Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair
While Edgar Allan Poe was editor of the New York-based Broadway Journal and the Literati o f New York in the mid 1840s, he was very supportive of female writers of the time period. Poe gave women writers including Margaret Fuller, Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, and Frances Sargent Osgood key placements in the Broadway Journal and the Literati o f New York and most often favorable reviews. These actions and feelings of support were in contrast to the overall feeling of the time period, which was that women should not venture outside the domestic arena into the literary world.
This thesis is divided into three main parts. The introductory chapter details American culture in the nineteenth century as well as the traditional roles of men and the changing roles of women. It also details Poe’s professional and personal relationships with a number of prominent women writers of the time period.
Chapter One looks at four short stories written by Poe - “Berenice,” “Morelia,” “Ligeia,” and “Fall of the House of Usher” — all which have central female characters. Through Poe’s portrayal of silent, strong women and weak, fearful men, he is able to draw parallels to the society of the time. Poe’s women symbolize the intelligent and talented women writers who were entering the scene.
Chapter Two includes a close reading and analysis of Poe’s reviews of both male and female writers that appeared in the Broadway Journal and the Literati o f New York. It is clear that Poe favored female writers and gave harsher reviews and less constructive criticism to male writers.
Overall, this thesis explores Poe beyond his role of poet and short story author. It explores Poe as a magazine editor and critic, as well as a man who possessed a love and admiration for women and their writings.
Greco, Karen Affinito, "Beyond Berenice : Edgar Allan Poe as a Magazine Editor, Critic, and Supporter of Women" (2010). Theses, Dissertations and Culminating Projects. 863.