In October 2007, Poe scholar Ed Pettit argued in a Philadelphia City Paper cover story that both the legacy and the remains of Edgar Allan Poe should lie in Philadelphia, not Baltimore, the city where the mid-19th-century writer is currently interred. The article ignited a feud between the cities that has been documented in the New York Times and on National Public Radio. The Great Poe Debate between Philadelphia’s Ed Pettit, Jeff Jerome, curator of Baltimore’s Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, and Paul Lewis, Professor of English at Boston College, seeks to lay to rest once and for all the contentious question of which city can proudly claim Poe as its own.
Ed Pettit is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and maintains The Bibliothecary, which includes his “Ed & Edgar” blog, a chronicle of his adventures in the cult of Poe. He teaches writing at La Salle University, and his book reviews have appeared in newspapers around the country, including the Philadelphia Inquirer
and the Chicago Tribune.
Curator of the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore since 1978, Jeff Jerome is frequently called upon by the local, national, and international media to talk about Poe and his life. A Baltimore native, Jerome oversees the Baltimore Poe birthday celebration every year in January and personally witnesses the yearly visit by the Poe Toaster to the gravesite.
Paul Lewis, Professor of English at Boston College, is the author of the books Cracking Up and Comic Effects and of articles on gothic fiction, dark humor, and U.S. literature and culture: 1790-1860. His interest in connections between humor and fear has drawn him to the work of Boston native, Edgar Allan Poe.
Grover Silcox produces weeknight feature stories on WLVT PBS 39’s Tempo program, serves as a weekly pundit on 102.9 WMGK in Philadelphia, and presents his one-man show, “Edgar Allan Poe and the Flip Side of Comedy,” at schools, museums and other regional venues.