The two different criticisms of Poe we read this semester presented fairly clear arguments that contrasted each other. John Carlos Rowe argued that Poe was in fact a pro-slavery southerner who’s works have been displaced from their moment in history and need to be reconfigured back into it. Terrence Whalen argued that Poe was an average racist who never explicitly disclosed his opinion on the matter. I found these critical perspectives to be interesting because they set us up as a class to look at the texts we read with a focus on the handling of race. As our first glance at criticism, these two texts were essential to our identification of race as an issue within some of the subsequent primary texts. A few of the works we read did not overtly deal with the issue of race, but we knew to look for it within those texts.

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