Poe is certainly one of my favorites...read every story and poem over and over again. But I always thought of him as more of a short story writer than a novelist. On top of that, Poe's stuff was thematic and did not seek to capture the American experience (unless the American experience at that time could be summed up by melancholy mysteries;-)).
Regarding the difference between novels and shorter works, Maugham once asked his publisher (I paraphrase), "why write a long novel when you can say the same thing in a short story or a play?"
I think the answer had to do with market. Apparently, readers, using the metaphor of vacations and travels, were more desirous of leisurely week-long voyages than a hurried weekend visits.
I suspect that some books were meant to be read aloud, week by week, or night after night, as a form of family entertainment. Dickens goes down well that way.
posted on 01/08/2011 2:07:02 AM PST
(The press corpse is going through the final stages of Hopium withdrawal. That leg tingle is urine.)
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