By August 21, 2007 0 Comments Read More →

Now that's my kind of literary hoax!

From the Washington Post (“Poe Fan Takes Credit for Grave Legend,” by Wiley Hall):

BALTIMORE — The legend was almost too good to be true. For decades, a mysterious figure dressed in black, his features cloaked by a wide-brimmed hat and scarf, crept into a churchyard to lay three roses and a bottle of cognac at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. Now, a 92-year-old man who led the fight to preserve the historic site says the visitor was his creation.

“We did it, myself and my tour guides,” said Sam Porpora. “It was a promotional idea. We made it up, never dreaming it would go worldwide.”

Further down in the story, however, it appears that Porpora may have fictionalized his autobiography — which is not my kind of literary hoax.

And this paragraph made me chuckle:

Porpora’s belief that he resurrected the international fame of Poe, that master of mystery and melancholia, is questioned by some Poe scholars. But they do credit Porpora, a former advertising executive, with rescuing the cemetery at Westminster Presbyterian Church where the writer is buried.

Hey, rescuing a cemetery is nothing to sneeze at.



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About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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