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  • The Man of the Crowd

  • Edgar Allan Poe and the City
  • By: Scott Peeples
  • Narrated by: Daniel Henning
  • Length: 5 hrs and 58 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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The Man of the Crowd

By: Scott Peeples
Narrated by: Daniel Henning
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Summary

How four American cities shaped Poe's life and writings.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) changed residences about once a year throughout his life. Driven by a desire for literary success and the pressures of supporting his family, Poe sought work in American magazines, living in the cities that produced them. Scott Peeples chronicles Poe's rootless life in the cities, neighborhoods, and rooms where he lived and worked, exploring how each new place left its enduring mark on the writer and his craft.

Poe wrote short stories, poems, journalism, and editorials with urban readers in mind. He witnessed urban slavery up close, living and working within a few blocks of slave jails and auction houses in Richmond and among enslaved workers in Baltimore. In Philadelphia, he saw an expanding city struggling to contain its own violent propensities. At a time when suburbs were just beginning to offer an alternative to crowded city dwellings, he tried living cheaply on the then-rural Upper West Side of Manhattan and later in what is now the Bronx. 

Poe's urban mysteries and claustrophobic tales of troubled minds and abused bodies reflect his experiences living among the soldiers, slaves, and immigrants of the American city.

©2020 Princeton University Press (P)2020 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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Urban Life and Edgar Allen Poe

The rise of the city and all it's ambiguities seem reflected in the life of Poe. His restless personality reminded me of Baudelaire and it seems correct that Poe's writings were sometimes set in that modernist city. He was not rich or aristocratic and therefore did not have the capacity for stability, and he was torn between city life with it's drinking dens and air of impermanence and an imagined suburban idyll The author describes Poe's precarious mental states by linking them to the burgeoning era of American urban growth with its corresponding uncertainties. Really enjoyed this book. Proper psycho-geography!