been even made significant of gladness, for among the Romans a white stone marked a joyful day; and though in other mortal sympathies and symbolizings, this same hue is made the emblem of many touching, noble things- the innocence of brides, the benignity of age; though among the Red Men of America the giving of the white belt of wampum was the deepest pledge of honor; though in many climes, whiteness typifies the majesty of Justice in the ermine of the Judge, and contributes to the daily state of kings and queens drawn by milk-white steeds; though even in the higher mysteries of the most august religions it has been made the symbol of the divine spotlessness and power; by the Persian fire worshippers, the white forked flame being held the holiest on the altar; and in the Greek mythologies, Great Jove himself being made incarnate in a snow-white bull; and though to the noble Iroquois, the midwinter sacrifice of the sacred White Dog was by far the holiest festival of their theology, that spotless, faithful creature being held the purest envoy they could send to the Great Spirit with the annual tidings of their own fidelity; and though directly from the Latin word for white, all Christian priests derive the name of one part of their sacred vesture, the alb or tunic, worn beneath the cassock; and though among the holy pomps of the Romish faith, white is specially employed in the celebration of the Passion of our Lord; though in the Vision of St. John, white robes are given to the redeemed, and the four-and-twenty elders stand clothed in white before the great-white throne, and the Holy One that sitteth there white like wool; yet for all these accumulated associations, with whatever is sweet, and honorable, and sublime, there yet lurks an elusive something in the innermost idea of this hue, which strikes more of panic to the soul than that redness which affrights in blood.

Recommended Reading:

Cecelia Watson, "Blubber and Blather" in Semi-Colon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark (2019), pp. 125-37.

Three books on Short-writing 1659, 1674 & 1698

Bright, Timothie, 1550-1615, Characterie : an arte of shorte, swifte, and secrete writing by character

Adam Rounce, Authorship in the Eighteenth Century 

Technologies of Writing in the Age of Print

Writing Tables

Le Premier Baiser de l'Amour

Louise Curran, Letters, letter writing and epistolary novels 

Epistolae Ho-Elianae: the familiar letters of James Howell

Collins's legal training, and as he points out in his preamble: "the story here presented will be told by more than one pen, as the story of an offence against the laws is told in Court by more than one witness". 

Widow Wadman: ‘paint her to your own mind – as like your mistress as you can’

Before how to draw the Widow, what ideas did reject? Why did you reject them?

Paint Her to Your Own Mind 147 artists and writers were invited to ‘Paint Her to Your Own Mind’ and represent their idea of  ‘beauty’ on a blank page for exhibition and sale by auction.

Une page de Proust au hasard :  313 : Des rafraîchissements étaient servis sur une table

Louise Curran, Samuel Richardson and the Art of Letter-Writing

Jarrod Hurlbert, Pamela: Or, Virtue Reworded: The Texts, Paratexts, and Revisions that Redefine Samuel Richardson's Pamela

Leo Braudy, "Penetration and Impenetrability in Clarissa." In New Aspects of the Eighteenth Century: Essays from the English Institute. Ed. Philip Harth. New York: Columbia

Jim Springer Borck, "Composed in Tears: The 'Clarissa" Project'," Studies in the Novel; Fall 1995; 27, 3; pg. 341

William B. Warde, Jr., "Revisions of the Published Texts of Samuel Richardson's Preface to "Clarissa" The South Central Bulletin, Vol. 30, No. 4, Studies by Members of SCMLA (Winter, 1970), pp. 232-234

Ann Louise Kibbie, "The Estate, the Corpse, and the Letter: Posthumous Possession in "Clarissa,"
ELH, Vol. 74, No. 1 (Spring, 2007), pp. 117-143

JAMES BRYANT REEVES, "Posthumous Presence in Richardson's 'Clarissa'," Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Vol. 53, No. 3, Restoration and Eighteenth Century (SUMMER 2013), pp. 601-621

Jerome McGann, "What is a Critical Edition?," in The Textual Condition

Gerard Genette, Introduction to the Paratext, in Paratexts: Threshlds of Interpretation

M. Kinkead-Weekes, "Clarissa Restored?" The Review of English Studies, Vol. 10, No. 38 (May, 1959), pp. 156-171 Published by: Oxford University Press

The Clarissa Project. by Florian Stuber, Margaret Anne Doody and Jim Springer Borck (AMS, 1990)

To deal with the horrific events in some of the literature we will read, we will think about trauma in two ways, first as unspeakable and second as a story. Literature can be thought of as a therapeutic resource but not as a solution. It just raises questions.

Changing the Paradigm 2015 Developmental Trauma Panel | Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

A sad outcome:

Behind the Globe Article

Michel Foucault compared schools to prisons (not the same thing as the school to prison pipeline). it's up to you whether you think you are going to jail when you come to class or coming to join a prison riot in progress. I will be leading the riot.

ROGER-POL DROIT, Michel Foucault, on the Role of Prisons 
August 5, 1975

Btw, don't even think of going to graduate school to get a Ph.D in English--or any other kind of--literature.

ANDREW KAY," Academe's Extinction Event: Failure, Whiskey, 
and Professional Collapse at the MLA," May 10, 2019

"Back in the MLA

Stephen Marche, a survivor of academia, returns to a troubled field"

TLS, June 2019


Translations and Versions of Derrida's article / book. Missing paratexts, bibliographic note on the text, with mention of variants.

Derrida, "Before the Law" in Jacques Derrida (Author), Sandra Van Reenen (Translator) Before the Law: The Complete Text of Préjugés

Trans. by Avital Ronell

by Deceased Jacques Derrida (Author), Sandra Van Reenen (Translator) Before the Law: The Complete Text of Préjugés

September Derrida, "Before the Law" in Jacques Derrida (Author), Sandra Van Reenen (Translator) Before the Law: The Complete Text of Préjugés

September Derrida Versions of Derrida's essay / book referenced in Jacques Derrida (Author), Sandra Van Reenen (Translator) Before the Law: The Complete Text of Préjugés



"Bring me the Steak Au Poivre" --Orson Welles


"The Sceptics, the only honourable type of respect among the ever-so multiply ambiguous tribe of the philosophers!"

--Nietzsche, Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is

The one thing which we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves, to be surprised out of our propriety, to lose our sempiternal memory and to do something without knowing how or why; in short to draw a new circle. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. The way of life is wonderful; it is by abandonment. The great moments of history are the facilities of performance through the strength of ideas, as the works of genius and religion. "A man," said Oliver Cromwell, "never rises so high as when he knows not whither he is going." Dreams and drunkenness, the use of opium and alcohol are the semblance and counterfeit of this oracular genius, and hence their dangerous attraction for men. For the like reason they ask the aid of wild passions, as in gaming and war, to ape in some manner these flames and generosities of the heart.

--Ralph Waldo EmersonEssays, First Series

News on the March (formerly known as "Outburts") Could compare the Russian DVD set to the Criterion Collection edition (2019) blu-ray

Archives de Philosophie

Volume 82, 2019/2 

Judgment at risk

Leah Price, "Reading (and Not Reading) Richardson, 1756-1868," Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Volume 29, 2000, pp. 87-103.

Leah Price, "Sir Charles Grandison and the Executor's Hand," Eighteenth-Century Fiction 8 (April 1996): 329-42.

Cleanth Brooks, "The Heresy of Paraphrase," in The Well Wrought Urn (1947)

Letter-Writing Manuals Were the Self-Help Books of the 18th Century

Letters Written to and for Particular Friends by Samuel Richardson, 1741

DUE SEPTEMBER 30 (Instead of DQs, read the abstract below and then do assignment below it).




"There is a startling disproportion of scale between story and discourse in Clarissa, between the agonizing simplicity of the novel's plot and the agonized mass of writing that circles around it. Before publication (or in a phase of Clarissa's history that resembles earlier practices of scribal publication), the novel passed among at least a dozen readers in several separate transcriptions, one of which weighed in at thirty manuscript volumes. When Richardson finally went to press in 1747–8, he could limit the text to seven volumes only by switching to smaller type towards the close, and the slow schedule of serialization (which roughly matched the duration of the action) meant that it took the public a year to read the work. By the third edition of 1751, Clarissa had been swollen to eight volumes and three thousand pages by Richardson's decision to restore previously deleted passages, insert fresh text, and expand the apparatus to include an amplified preface and postscript, new explanatory footnotes, and two elaborate indexes. Readers of today most often encounter Clarissa in a volume built like a telephone directory (Angus Ross's Penguin edition of 1985, to which page-reference is made in this chapter), and it takes 12,763 kilobytes to accommodate the first and third editions in Chadwyck-Healey's website, Literature Online. As one of the leading printers of his day, and one whose writing creatively exploits the resources and technologies of his profession, Richardson would have relished this last innovation. Yet the immateriality of electronic text only points up by contrast the daring of Clarissa's original bulk in a culture overwhelmed (according to the Scriblerian analysis) by bales of paper and mass-produced print."

Tom Keymer, "Richardson, Clarissa" in A Companion to Literature from Milton to Blake, David Womersley (Editor)

Here is your assignment due September 17 by 5:00 p.m. in place of DQs and on pages of Clarissa: Find three moments in the assigned pages for September 18 (and quote them) that support Keymer's description of the novel: "There is a startling disproportion of scale between story and discourse in Clarissa, between the agonizing simplicity of the novel's plot and the agonized mass of writing that circles around it."

To understand how I have planned this course, please be sure to look at John Law, After Method: Mess in Social Science Research Routledge, 2004

PK Feyerabend, Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (1975) 

Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, "Scrips and Scribbles," MLN, Vol. 118, No. 3, German Issue (Apr., 2003), pp. 622-636.

Russell L. Ackoff, The Art and Science of Mess Management "Interfaces, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Feb., 1981), pp. 20-26

Origins of Cartomancy (Playing Card Divination)

Janine Barchas, Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel (2003)

August 21


William Makepeace Thackery, Barry Lyndon

December 4:


Barry Lyndon (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1976)

William Makepeace Thackery, Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair (2018)

October 23 Student Co-Leaders:

Required Reading:

William Faulkner, "Barn Burning"

October 25 Student Co-Leaders:

Required Reading:

Haruki Murakami, "Barn Burning"

October 28 Burning (dir. Lee Chang-Dong, 2018) Student Co-Leaders:

October 30 Student Co-Leaders:




1. Franz Kafka, "Letter to His Father" (online edition) 


1. Jacques Derrida, "Father, Son, and Literature," in The Gift of Death and Literature in Secret

2. Avital Ronell, "Kafka Sends a Missive to His father," from Loser Sons

3. Kafka, Letters


Walter Benjamin, "Reflections on Kafka"

Theodor Adorno, "Notes on Kafka"

Siegfried Kracauer, "Kafka"

Jacques Derrida, "Force of Law"

November 3 Required Reading: 

Franz Kafka, The Trial, "The Arrest" through "The Thrasher"

There are several translations you may choose among, including these two: here (Mike Mitchell ); here (Breon Mitchell )

November 5 Required Reading: 

Franz Kafka, The Trial, "His Uncle Leni" through "Block, the Corn Merchant - The Dismissal of the Lawyer"

November 10 Required Reading: 

Franz Kafka, The Trial, "In the Cathedral" and "The End"

Orson Welles, dir. The Trial (1962); a DVD is on reserve in Library West. You can also rent it on Amazon or you can try watching it online here.

Due September 2 by 5 p.m. Two discussion questions and and three big words on Jacques Derrida, "Before the Law"numbered one and two, awith your name at the bottom of the document, due by 5 p.m. Email your DQs in one word document (as an attachment) to me at

September 3 

Required Readings: Deconstructive Reading versus Exegetical Reading:

Jacques Derrida, "Before the Law"

You don't need to write discussion questions on this part of Kafka's The Trial in which "Before the Law" is interpreted by a Priest and by K. in a cathedral, but please do read these few pages from the novel so you can follow Derrida's essay.

Required Reading:

Charles Dickens, Mystery of Edwin Drood (Oxford World's Classics), Chapters I-XIII, pp. 1-120.

If you have very good eyes and do not mind reading very small type, the Oxford will do fine. However, if you prefer a larger type, the Everyman Library is good (kindle and hardcover) though it has no critical apparatus. The Penguin is also good and comes with notes, like the Oxford(paperback).

Recommended Reading: 

"EDWIN DROOD, AND THE LAST DAYS OF CHARLES DICKENS" By his younger daughter, Kate Perugini, The Pall Mall magazine v.37 1906 Jan-Jun.

Required Reading:

Charles Dickens, Mystery of Edwin Drood (Oxford World's Classics) Chapters XIV to the end, pp. 121-217.

Recommended Reading:



YOUR FIRST ASSIGNMENT Due Tuesday, January 8 by 5:00 p.m.: One discussion question on How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer, and three BIG WORDS, numbered one, two, and three, on each reading. Put your name at the top left of the document. Email all work to me at . With One Exception, Discussion Questions are due the day before class on Sundays and Tuesdays by 5:00 p.m.

NOTE BENE: Your First Paper (500 words, not including quotations) will be DUE Saturday by 11:59 p.m. You may write your paper on any text we have read. I encourage you to make up your own paper topic. If you need any help, just email or talk to me in class and we can schedule a time to talk.

Due Sunday, January 13 by 5:00 p.m.: Two discussion questions on Michel de Montaigne, "Of Bookes" and three BIG WORDS, numbered one, two, and three. Put your name at the top left of the document. Email all work to me at With One Exception, Discussion Questions are due the day before class on Sundays and Tuesdays by 5:00 p.m.

Due Tuesday, January 15 by 5:00 p.m.: Two discussion questions on Pierre Bayard, "Chapter IV: Books You Have Forgotten" and three BIG WORDS, numbered one, two, and three. Put your name at the top left of the document. Email all work to me at Discussion Questions are due the day before class on Sundays and Tuesdays by 5:00 p.m. With One exception, nothing is due Thursdays for class on Fridays.