Edgar Allan Poe's Dorm Room

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Amid statues, books, and portraits that easily fetch many thousands of dollars, there's another relic indicating the extent to which Edgar Allan Poe's presence and fame lords over weird fiction: his dorm room at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Even today, Poe's room is carefully kept neat and tidy, the continuation of a century old decree by a college administrator. Responsibility for the room falls to the University's Raven Society, a scholastic organization that splits its time between scholarships and preserving Poe's legacy. See this 2008 article for fairly recent coverage of a Raven member charged with maintaining the sacred chamber that year.

As the photos here indicate, the room is not in the immaculate condition presumably enjoyed by Poe during his year at the college. It's been given a more elegant atmosphere by adding a stuffed raven and several 19th century writer's tools. Still, the room is a great stop for Poe fans looking to make a literary pilgrimage. It's also proof of Poe's towering status in the weird field. He is perhaps the only weird fiction writer to achieve the preservation of his living spaces, but then, unlike other authors, Poe enjoys special fame in American literature and credit for influencing many genres beyond the weird.

-Grim Blogger

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