Matthew Pearl (author of the bestselling The Dante Club and now The Poe Shadow, a thriller centered around Poe's mysterious death) recently picked his top 10 books inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. Scott Peeples' The Afterlife of Poe stands out. Pearl reckons:

Peeples, president of the Poe Studies Association in the United States, chooses a perfect framework for a study of Poe. Poe did not really become the Poe we know until after his death. Peeples expertly examines responses to Poe's writings as well as his life in the century and a half since his death. His chapter on Poe's death, and the way it has been perceived, stands among the very best texts on the subject.

The Afterlife of Poe is kindly being sent on by the publisher, Camden House, and I'll review it as soon as I can. The Poe Shadow is published by Harvill Secker so that probably won't get reviewed: getting review copies from Harvill Secker is, sadly, like getting blood from a stone.

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