THE FEVER CALLED LIVING by Barbara Moore

THE FEVER CALLED LIVING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The author of this gentle fictional biography of Edgar Allan Poe has set out to undo the damage caused by Poe's self-anointed literary executor and biographer, Rufus Griswold. (To say nothing of Daniel Hoffman's Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe.) Moore's Poe is often sad but not given to necrophilic fantasies; she contends he was not addicted to drugs, and although he had a ""galloping"" drinking problem, his bouts were neither long nor frequent. Poe arrived with his ill young wife Virginia in Manhattan in 1844 and this covers the last five years of his life, the time of a brief, feverish fame. He was then a ""thirty-four-year old pauper"" with solid accomplishments but also enemies who were offended by his inability to turn his critical lye into soft soap. Poe was kind, a professional of complete integrity, but he also had an insatiable lust for recognition. The pain of his later life--poverty, Virginia's consumption and her death, two rapidly souring romances--exaggerated his weaknesses. Moore atmospherically reproduces the period and much of the dialogue has been taken from the letters of Poe and his contemporaries. And there are animating scenes--Poe's miserable cemetery proposal to an ether-sniffing spinster, a literary soiree with Horace Greeley puffing up the narrow stairs. A sympathetic view of a Raven much maligned.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1976
Publisher: Doubleday