Famed American author Edgar Allan Poe, who lived from 1809 to 1849, was a poet, literary critic, short story writer and creator of the modern horror tale. He experienced great tragedy in his life and was notorious for his drinking and dark temperament, which frequently got him into trouble. Poe spent time in the Charleston Lowcountry while serving in the United States Army (under an assumed name) and was stationed at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island from 1827 to 1828.

As Poe’s 214th birthday approaches on Jan. 19, 2023, his enduring popularity in American culture only continues to grow. Netflix recently released The Pale Blue Eye (the title comes from Poe’s short story The Tell-Tale Heart). The historical thriller, based on a 2006 novel by Louis Bayard, is set at West Point, where Poe was a cadet before he was court-martialed in 1831. In this fictionalized film, Poe is enlisted by a detective (played by Christian Bale) to help solve a series of grisly murders.

Featured on this Episode

On this episode of Speaking Of … College of Charleston, Scott Peeples, interim chair of the College of Charleston’s Department of English and Poe scholar, takes us on a tour of some of the Lowcountry landmarks associated with Poe.

During his 26 years at the College, Peeples has taught a wide array of courses on topics ranging from Gothicism to 19th-century American poetry to Bob Dylan. He has published extensively on Edgar Allan Poe and other 19th-century writers, most recently as author of The Man of the Crowd: Edgar Allan Poe and the City and as co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Edgar Allan Poe. Peeples served as chair of the College’s English department from 2012 to 2017 and is a past president of the Poe Studies Association and the Southeastern American Studies Association.

Listen to other episodes of Speaking of … College of Charleston and subscribe via Buzzsprout or platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

Resources for this Episode

How Edgar Allan Poe became the darling of the maligned and misunderstood by Scott Peeples

The Man of the Crowd: Edgar Allan Poe and the City by Scott Peeples

The Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe by Scott Peeples

Edgar Allan Poe Revisited by Scott Peeples

Edgar Allan Poe’s suburban dream essay by Scott Peeples

Why should you read Edgar Allan Poe? TED-Ed video on YouTube with more than 1.7 million views written by Scott Peeples

The Pale Blue Eye (adapted by director Scott Cooper from Louis Bayard’s 2006 novel of the same name)

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe