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Contribution to Book
Poe’s 1845 Boston Lyceum Appearance Reconsidered
Deciphering Poe: Subtexts, Contexts, Subversive Meanings (2013)
  • Philip Edward Phillips, Middle Tennessee State University

Poe's female figures, powerful yet suffering and dying, are traditionally linked to his childhood memories of Elizabeth Arnold Poe. This essay provides a fresh look at the theme of Poe's affection for his mother. The Odeon, where Poe read his early poem "Al Aaraaf" on October 16, 1845, before the Boston literati, was once the Boston Theatre, where his mother had performed to great acclaim. By returning to the Odeon, Poe was returning to his origins: he had been on that stage before, in utero, when Eliza Poe had delivered so many memorable performances. Rather than reading the Boston "failure" as merely an expression of Poe's contempt for the city of Boston, this essay argues that Poe's performance was an attempt to reclaim the poet's birthright as a "Bostonian." Remapping Boston as a city of memory and nostalgia, this essay develops a nuanced idea of Poe's conflicting feelings--those of "attraction and repulsion"--toward his birthplace.

  • Edgar Allan Poe,
  • Eliabeth Arnold Poe,
  • Boston Lyceum,
  • Odeon,
  • Poe and Boston,
  • The Raven,
  • Al Aaraaf
Publication Date
Alexandra Urakova
Lehigh University Press/Roman & Littlefield
Citation Information
Philip Edward Phillips. "Poe’s 1845 Boston Lyceum Appearance Reconsidered" 1Bethlehem, PADeciphering Poe: Subtexts, Contexts, Subversive Meanings (2013)
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