Friday, April 11, 2014 |
Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most important writers in American literature: a brilliant poet, credited with bringing the short story to American audiences. Yet he remains largely unheralded in Boston, the city of his birth. Next fall -- 205 years after Poe was born -- that will change thanks to the placement of a statue, sculpted by Stefanie Rocknak, near Boston Common.
Poe's relationship with the city of his birth was a complicated one. In addition to being a native Bostonian, he published some of his most important works there. Yet, he felt like an outsider. As It Happens spoke with Paul Lewis, the chair of the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston, about the statue and Poe's relationship with the city. You can listen to their interview in the audio player below:
CBC Books thought this would be the perfect time to highlight some of our favourite statues dedicated to authors.
1. Ernest Hemingway, Havana, Cuba
If you're ever in Havana, be sure to stop by Floridita, a restaurant and cocktail bar in the heart of the city. Hemingway loved the local hang-out so much that in 2003, this statue by José Villa Soberón was installed at the end of the bar.
2. Oscar Wilde, Dublin, Ireland
This statue depicting a carefree Oscar Wilde sits in Merrion Square in Dublin. Wilde was born nearby and spent several years living at No. 1, Merrion Square. The statue was commissioned by the Guinness Ireland Group.
(Photo: Bea, Wikimedia Commons)
3. Northrop Frye, Moncton, New Brunswick
Northrop Frye is one of Canada's most renowned literary critics. He taught for more than 50 years at the University of Toronto. The place of his birth -- Moncton, New Brunswick -- hosts the Frye Festival in his honour. In 2012, to celebrate his 100th birthday, they unveiled a statue designed by Darren Byers and Fred Harrison in front of the Moncton Public Library. The statue was so popular that U of T commissioned a copy from the same sculptors.
4. George Eliot, Nuneaton, United Kingdom
This statue sits in Nuneaton, a town near where the Middlemarch author was born. Nuneaton was often referred to as Milby in Eliot's early work. The statue was erected in 1986 and was designed by John Letts. There is also a garden and an obelisk in Eliot's honour in Nuneaton.
5. Pauline Johnson, Vancouver, British Columbia
The Women's Canadian Club of Vancouver set up this memorial to the renowned poet and performer in 1922, placing it in Stanley Park, a place Pauline Johnson loved (her ashes were buried at nearby Siwash Rock) .
6. Hans Christian Andersen, Central Park, New York City
This statue was erected in 1956 to commemorate the famous fairy-tale writer's 150th birthday. The duck is an apt part of the statue because the book Andersen is reading is The Ugly Duckling. The statue was partially funded by the Danish-American Women's Association and children are encouraged to climb it.
7. Ralph Ellison, West Harlem New York City
Ralph Ellison loved Harlem and, in 1998, a committee was established to ensure this wasn't ever forgotten. This memorial, a playful take on Ellison's most famous work, Invisible Man, was designed by Elizabeth Cartlett. It was erected across the street from Ellison's long time home in 2003.
(Photo: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
8. Charles Dickens, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
"Dickens and Little Nell" sits in Clark Park in Philadelphia and is one of only two statues of Dickens in the entire world -- his will stated that he did not want any ""monument, memorial or testimonial, whatever." The statue was designed by Francis Edwin Elwell and completed in 1890, but didn't end up in its current place until 1901, after Elwell struggled to find a buyer for it on both sides of the Atlantic. Finally Philadelphia's Fairmount Park Art Association came through.
9. Mark Twain, Hannibal, Missouri
There are plenty of great statues featuring American writer Mark Twain (we're especially partial to any one that involves a bench and a book), but our favourite is the one that commemorates his early days spent as a steamboat pilot. The statue sits alongside the Mississippi River in Hannibal and was unveiled in 2003.
10. Al Purdy, Toronto, Ontario
Edwin and Veronica Dam, a husband-and-wife sculpting team, were commissioned to create this statue of award-winning poet Al Purdy. They were hired by two Canadian literary icons to complete the project -- Dennis Lee and Scott Griffin. The statue was unveiled in 2008 and sits in Queen's Park in downtown Toronto.