Decade after decade, Edgar Allan Poe remains one of the most popular American writers on the strength of his atmospheric tales and haunting poems. As John Tresch suggests here, Poe was also a scientist at heart, easily able to expose frauds and half-baked theories—but also a trickster who enjoyed perpetuating a few hoaxes of his own. Shining a spotlight on an era when the lines separating entertainment, speculation, and scientific inquiry were blurred, Tresch reveals Poe's obsession with science and lifelong ambition to advance and question human knowledge.
"Ingenious…. A rich assemblage of biographical vignettes, brief story analyses and mini-essays on the era's scientific beliefs."—Washington Post