The Science Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe

The Science Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is widely regarded as one of the masters of horror. While he died in 1849 at the young age of 40, he left behind a legacy of macabre fiction and poetry, including “The Raven,” which is one of the most recognizable poems in literary history — in fact, the poem is so famous that there’s an American Football team named after it, the Baltimore Ravens.

While Poe is best known for his creepier work, he is also considered the inventor of detective fiction, and some even give him credit for being among the first science fiction writers. The cover we’re showing here comes from a collection of Poe’s speculative works, titledThe Science Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe.

As the back cover calls out, the art featured on the front was by Odilon Redon (April 20, 1840 – July 6, 1916). The title of this lithograph is L’oeil, comme un ballon bizarre se dirige vers L’INFINI, which means “The eye like a strange balloon mounts toward INFINITY.”

Redon, whose real name was Bertrand Redon, was a French artist who did works that some would call “a synthesis of nightmares and dreams.” In his later years, he worked mostly with lithography and charcoal. The piece shown on the cover of this book was supposedly inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, making it an appropriate fit for the edition.

The Science Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe

This version of the book, first published in 1976, contains commentary by Harold Beaver, who was Reader in American Literature at the University in Warwick.

Here are the contents of the book:

Notes by Harold Beaver:

  • Introduction
  • A Note on the Text
  • Bibliography

Stories by Poe:

  • MS. Found in a Bottle
  • The Unparelleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall
  • The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion
  • A Descent into the Maelström
  • The Colloquy of Monos and Una
  • A Tale of the Rugged Mountains
  • The Balloon-Hoax
  • Mesmeric Revelation
  • The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade
  • Some Words with a Mummy
  • The Power of Words
  • The System of Dr Tarr and Prof. Fether
  • The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
  • Eureka: An Essay on the Material and Spiritual Universe
  • Mellonta Tauta
  • Von Kempelen and His Discovery

Commentary by Harold Beaver:

  • Commentary
  • Appendix 1748–1848: Select Chronology of post-Newtonian Science in the Century preceding Eureka
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