LiteratEye #7: Faux Poe

Here’s the seventh installment of LiteratEye, a series found only on The Art of the Prank Blog, by W.J. Elvin III, editor and publisher of FIONA: Mysteries & Curiosities of Literary Fraud & Folly and the LitFraud blog.

LiteratEye #7: Faux Poe
By W.J. Elvin III
March 27, 2009

Edgar Allan PoeThis year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe. If you keep track of these things, you’re no doubt amazed at the creative ways people find to connect to the master of the macabre. The calendar is cluttered with related events put on by institutions, communities and individuals nationwide.

Poe offers a goldmine of opportunities for those intrigued by literary fraud, hoaxes, mystifications and riddles. He left behind many puzzles to be solved, in his writing and in how he lived his brief life. For instance, he fought many back-and-forth battles over plagiarism, sometimes the accused and sometimes the accuser. On the other side of it, his fame made him a magnet for forgers, pranksters, satirists and others hitching a ride on his star.

In prowling old literary magazines, an avocation which no doubt fills endless hours of your leisure time, you can hardly help but notice how often others imitated Poe’s style. Digging into it, there is quite a bit of controversy over what he wrote or didn’t write, much of it unresolved. It’s confounding how many lesser lights tried to pass off their work as that of the master. And then there’s the on-going question of how many, if any, succeeded. Continue reading “LiteratEye #7: Faux Poe”