a literary archive


The Visionary Archive is a hypertext teaching and research tool that allows scholars, students and readers access to Edgar Allan Poe’s first published short story , the poem embedded in that story, and resources about them. Poe is a major American author whose affiliation with the evolving magazine industry of the time positioned him at the forefront of the publishing industry. Appearing originally in Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1834, the story was republished several times in other magazines such as The Southern Literary Messenger and Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, as well as in Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, a collection of Poe’s works published by Lea and Blanchard of Philadelphia.

Three variants of the poem are published side by side so that the reader may compare them. Untitled in the tale, the poem was published independently of the short story, in 1839 as “To Ianthe in Paradise” – a reference to the English romantic poet George Gordon, Lord Byron – in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, and as “To One in Paradise” in The Raven and Other Poems in 1845. Variants of the tale include facsimile and text versions, as well as a partially marked-up text that illuminates the obscure language and the setting.

My intent was to create a site that showcases not only the tale and the poem, but the historicist research of Bard College’s graduate students about both. The bibliography identifies the scholarly texts of Poe critics such Thomas O. Mabbott, Poe’s works in which the tale and the story are published, and references to texts devoted to hypertext as a publishing medium.
My goal is a site that evolves over the years. Future updates to the Archive will contain information about the city of Venice, the setting of the tale. Images of landmarks such as the Ponte di Sospiri, the Campanile, and the canals will be included. It is also planned to include a “pop” reference to the tale under the title “Venetian Blinds,” and under the “historicism” rubric, more information about Lord Byron as a source for the character of the stranger in the tale. Whether Michael Jackson, of pop music fame, is familiar with the tale is unknown, but it has been reported in news articles that Jackson referred to himself as a visionary; and although his child did not fall from his arms as did the heroine’s infant, images of Jackson dangling his child over a balcony – an uncanny resemblance to an element of the tale – provide a contemporary connection to the text.

Links to Poe archives, his letters and his literary criticism will be added. The most daunting challenge will be to make the Archive searchable. This entails encoding the site using either XML or SGML, standards necessary to place the site on a par with scholarly archives that do not rely on proprietary software.

periodicals construction connections biography bibliography byron



Kathy Dudely, MAT Candidate, Bard College
Professor Furr, Advisor