Poe Studies Association

History

The Poe Studies Association was founded in 1972 as a scholarly organization. Its primary goal is the exchange of ideas regarding the life and work of Edgar Allan Poe. Membership in the PSA is open to persons interested in this goal, and, at present, the organization has more than three hundred members from the United States, Canada, Asia, South America, and most countries in Europe including Russia.

The organization's officers include a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and two members-at-large. The executive committee includes these officers and the immediate past president and journal editor as ex-officio members. As a voluntary, nonprofit educational organization, the PSA has the following objectives: supporting the community of scholars interested in Poe, sponsoring international Poe conferences, organizing Poe panels at the Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Literature Association (ALA) conferences, and disseminating information on Poe-related cultural and news events.

Presidents of the Poe Studies Association
Eric W. Carlson (1973-1978)
J. Lasley Dameron (1978-1980)
Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV (1980-1984)
Kent P. Ljungquist (1984-1986)
David H. Hirsch (1986-1988)
Glen A. Omans (1988-1992)
Liliane Weissberg (1992-1996)
J. Gerald Kennedy (1996-2000)
Richard Kopley (2000-2004)
Scott Peeples (2004-2008)
Stephen Rachman (2008-2010)
Susan Elizabeth Sweeney (2010-2012)
John Gruesser (2012-2014)
Philip Edward Phillips (2014-present)

The PSA awards honorary membership to scholars whose contributions to Poe research are significant and ongoing and who show exemplary commitment to the goals of the PSA. The Honorary Members of the Poe Studies Association (as of 2014) include:

Jay B. Hubbell, 1974
Maureen Cobb Mabbott, 1974
Floyd Stovall, 1974
Richard Hart, 1975
John Ward Ostrom, 1975
Arlin Turner, 1977
Eric W. Carlson, 1978
Alexander G. Rose III, 1978
Richard P. Benton, 1978
Kenneth Walter Cameron, 1978
Richard Wilbur, 1981
Frederick Dannay, 1981
James W. Gargano, 1983
Burton R. Pollin, 1985
David K. Jackson, 1986
Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV, 1987
G.R. Thompson, 1988
J. Lasley Dameron, 1988
Patrick F. Quinn, 1989
Daniel Hoffman, 1995
John E. Reilly, 2000
Michael Deas, 2001
E.L. Doctorow, 2001
Dennis W. Eddings, 2002
J. Gerald Kennedy, 2003
Carol Pierce, 2003
Jeffrey A. Savoye, 2003
Richard Kopley, 2007
Susan Jaffe Tane, 2009
Stephen Loewentheil, 2009
Barbara Cantalupo, 2014
Alexander Hammond, 2014

Because of Poe's influence and reputation as a world author, the PSA pursues the overall goal of creating a sense of community among Poe scholars abroad and in the United States. In order to facilitate this goal, in 1973 the organization began a bi-annual publication, The Poe Studies Association Newsletter, first edited by members Eric Carlson and John Reilly. Subsequent editors have included Kent Ljungquist, J. Lasley Dameron, Lynette Black, Dennis Eddings, Richard Kopley, and Barbara Cantalupo. The complete run of the Newsletter (1973-1999) is available on-line at this site for all interested readers and scholars. In June of 2000, the Newsletter was transformed into the peer-reviewed journal, The Edgar Allan Poe Review, under the editorship of Barbara Cantalupo and sponsored by both the PSA and Penn State Lehigh Valley. In Fall of 2004, Richard Fusco and Peter Norberg became co-editors, and the journal moved from Penn State to St. Joseph's University. Barbara Cantalupo resumed the editorship in Fall 2007. Beginning with the Spring 2013 issue, the journal became part of The Pennsylvania State University Press journals collection.

The purposes of the PSA are served not only by the distribution of The Edgar Allan Poe Review but also by annual gatherings of members and friends in conjunction with MLA and ALA meetings, special conferences, and cooperation with Poe societies, web sites, and libraries. The PSA regularly sponsors two sessions each December at the Modern Language Association Convention and at the American Literature Association Conference held in May.

The MLA sessions are organized by the PSA Vice-President and the ALA sessions by the members-at-large. Additionally, the PSA has begun a series of international scholarly conferences, held once every three years. The first met at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia, in October 1999, in honor of the sesquicentennial of Poe’s death and was organized by Richard Kopley. One hundred and twenty papers were presented; two hundred and forty people attended from many parts of the world. The second international conference, organized by Richard Kopley, with program determined by Scott Peeples, was held in Towson, Maryland, in October 2002. The Third International Edgar Allan Poe Conference: The Bicentennial was held at the Hyatt Waterfront Hotel in Philadelphia in October 2009 co-chaired by Barbara Cantalupo and Stephen Rachman. The conference keynote address was given by Dwight Thomas, co-author of the acclaimed Poe Log; a performance of "Edgar: The Life and Life's Work of Edgar Allan Poe, A New Chamber Musical" was presented at the Ethical Society Building on Rittenhouse Square; the opening reception was held in the Historic Landmark Building of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts sponsored by the Rare Book Department of the Philadelphia Free Library and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with music by The Mount Vernon Trio, a performance of Gerald Elias' "'The Raven': A Monodrama”; included in the conference activities was a bus trip to the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site and a guided walking tour of Poe's Philadelphia. The fourth international conference, co-chaired by Barbara Cantalupo and Richard Kopley, will be held in New York City at the Roosevelt Hotel on 45th Street near Madison Avenue (http://www.theroosevelthotel.com/), Thursday, February 26 to Sunday, March 1, 2015. In addition, Poe sections or panels are often sponsored by other literary conferences such as the ALA-sponsored American Renaissance Conference in 1997.

The PSA maintains a listserv, a web site, and a Facebook page for disseminating information on Poe-related cultural and news events. These resources provide members with a forum for discussion of Poe-related research and up-to-date events.

While Richard Kopley was PSA Vice-President and then PSA President, he helped establish two awards for exemplary Poe research in a given year:

The Patrick F. Quinn Award was established in 1999 by a memorial contribution in honor of the late Patrick Quinn, initiated by a gift from Mrs. Shirley Quinn and supplemented by family and friends. The first winner of the Patrick F. Quinn Award, nominated and selected by the Executive Committee, was announced at a Poe session at the 2000 MLA Annual Convention. Terence Whalen received this award for his book, Edgar Allan Poe and the Masses (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999). Subsequent recipients of the Quinn Award include: Scott Peeples, The Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe (Rochester, NY: Camden House: 2004); Burton R. Pollin and Jeffrey A. Savoye, ed., The Collected Letters of Edgar Allan Poe (Staten Island, NY: The Gordian Press, 2008); and Benjamin F. Fisher, ed., Poe in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2010).

The James W. Gargano Award was established in 2002 by Mrs. Margaret Gargano and Stephen Loewentheil to honor the late James W. Gargano. The first Gargano Award in 2002 was shared by J. Gerald Kennedy for his essay, “The American Turn of Edgar Allan Poe,” based on his Baltimore Poe Society commemorative lecture, and Jeffrey Savoye for his essay. “A ‘Lost’ Roll of Marginalia” in The Edgar Allan Poe Review. A complete list of Gargano Award recipients follows:

J. Gerald Kennedy. The American Turn of Edgar Allan Poe. Baltimore: The Edgar Allan Poe Society, 2002. (Article-length booklet based on his Baltimore Poe Society commemorative lecture.) - TIE

Jeffrey A. Savoye. “A ‘Lost’ Roll of Marginalia.” The Edgar Allan Poe Review 3.2 (Spring 2002): 52-72. - TIE

Maurice S. Lee. “Absolute Poe: His System of Transcendental Racism.” American Literature 75.4 (2003): 751-781.

NO AWARD GIVEN in 2004

Adam Frank. “Valdemar’s Tongue, Poe’s Telegraphy.” ELH 72 (2005): 635-662.

Laura Saltz. “‘Eyes which Behold’: Poe’s ‘Domain of Arnheim’ and the Science of Vision.” The Edgar Allan Poe Review 7.1 (2006): 4-30.

Matthew Taylor. “Edgar Allan Poe’s (Meta)Physics: A Pre-History of the Post-Human.” Nineteenth Century Literature 62.2 (Sept. 2007): 193-221.

Cindy Weinstein. “When Is Now? Poe’s Aesthetics of Temporality.” Poe Studies 41 (2008): 81-107.

Bonita Rhoads. “Poe’s Genre Crossing: From Domesticity to Detection.” Poe Studies 42.1 (2009): 14-40.

Brett Zimmerman. “Phrenological Allegory in Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher.” Mosaic 43.1 (March 2010): 57-72

Stephen Rachman. “Poe’s Drinking, Poe’s Delirium: The Privacy of Imps.” The Edgar Allan Poe Review 12.2 (2011): 6-40.

Paul Lewis. “Longfellow’s Serenity and Poe’s Prediction: An Antebellum Turning Point.” The New England Quarterly 85.1 (March 2012): 159-160.

Emron Esplin. “Borges’s Philosophy of Poe’s Composition.” Comparative Literature Studies 50.3 (2013): 458-489.

The PSA is also committed to helping preserve Poe's literary and cultural legacy. Led by Michael Deas, the organization contributed to the effort to save and restore the Poe House at 85 W. 3rd Street in New York City. Representatives of the organization (Michael Deas, Richard Kopley, Burton Pollin, Heyward Erhlich and Barbara Cantalupo) spoke at community hearings supporting the preservation of the house, attended protests, and Burton Pollin provided expert legal testimony. Although Poe’s house was demolished, New York University did build a façade on their new law school building. The façade resembles Poe’s residence and commemorates his name with a plaque. In 2013, the PSA Executive Committee voted to provide support to the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage maintained by the Bronx County Historical Society and to the Poe Statue Project in Boston, spearheaded by the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston and chaired by PSA Vice-President Paul Lewis. PSA President Philip Edward Phillips delivered remarks on behalf of the PSA at the dedication and unveiling of Stefanie Rocknak’s statue, “Poe Returning to Boston,” on October 5, 2014, in the recently named Edgar Allan Poe Square at the intersection of Boylston Street and Charles Street South.

Roberta Sharp, 2000, Emeritus, California State University, Pomona; edited and updated by Barbara Cantalupo, January 2013, Penn State Lehigh Valley; edited and updated by Philip Edward Phillips, December 2014, Middle Tennessee State University

[The PSA urges its members, the contributors to its publications, and scholars who present papers under its auspices, to be sensitive to the social implications of language and to seek wording free of discriminatory overtones.]


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