Saturday, September 15, 2007

Matthew Pearl

Matthew Pearl is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow and the editor of the Modern Library editions of Dante’s Inferno (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) and Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue: The Dupin Tales. The Dante Club has been published in more than thirty languages and forty countries around the world. Pearl is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School and has taught literature at Harvard and at Emerson College. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

From a Q & A with the author at the publisher's website:

Q: The Poe Shadow can be read as a celebration of Edgar Allan Poe. Which came first, an enthusiasm for Poe, or your idea for the novel?

MP: My high school English teacher in junior year, Dr. Robert Parsons, assigned us some Poe stories, including The Black Cat and The Purloined Letter. Being an animal person, I had trouble with The Black Cat! I got hooked instead by The Purloined Letter, a Poe story with detective C. Auguste Dupin. I had already been a Sherlock Holmes fan, and it was eye-opening for me to “discover” Sherlock’s prototype in the form of Dupin. So my entrĂ©e to Poe was through his detective stories, and from there I read more. When it came time for me to decide on what to write as a second novel, Poe returned to my mind. If it were not for those first interactions with Poe, I would probably have been less likely to be committed to studying literature in high school and then college, and then less likely to ever write fiction. I still have my high school copy of the collected Poe — missing its covers and pretty worse for the wear. On the pages of The Purloined Letter, I wrote in big letters: RATIO SENTIAN. I was taking notes from my teacher and trying to write “ratiocination,” a word I had never heard.
Read the entire Q & A.

Visit Matthew Pearl's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Poe Shadow

--Marshal Zeringue