Short, Unhappy Life

THE LETTERS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE (664 pp.) -Edited by John Ward Ostrom -Harvard Unitversity ($10)

Poe's tragedy is one that haunts the imagination no matter how much or how little is known of his life. Hervey Allen's Israfel cleared up most of the legendary mysteries of his career without making the poet himself any less strange, or unearthly a character. This handsome two-volume edition of Poe's letters, the work of John Ward Ostrom (associate professor of English at Wittenberg College), is essential to every serious student of Poe's career; but on the basis of this collection alone the reader...

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