For an article I'm working on for The Millions, I did a little research into all the utterly TERRIBLE things that have been said about Poe over the years. It is what you call a rich vein.
The list of those who've insulted Poe reads like a virtual Who's Who of 19th, 20th and 21st century literature. Everyone from Mark Twain to W.H. Auden and Harold Bloom got their digs in.
For example, H.L. Mencken said: “[Poe was] a genius, and if not of the first rank, then at least near the top of the second — but a foolish, disingenuous and often somewhat trashy man.”
One scholar, Kevin Zimmerman, has spoken of the "smog of critical hostility" that hangs over Poe. While always immensely popular with readers, critics and academics tend to hold Poe in contempt.
Which, for me, raises a big question: Why has Poe attracted so much vitriol? Why do the people who hate Poe hate Poe quite so much?
So that's the topic of the article, due out soon, but in the meantime, would you play a fun little game with me and vote for what you believe is the worst insult ever directed at Poe?
Click here to vote now.