Additional Contributors

During the early stages of this project, creator Wally Coberg was supported by several consultants who contributed significantly to his efforts to write, submit and ultimately secure the original NEH Development Grant that helped launch the project.  Among them were:







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Produced in association with the Center for Independent Documentary.


This site was made possible by a grant from The Maryland Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities,

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The Poe Legacy 

My own personal debt to Poe is a heavy one.

- Rudyard Kipling


You remind me of Edgar Allan Poe's Dupin. I had no idea that such individuals did exist outside of stories.

- Dr. Watson to Sherlock Holmes


Born in poverty, the child of itinerate actors, orphaned at three, unable to complete his university education, expelled from West Point, rejected by his foster father, traumatized by the loss of the women who loved him, Edgar Allan Poe nonetheless rose above his personal torments to become a visionary author responsible for creating three distinct literary genres: the tale of horror, of detection and of science fiction.


Poe’s imagination and originality have been a source of inspiration for countless authors, poets, musicians, artists and filmmakers for decades. There is something in Poe that touches all of us. Homer Simpson has given life to his words; a football team is named after his poem, The Raven; musicians from Debussy to Lou Reed to The Alan Parsons Project have found inspiration in his work and director Tim Burton admits to being heavily influenced by the now classic Vincent Price films. In short, his effect on pop culture is pervasive and enduring. Thoroughly modern, Poe anticipated the psyche of 21st century man by over a century.


As W. H. Auden wrote, "His portraits of abnormal and self-destructive states contributed much to Dostoyevsky, the tales of the future lead to H. G. Wells, his adventure stories to Jules Verne and Stevenson." Without Poe and his detective, Monsieur Dupin, there would be no Sherlock Holmes mysteries.


Indeed, Poe's place in American culture is staggering, for he appeals to the imagination as no other author does. His works express the full range of emotions common to all people and in all languages: love, loss, revenge, murder, disease, death and, of course, fear. That his work is too often conflated with his own biography is unfortunate, but in part has to be attributed to his own enormous skill in tapping the vein of popular imagination.

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