On Wednesay, January 25, 2017, Sewanee English professor Dr. Bill Engel will feature as part of the Huntington Library's Brown Bag Lecture Series in Los Angeles, California. Engel's talk is entitled "Poe's Cultural Inheritance". A brief description from the Huntington Library's website is reprinted below:
Edgar Allan Poe displayed deep if selective knowledge of classical literature, the Bible, and Shakespeare. While his readings of the classics ranged widely, he was as likely to learn about the ancient world from anthologies (specifically Rollin’s "Histoire Romaine") as from primary texts (he excelled at school in both ancient languages and French, and exhibited reading knowledge of German and Italian). Although some of his initial ideas about aesthetics and poetics can be traced to Byron, Coleridge, and Wordsworth, Poe showed singular originality concerning esoteric lore, especially Neoplatonic metempsychosis (the transmigration of souls), medieval Arabian cosmology (whence his poem “Israfel”), and Renaissance Hermeticism (evident in Roderick Usher’s library). Moving beyond mere source hunting, my illustrated remarks explore the principal ways—and the ends to which—Poe incorporated the Western cultural tradition in his literary and critical works.
The presentation is drawn from Dr. Engel's forthcoming chapter in The Oxford Handbook to Edgar Allan Poe, which will be published in 2017.
More information on Dr. Engel's Brown Bag Lecture can be found here.
Further information on Dr. Engel's life and work is available publicly on his website.