edgar allan poe

Send your questions for “The Pop Culture Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe” here! (#NeMLA17 #S411)

Today at 8:30 AM Eastern, we’re talking Edgar Allan Poe’s continued influence on popular culture.

Watch the slideshow here (where you can submit questions as well) or on Twitter hashtags #NeMLA17 #S411.

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Edgar Allan Poe Sessions at #NeMLA17 Baltimore, March 23-26

The Northeast Modern Language Association comes to Baltimore, one of Edgar Allan Poe’s homes, Thursday through Sunday. Below is a list of some of the sessions we have put together in examining his literature, criticism, and ongoing influence.

As well, the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum will be open during the convention.

Thanks to Susan Elizabeth Sweeney at College of the Holy Cross for compiling this list!

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My Presentations at #NeMLA17: Poe’s Pop Culture Afterlife, Disability in My Hero Academia, Batmanga and Spider-Man Sentai

Yeah, the only Poe image I could find that fits here was from Bungo Stray Dogs–don’t blame me, it’s a fun series!

I’ll be presenting (and working the registration table) at the upcoming Baltimore meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association, March 23 to 26, at the Marriott Waterfront. The full schedule of presentations is available to search or download, and if you have any questions about the convention, feel free to tweet at me, email me at derekmcg@buffalo.edu, or approach me at the convention (my name badge will have “Staff” on it).

The Pop Culture Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is a zombie: his themes, tropes, stories, tone, and arguments persist long after his death, not only in subsequent poetry, short stories, and criticism but also in film, television, music, and new media. This session looks at approaches to reading Poe’s influence forward into later popular culture, in particular strategies for incorporating works of current popular culture in the classroom when teaching Poe. Presentations look at Poe’s influence on The Following, Richard Corben, Fight Club, and Black Swan. Friday, March 24, 8:30-9:45 AM, Grand Ballroom 2

Batmanga and Captain America Ramen: DC vs Marvel in Japan

Shifting from comics publishers to multimedia content-branding enterprises, DC Entertainment and Marvel Entertainment have enlarged their markets overseas. While their fictional accounts are set largely in the United States, their film productions have sought to appeal to a wider global audience, especially in marketing towards Japan. Starting in the 1960s, DC licensed Batman for a 50-chapter manga series that proved popular in Japan. However, as this Batmanga series only recently has been translated and distributed to United States audiences, the potential bidirectional partnership between DC and Japanese publishers has been far less obvious compared that same partnership opportunity for Marvel. The list of Japanese properties featuring Marvel characters is extensive: ramen shops produce Captain America and Iron Man-themed meals; studios such as Sony and Madhouse produce anime based on Blade, Black Widow, the Punisher, and the X-Men; and Marvel has partnered with manga publishers for transpacific crossovers, such as between its Avengers and Kodansha’s Attack on Titan. Even the live-action Spider-Man series in Japan in the late 1970s allowed its local producer, Toei, to develop the tropes, special effects, sets, and costumes that would give birth to the ubiquitous brand Super Sentai, known in the United States as Power Rangers.

While Marvel is more visible, this competition between it and Marvel has not necessarily translated into more cinematic success in Japan: both Batman vs Superman and Captain America: Civil War opened much later than they did in other parts of the world, and sold far fewer tickets than Japanese films in the same opening weekends. This presentation will consider how economic, cultural, and media differences between DC and Marvel’s United States and Japanese distribution networks have led to innovations for both companies, while also increasing Marvel’s presence in Japan compared to DC. Friday, March 24, 11:45 AM-1 PM, Heron Room

The Quirkiness of a Superpower: Normalizing (Dis)abilities in Kōhei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia

Superpowered individuals are commonly treated in popular culture as the outsiders, their abilities making them stand out as othered. Japanese mangaka Kōhei Horikoshi reverses that idea in his comic My Hero Academia, recently adapted as an ongoing animated series. In his story, superpowers are the norm: 80 percent of the Earth’s population possesses such abilities, known as Quirks. This fictional world has adjusted considerably well to suit the needs of these superpowered individuals, who vary in size, ability, and shape: entrances serve persons both short and gargantuan, clothing stores make on-site adjustment to attire for multi-limbed or tailed individuals, and the government sanctions schools and agencies to allow for training of superheroes. In such a setting, My Hero Academia raises complicated questions about how othering can still persist, treating non-powered individuals as if they are analogous to persons with disabilities. For example, series protagonist Izuku Midoriya, who admires popular superhero All Might, is in that 20 percent of humans without a Quirk and is bullied by a superpowered classmate who mocks him with the nickname “Deku” (“Weakling”). A chance meeting with All Might reveals to Izuku that his superhero mentor has been living with an injury that is slowly sapping him of his Quirk, leaving the usually buff and tall superhero emaciated and bleeding. All Might’s injury is treated in-series as analogous to enervating conditions experienced by many people, showing how he lives with his condition while striving to maintain his previous and still arduous schedule of superheroing. My Hero Academia also prompts disconcerting questions regarding All Might giving his superpower to his new mentee Izuku, as this ability inheritance is treated as a way to normalize his supposed disabled body, prompting careful consideration about how this series reinforces and subverts representations of disabilities in superhero stories. Friday, March 24, 4:45-6:15 PM, Grand Ballroom 8

I’m moderating “Know About Poe” this Friday at NYU

Here’s something to prepare me before I talk “The Pop Culture Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe” at NeMLA in Baltimore this March.

I will be moderating “Know About Poe,” an informative discussion as part of New York University’s bi-annual event hosted at their School of Law’s Edgar Allan Poe Room this Friday at 6 PM.

Poe’s Manhattan residence was previously located where the School of Law now stands. NYU hosts these events to spark discussions about the author’s works, with events including performances, lectures, Q&As, and other dynamic entertaining and informative activities. I previously presented at NYU’s Showcase at the Poe Room in 2012, and I am honored by this opportunity to moderate a discussion that will appeal to scholars and Poe enthusiasts alike.

Thanks to Lois Rakoff, Arlene Peralta, and Nichole Izzo for organizing these events, where New Yorkers get to come together to join the conversation about the many aspects of Poe–his criticism, his philosophy, his poems, his politics, his horror.

Audience members can expect to learn more about the author’s life and works, as well as how we continue to discuss him in scholarship and posthumous adaptation. We’ll be looking at Poe in relation to pop culture, gender, mystery, visual art, and more! Whether you are a newbie to his literature or a seasoned expert, you’ll get something worthwhile from this session. Audience members also get to submit questions with their RSVP, and I’ll look at ones received on Twitter.

“Know About Poe” will take place on Friday, December 2, 2016 at 6 PM, at New York University’s School of Law (245 Sullivan Street, Furman Hall, Room 216, between West 3rd and Washington Square South). This event is free and open to the public.

Visit this link to RSVP or for more information.

Deadline Friday: Poe and Comics at NeMLA 2017!

Friday, September 30, 2016, is the deadline to submit to the more than 400 calls for papers at the 48th annual meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association, in Baltimore, Maryland.

My colleagues and I are organizing exciting panels in studies of literature and popular culture, including two sessions I’m putting together on Edgar Allan Poe and representations of disabilities in comics.

And additional sessions below may be of interest in light of recent developments in comics and the superhero genre–Luke Cage premieres tomorrow as well, so why not watch the show, and use that to draft an abstract to a relevant session below?

These are just a few of the exciting sessions (with links for submitting 300-word abstracts) that can lead to dynamic discussions–so please consider submitting abstracts or forwarding these calls of papers to interested peers.

CFP Reminder for NeMLA 2017 Baltimore: Comics, Edgar Allan Poe, and More! (DEADLINE: 9/30/16)

The 48th annual meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association will be March 23 to 26, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland. With almost 400 calls for papers, there are numerous opportunities to share your research with fellow scholars and teachers.

In addition to the full list of CFPs, I recommend submitting proposals for sessions on Edgar Allan Poe or comics–and I happen to be organizing sessions on both (“The Pop Culture Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe” and “Superhero Narratives and (Dis)Ability”). Both links take you directly to the CFP List submission web site for 300-word abstracts, short biographical statements, and any audio-visual equipment requests. Submissions are due September 30, 2016. 

Participants may submit paper abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; participants may present in no more than one session of the same type but may present a paper as part of a panel and also participate on a roundtable or creative session. More information is available at NeMLA’s web site.

And if you are interested in submitting to other sessions, here are lists of sessions in the same category:

CFP: Edgar Allan Poe sessions at NeMLA 2017, Baltimore (Deadline 9/30/2016)

The 48th annual meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association will be March 23 to 26, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland. As one of Edgar Allan Poe’s homes, the city provides opportunities for discussion about the author’s life and his works. With that goal in mind, many of us are organizing sessions about approaches to researching and teaching Poe. (I’m organizing the session “The Pop Culture Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe.”)

Please consider submitting 300-word abstracts and brief biographical statements to the following sessions, and please forward these calls for papers to interested scholars. Submissions are due September 30, 2016, at CFP List. Links for submitting abstracts and bios to each session are below.

Participants may submit paper abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; participants may present in no more than one session of the same type but may present a paper as part of a panel and also participate on a roundtable or creative session. More information is available at NeMLA’s web site.


Teaching Poe: His Social Commentaries,  Detective, and Science Fiction  (Roundtable)

Chair: Annette Magid (SUNY Erie Community College)

The focus of this roundtable is to discuss pedagogical techniques that can interest students in Poe’s detective and science fiction stories as well as his social commentaries. As we move into the twenty-first century, pedagogical techniques become even more critical in order to preserve a body of work that is at once canonical and current. Which of Poe’s works are most successfully taught, and how is this accomplished?


Poe and the Senses (Panel)

Chair: Susan Elizabeth Sweeney (College of the Holy Cross)

This panel explores the senses in Poe’s work, whether his powerfully suggestive descriptions of sensory experience involve acute sensitivity, overwhelming sensory stimuli, sensory deprivation, the dimness or evanescence of certain images or sounds, or the persistence of particular sensory stimuli in the memory. Papers could address evocations of any of the five major senses in Poe’s work, as well as related topics such as embodied consciousness, synaesthesia, kinaesthesia, and other forms of sensory experience such as pain or intoxication. In general, the panel will investigate how Poe describes various intense sensory experiences in order to evoke kindred sensations in his readers.


The Pop Culture Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe (Panel)

Chair: Derek McGrath (SUNY Stony Brook)

Edgar Allan Poe is a zombie: his themes, tropes, stories, tone, and arguments persist long after his death, not only in subsequent poetry, short stories, and criticism but also in film, television, music, and new media. This session welcomes approaches to reading Poe’s influence forward into later popular culture, in particular strategies for incorporating works of current popular culture in the classroom when teaching Poe.


Poe and the City (Roundtable)

Chair: Susan Elizabeth Sweeney (College of the Holy Cross)

This roundtable focuses on Poe’s representations of cities and city-dwellers as well as his personal connection to several cities. Participants could contribute presentations on Poe’s urban detective stories, his attitude toward crowds, spectacles, and the flaneur; his attention to details of the urban setting (ranging from architecture to paved streets, gaslight, and street signs); his imaginary accounts of cities like Paris and Edinburgh; and his invention of villages such as Rattleborough or Vondervotteimitis. Participants could also discuss his affiliation with different cities in his career as an editor, his relations with the New York and Boston literati, and the influence of specific cities on his life and work. Since the NeMLA conference takes place in Baltimore, presentations on Poe’s relationship to that city—where he first began to develop as a writer of fiction, where he met and married his cousin Virginia Clemm, and where he died in 1849—are especially welcome.


Poe and Pym in Black and White (Panel)

Chair: Jennifer McFarlane Harris (Xavier University)

This panel seeks papers that will explore the “Africanist presence” in Edgar Allan Poe’s works. Papers that engage The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket and its intertexts (e.g., Mat Johnson’s Pym) are particularly welcome. Panelists are invited to consider the function of hybrid genres, mixed-race or race-shifting characters, the stubbornness of the black/white binary in American racial thought, and how Poe’s works—in light of Toni Morrison’s critical framework—might illustrate the social construction of race in literary terms. Please submit a 300-word abstract and a short bio.