Article

Edgar Allan Poe and His Enemies

Sandra Tomc

in The Oxford Handbook of Edgar Allan Poe

Published in print February 2019 | ISBN: 9780190641870
Published online August 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780190641894 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190641870.013.32

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Edgar Allan Poe and His Enemies

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)
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This chapter looks at the dozens of enemies Poe acquired in the course of his career. Instead of understanding these enemies as a phenomenon peculiar to Poe and his individual psychological state, the chapter argues that enemies were a kind of dark, unconscious side of the friendship culture that prevailed in the magazine industry in the early nineteenth-century United States. At a time when magazines depended for their content and profitability on the voluntary labor of unpaid contributors, friendship culture, in which friends volunteered to write for the periodicals of other friends, was crucial to the functioning of the magazine publishing economy. But hatred and rage were also productive energies, goading writers to write for free for magazines as easily as friendly indebtedness. Examining Poe’s rancorous relationships with his fellow authors, this article argues that Poe’s many enemies were part of a larger economy of violent invective and grudges that formed a companion to the culture of friendship.

Keywords: Edgar Allan Poe; nineteenth-century US magazine; voluntary labor; gift economy; literary feuds; unpaid work

Article.  9540 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century) ; Literary Studies (Fiction, Novelists, and Prose Writers)

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