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Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive (Biography and Falsehoods)

3 minutes

[church bells ringing]

(male #1) When Edgar Allan Poe came to Baltimore, he was famous. He was making money off of his lecture tours. He had found financial backing to establish his magazine, which was his great dream. He was about to marry his childhood sweetheart. What is it? Oh, no thank you. I will be on a train to New York. I have no need of a room. And he died.

(male #2) And who is it that gets the opportunity to announce to America that Poe has died? His sometime friend, but also literary rival, the Reverend Rufus W. Griswold, who wrote the very first obituary of Poe.

(male #3) Griswold succeeded in establishing the modern perception of Poe, really as the same person as one of the characters in his stories, as someone who is mentally deranged, as someone who is homicidal, a drinking, drug-using, womanizing scoundrel. That's an invention of Griswold. It's a complete fabrication. Who was the real Edgar Allan Poe? I feel like he slips further away from me the more I know about him.

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When Edgar Allan Poe died under mysterious circumstances, his literary rival, Rufus W. Griswold, wrote a high-profile obituary filled with falsehoods that cast Poe as a lunatic and a madman. In this segment, students examine the mystery behind Poe's death and explore how fiction can sometimes become accepted as truth. Part of the "Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive" series. Please Note: This resource contains material that may be sensitive for some students. Teachers should exercise discretion in evaluating whether this resource is suitable for their class.

Media Details

Runtime: 3 minutes

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Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive
Episode 1
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Episode 2
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Episode 3
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Episode 4
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Episode 5
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