This has been the year of Edgar Allan Poe for me -- I had the pleasure of seeing his dorm room at UVA last April and now I want to post a photograph of the graves of his foster parents, Frances Keeling Vallentine Allan and John Allan, from the Shockoe Hill Cemetery in Richmond.
Richmond is a great place for fans of Poe, which -- for reasons I' m not entirely sure I understand -- I am. There's the Poe house, a rather modest home near the James River; he edited the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, and he spent a lot of time growing up in Richmond. He worshipped with the Allans in the Monumental Church (which you may recall was a trivia question from last spring). His mother is buried in the St. John's Churchyard on Church Hill.
I guess Shockoe Hill Cemetery is sort of ground zero for Poe connections in Richmond. In addition to the Allans, his last love (Sarah Elmira RoysterShelton -- gonna get a picture of one of her houses next time I'm in Richmond -- minorly frustrated that I didn't take it when I was over on Church Hill in March) is buried there, as is Jane Stanard, who was the inspiration for his poem "To Helen."
I've been meaning to talk about Poe for a while. I've learned a lot from him, particularly from the Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. And I've enjoyed a lot of his short stories -- "The Domain of Arnheim" is based, for instance, on a trust case (Thellusson v. Woodford). (I wrote about some of this in "property and progress.") But I'd also like to add that some of it is really weird. Anyone ever read "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains"? I think that's the result of Poe's drug use -- not sure how one who's thinking linearly could come up with a story like that.