Ransom Center celebrates Edgar Allan Poe with Poe Mania

Edgar Allan PoeThe Harry Ransom Center kicked off Poe Mania, in anticipation of the exhibition “From Out That Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe,” which is now open.

Several Poe-centric online features were unveiled:

• View a video preview of “From Out That Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe.”

• Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” has been one of his most popular poems since its publication in 1845 in the New York Evening Mirror newspaper. This popularity has led to a number of parodies, or humorous imitations, of the poem. Visit the Poe Project website and compose your own parody of “The Raven,” and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win Poe-centric prizes.

• Visit the Ransom Center’s Flickr page to see behind-the-scenes photos of curators and Exhibition Services staff members preparing the galleries and to get a peek at some of the items in the Poe exhibition.

• Poe was so captivated by cryptography that he incorporated it into his story “The Gold-Bug” in 1843. Learn more about how to solve cryptographs, and then practice your decoding skills.

• The Ransom Center has launched the Poe digital collection, where online visitors have the opportunity to see more than 4,000 images of collection and exhibition items, ranging from manuscripts in Poe’s meticulous hand to his annotated copies of the “Tales and Poems” and “Eureka.”

Ransom Center to Focus on Works of Edgar Allan Poe as Part of The Big Read

Collectible cigarette card depicting Edgar Allan Poe, undated.

The Harry Ransom Center has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to host The Big Read in Austin, focusing on Edgar Allan Poe’s stories and poems.

Beginning Sept. 8, the Ransom Center opens the exhibition “From Out That Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe,” commemorating the bicentennial of the birth of Poe, the great American poet, critic and inventor of the detective story.

The Ransom Center’s sponsored Big Read events include a performance hosted by Isaiah Sheffer of “Selected Shorts,” heard on public radio stations across America, a Poe film series featuring “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1928), “The Raven” (1963), “The Pit and Pendulum” (1961), and a performance of “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe!

Edgar Allan Poe, American poet, critic and inventor of the detective story, turns 200 years old today.

In honor of Poe’s 2009 bicentennial, the Harry Ransom Center has collaborated with the University of Virginia (UVA) on the exhibit From Out That Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe. The exhibition features many items from the Ransom Center’s significant Poe collection.

The exhibition opens March 7 at UVA, and arrives at the Ransom Center Sept. 8.

The narrative poem “The Raven” is perhaps Poe’s best-known, and most parodied, work. The Simpsons famously lampooned the poem in the episode “Treehouse of Horror,” which featured Homer as the lead character and Bart as the raven (see inset).

What’s your favorite Poe poem?