Prima declaraţie din literatura americană privind “coincidenţele dintre Eminescu şi Poe” – Prof. Dr. Amy Branam Armiento, President of ‘Poe Studies Association’ (USA): ‘I am fascinated by the coincidences between EMINESCU and POE!’

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Prima declaraţie din literatura americană privind “coincidenţele dintre Eminescu şi Poe” – Prof. Dr. Amy Branam Armiento, President of ‘Poe Studies Association’ (USA): ‘I am fascinated by the coincidences between EMINESCU and POE!’

The first edition of ‘The Eminescu – Poe Transatlantic Online Conference’ drew attention, on both sides of the Atlantic, to the similarities between two genius poets, Eminescu and Poe, and Professor Dr. Amy Branam Armiento, President of the Poe Studies Association of the United States gave – in this context – an interview extremely interesting for the ‘Gândacul de Colorado’. (Prof. Dr. Ioan Iacob, President of ‘The HESPERUS Cultural Foundation’).

1) I know I read an estimate somewhere: ‘Poe, an American Shakespeare’. I totally agree with this statement, especially since, from my European point of view ”Poe is the exponential poet of America. How is Poe seen in America today and what are the ways in which the Poe Studies Association (where you are President) promotes his value?

In the U.S., Poe is a well-known national literary figure.  Not only has he inspired other writers, but also filmmakers, musicians, and artists are keen to adapt his works and to (re)imagine his life. Like Shakespeare, his portrait is recognized by many people in the U.S. today – not only literary scholars.  Our organization focuses primarily on academic initiatives to promote Poe’s life and works.  Every three years, we host an international conference. Plus, our peer-reviewed journal, The Edgar Allan Poe Review, appears twice a year.  We advertise popular culture events, such as film adaptations, plays, musical compositions, and novels of historical fiction, to our members. Again, like Shakespeare, we are pleased with Poe’s appeal to academics and “regular” people.

2) At a moment you have made a connection between Poe and Eminescu (because Eminescu was born a year after Poe’s death). There are many similarities between these two great poets: they were both born in January, they were both journalists, they both had a tragic love affair  with an impact on their poetry. How do you comment on these things?

I am fascinated by the coincidences between these figures. Personally, I do not believe in reincarnation, but it’s tempting to think of that phenomenon when looking at the sequence of these two lives. Poe dies a mere three months before Eminescu is born and, as you point out, repeats many of Poe’s experiences. The timing brings to mind Poe’s plot line in “Morella” or even Ligeia’s vehement insistence that “the will therein lieth, which dieth not” before her reincarnation.  Or perhaps Eminescu’s resemblance to Poe may prove a play on Poe’s declaration that “terror is not of Germany, but of the soul” — a tragic life is not of Poe, but of the poets.

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3) This year, in June, the Union of Professional Journalists of Romania organized – at the initiative of The HESPERUS Cultural Foundation – the first edition of The EMINESCU – POE Online Transatlantic Conference (as part of The EMINESCU – POE  Transatlantic Project. Do you think that in the second edition it would be possible for the Poe Studies Association to join this initiative?

I cannot answer this question since I will no longer be the president of our association after April 1, 2022. I do hope that our organization will, at the very least, advertise the conference to our members.

4) Dear Professor Amy Branam Armiento, I’d like to thank you for this interview and I’d like to send a message for the ‘Gândacul de Colorado’ readers.

I hope readers will continue to read Poe and Eminescu as complementary writers. Since at least 1867 when Titu Maiorescu favorably reviewed Poe’s “The Raven” and “The Philosophy of Composition” in one of his critical essays, Poe has been known to Romanian writers.  More recently, many readers may have encountered Liviu Cotrău’s translations, Annabel Lee şi alte poeme and Prăbuşirea Casei Usher. Similarly, U.S. readers can access English translations of some of Eminescu’s poems. I look forward to future discoveries regarding both writers — as individuals and as kindred spirits.

Interview made by Ioan Iacob, 15.07.2021.

MN: Vă invităm să vizionați și: Personalităţi care au participat la prima Conferinţă transatlantică EMINESCU – POE. Cotidianul online Mangalia News are onoarea de a fi partener media oficial în Proiectul transatlantic ”EMINESCU – POE”, încă de la lansarea sa de către domnul Prof. Dr. Ioan Iacob.



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