Friday, October 9, 2009

This October, Poe's Funeral will get "an Elaborate Do-Over"

October is always a great month for teachers to do a unit on Edgar Allan Poe. With Halloween in the air, students are ready for a good story of horror and suspense. This October is especially appropriate for studying Poe because after over 160 years, the master of horror is finally getting the burial he deserves in Baltimore, MD.


According to an article from Yahoo, "One hundred sixty years ago, the beleaguered, impoverished Poe was found, delirious and in distress outside a Baltimore tavern. He was never coherent enough to explain what had befallen him since leaving Richmond, Va., a week earlier. He spent four days in a hospital before he died at age 40.

Poe's cousin, Neilson Poe, never announced his death publicly. Fewer than 10 people attended the hasty funeral for one of the 19th century's greatest writers. And the injustices piled on. Poe's tombstone was destroyed before it could be installed, when a train derailed and crashed into a stonecutter's yard. Rufus Griswold, a Poe enemy, published a libelous obituary that damaged Poe's reputation for decades."

But on Sunday October 11, 2009, Poe's funeral will get "an elaborate do-over with two services expected to draw about 350 people each — the most a former church next to his grave can hold. Actors portraying Poe's contemporaries and other long-dead writers and artists will pay their respects, reading eulogies adapted from their writings about Poe."

But of course if you're going to have a funeral with actors portraying Poe's contemporaries, that leaves only one thing missing — a body. Since all that is left of the corporeal Poe is skeletal remains, Eric Supensky was commissioned to recreate Poe's extremely realistic corpse.

This seems fitting for the man who wrote stories like "The Raven," "The Black Cat," and my personal favorite, "The Cask of Amontillado." For more works to revisit with your students this October, visit, or browse some of my favorites below.

Of Wine Cellars, Ravens, Orangutans, and Inquisitions 

The Best of Poe 

Discover the mysterious allure and genius of Edgar Allan Poe with your students by using our anthology of 33 of his greatest poems and stories, complete with helpful reading pointers and a glossary. 

Teaching Unit | PDF  
Response Journal | PDF

Scare your students into learning with these great works of horror! 

Great Stories of Horror and Suspense 

These fifteen unabridged tales of horror and suspense include enduring favorites such as Poe’s “The Black Cat” and Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” as well as lesser known, but equally chilling tales like Harvey’s “August Heat.” 

Other October Favorites: 


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