Books: Poltergeist in the Parlor

THE HAUNTED PALACE, A LIFE OF EDGAR ALLAN POE (408 pp).—Frances Winwar—Harper ($6).

When a West Point court-martial decided that Plebe Edgar Allan Poe was not officer material, it rendered a sound judgment. It was not only that the overage (22) cadet had been a U.S. army private, that he drank, ran up heavy debts and asserted (falsely) that Benedict Arnold was his grandfather. Poe was a poet and a born soldier of misfortune —ill-armed against the world. Life was a bad dream to him; he is remembered today not for his success in coming to terms with it but for the...

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