Wednesday, January 25, 2017


POLITIAN is an unfinished play by Poe, set in 16th-century Rome. Early parts of the play appeared in the Southern Literary Messenger, but it failed to garner good notices so Poe never finished it.

I'm tempted to hypothesize that this was Poe's attempt to ape Shakespeare, given that the play's main action depends upon sexual jealousy among the elite classes. Main character Castiglione has become engaged to his cousin, which is probably less reflective of Poe's own tendencies than of a contemporary scandal during Poe's era. The main character also has apparently had some romantic interaction with his father's ward-- who would be his sister in a functional though not biological sense-- and this would seem to be the only relevance of the play for modern Poe-enthusiasts, as it's pretty bereft of either comic or dramatic interest.

The tome I'm using, Running Press' UNABRIDGED EDGAR ALLAN POE, next prints three Poe efforts that I consider to be more in the vein of "essays." I assume they were included because they bear on the way the author composed some of his hoax-stories, like HANS PFALL. I don't consider the three essays relevant to my project and so I'm skipping them.

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