Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Hoeveler, Diane L.

Second Advisor

Rivero, Albert

Third Advisor

Sorby's, Angela


"What else is there to say about Edgar Allan Poe?" For many burgeoning scholars, discovering which lines of inquiry to pursue in order to contribute meaningful research to the academic community is daunting. Determining what facet of Poe studies I could help to illuminate and also personally would enjoy investigating haunted me as I moved closer to my advancement to Ph.D. candidacy. Until two years ago, I never would have expected that I would examine his role within the context of the development of American drama. Until I registered for Dr. Hoeveler's Romanticism course, his verse drama, Politian, remained on the periphery of my studies as that work in which "The Coliseum" was appended. However, after studying and analyzing plays by Coleridge and Beddoes, I realized that Poe's play participated in the same dramatic tradition as these works. This course did not dismiss the content of Romantic drama as a popular art form - one with little to no redeeming qualities to justify serious academic attention. Rather, we delved into how sentimentality and the Gothic responded to socio-political forces. Using a New Historicist approach, we investigated how these plays responded to their cultural moments through veiled or overt portrayals of current events. During this course, I realized that the same phenomenon occurred in Poe's unfinished play. Although Daniel Hoffman, a highly respected Poe scholar, declared that Poe did not address his contemporary culture in his verse, I realized that Poe could not help but reflect his current socio-political thought. Even though he may not discuss abolition or women's rights overtly in his verse, Poe could not operate within a vacuum. His choices of plot line, allusions to other writers, and how to resolve his works reveal quite a bit about who he is and how he feels about his culture. Moreover, I noted that Poe's hypersensitivity to how to successfully exploit ways to please a finicky audience could lead to observations about his readers. Based on these assumptions, the purpose of this study is to suggest that we can use Poe's play as a means to learn more about the state of early American drama and, inversely, to apply what we know about the rise of early American drama to discover more about Edgar Allan Poe's approach to playwriting...



Restricted Access Item

Having trouble?