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The great bad writer

Self-indulgent, vulgar, borderline insane—Edgar Allan Poe was the most influential American author of the 19th century

By Kevin Jackson   March 2012

John Cusack in The Raven: One of Poe’s gifts was to create small, imperishable images that have wormed their way into our collective psyche

Thirty-odd years ago, the American beer company Stroh advertised its product with a cartoon poster depicting a gloomy, black-clad fellow in early middle age, surrounded by ghouls, bells and a ghastly raven with a wicked grin. The caption: “Edgar Allan Stroh.” Evidently, Poe’s presence in American culture is so deeply rooted that even Joe Sixpack can be trusted to spot allusions to the man and his work. There are countless similar proofs of Poe’s near-universal familiarity:…

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