February 26, 2024
Annapolis, US 37 F

Profs and Pints: Poe’s Life and Poe’s Horror

Profs and Pints is bringing Annapolis a treat sure to get folks in the Halloween spirit: A talk by a leading scholar of Edgar Allan Poe on the famed American author’s troubled life and the astounding works of horror that emerged form his mind.

Professor Amy Branam Armiento, a former president of the Poe Studies Association, will tell tales of Poe at the Graduate Annapolis hotel’s Trophy Room bar and restaurant on the evening of Tuesday, October 17th. Her richly illustrated talk will give you a newfound appreciation of an author who once roamed this region. It also just might give you the willies as she discusses some of Poe’s most unsettling tales. She’ll be donating her proceeds from the talk to Poe Baltimore, an organization created to fund and maintain The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum.

Stephen King has said that he and other horror writers are all “the children of Poe,” a reference to how they’re unable to escape Poe’s shadow.  Although Edgar Allan Poe penned works in a long list of genres, including fantasy, detective fiction, and poetry, his most prominent legacy is as the master of the macabre. Over the nearly two centuries since Poe lived, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Masque of the Red Death” have haunted millions of readers.

Who, exactly, was Poe? Why does he remain as one of the United States’ best-known writers at home and abroad? Why do his works continue to resonate with readers more than 150 years after they were published? 

Come hear such questions tackled by Amy Branam Armiento, a leading Poe scholar and the past president of an international organization that supports the scholarly and informal exchange of information on Poe’s life, works, times, and influence.  

Professor Armiento will look at which people and events influenced Poe’s literary works. His troubled life included the slow deaths of his mother, brother, foster mother, and wife, as well as a problematic relationship to alcohol and a difficult relationship with his foster father. All shaped his relationship with death, horror, and the unknown.  

She’ll also look at how Poe’s horror tales laid the groundwork for the characters, circumstances, and other conventions of horror stories. We’ll explore how Poe shattered literary conventions of his own time by embracing the lurid descriptions of violence, especially violence perpetrated between family members and loved ones. You’ll learn how Poe adapted conventions of the fairy tale to create his memorable, haunting tales, an aspect of his work that is hidden in plain sight.

The presentation will also include examples of evocative artwork used to illustrate editions of Poe’s works.

Dr. Armiento will donate her proceeds from the talk to Poe Baltimore, an organization created to fund, maintain, and interpret The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, and to celebrate the legacy of one of Baltimore’s most famous residents.

DETAILS: Tuesday, October 17, 2023 at 5:30 pm. Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17 or $15 with a student ID. The listed time is for doors. The talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.

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