Battle over Poe’s body

The New York Times has a report on the continuing feud between residents of Philadelphia and Baltimore over the remains of Edgar Allan Poe. At present, Poe is buried in Baltimore, where he died, but its seems some especially dedicated Phildelphian civic boosters would like to see his grave moved to their city instead. They make the argument that Poe spent more of his life in Philadelphia than in Baltimore, and that he wrote more significant works while in the City of Brotherly Love. But the Baltimore camp is having nothing of it, and its members are prepared to defend Poe’s grave site at a moment’s notice if need be.

Of all American literary corpses, I suppose it’s probably most fitting that it’s Poe’s that has become the subject of this kind of morbid, obsessive tug-of-war. And he’d probably be grateful for the attention, given the unappreciated and penniless state in which he died (unloved by the Baltimoreans, as the Philadelphians are quick to point out).

In other Poe-related matters: here’s a link to a YouTube video (of dubious copyright clearance) of a 1953 animated take on “The Tell-Tale Heart,” with the story read by James Mason. (Oddly enough, this came to my attention due to its more-or-less completely random inclusion as a bonus feature on the Hellboy DVD.)

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2 Responses to “Battle over Poe’s body”


  1. 1 Ed Pettit September 6, 2008 at 5:18 PM

    Thanks for the link. Poe belongs to Philly!

    Ed

    The Ed & Edgar blog, my adventures in the cult of Poe
    at The Bibliothecary
    http://bibliothecary.squarespace.com/

  2. 2 Jeff Jerome October 18, 2008 at 9:27 PM

    Jeez, where was Philadelphia all these years while Baltimore, since 1875–even earlier, has been celebrating his life and works? Sure there’s a very nice Poe House in Philadelphia managed and owned by THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE!! But what has Philadelphia done to honor Poe?

    Hey take your time…I’ve got all day. I’ll save you the trouble…the answer is NOTHING!

    Ed appears to be a nice fellow, a bit misguided perhaps, but he’s not getting many people in Philadelphia worked up over this.

    Come January 13 at the Philadelphia Free Library we will come to blows…uh…literary blows that is and only one of us will walk away. It will be me not Ed the second rank would be bodysnatcher from Philadelphia.


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