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ERIC Number: EJ1097134
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0007-8034
Agonizing Poe
Kiskis, Michael J.
CEA Forum, v35 n1 Win-Spr 2006
This article discusses the author's experience of teaching Edgar Allan Poe as part of the American literature survey at Elmira College in Elmira, New York. While his specialty is Mark Twain, his students would be much happier if they could skip the colonial and national period, and move directly to studying Poe. In this article, the author considers why he reacts strongly and with a good deal of unsteadiness to Poe, and why he agonizes when he faces students and their expectations of Poe. Students are attracted to Poe's dark side, but it is a darkness that more likely visits a Halloween haunted house than the blackness that shades many a human soul. His students embrace the horror that can be created in the brain; they have yet to find the terror of the heart. It seems to have become the teacher's role to lead students into a more profound darkness so that they begin to fathom what makes Poe truly frightening and, therefore, powerful. Readers and teachers analyze and extrapolate and explain, but do not so easily usher students into a spiritual darkness. In all, maybe that is a good thing because, in the end, the uncertainties in life are the greater teacher of all things Poe. Without experience looking into that dark well, some students will be satisfied with surface fright.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A