Title: The Tell-Tale Art: Poe in Modern Popular Culture
Author: Christine A. Jackson
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
When I got the message I'd been selected to review this book, I was very happy. I love Edgar Allen Poe's work and the subject sounded interesting. Long story short, I really wanted to like this book.
There elements I do like. Some of the insights into how Poe's work has influenced popular culture seem spot on and informative. I personally really enjoyed the comparison between Hitchcock's Vertigo and The Fall of the House of Usher.
Unfortunately, there were too many instances where the text seemed to drag on about a pop culture subject for no obvious reason. For example, the first chapter makes comparisons between C. Auguste Dupin and his methods and other detectives. After mentioning the show The Closer, the author continues to spend another page describing scenes from various episodes which don't tell us a lot about Brenda Leigh Johnson as an investigator.
The author also makes what I found to be truly strange assertions. After missing the chance to mention House, M.D. In the chapter about Dupin and Poe's influence on detective fiction, she brings the show and title character up after talking about the use of time in The Masque of the Red Death. While the connection between House and strange illness is obvious, her comparison between Gregory House and Prince Prospero is odd. Her further dismissal of another writer's comparison between Gregory House and Sherlock Holmes is followed by a truly bizarre comparison to Dracula.
And then there's the times where the connections are just missing. Chapter three told me a great deal about New Orleans as a setting and way more than I'm ever likely to want to know about the Clint Eastwood film Tightrope. It didn't tell me anything about Poe's literary influence regarding either.
Also, the book is riddled errors. Some, like Brenda Leigh Johnson being called Brenda Lee Johnson are minor and easy to understand why they were missed. Others should have been easily caught, such as a reference to a character switching abruptly from Matty to Mattie after several references, or the author Kathy Reichs being listed as Linda Reichs in one out of two references. (Two out of three if you count the index.)
Then there are the errors that simply show a complete lack of research. Polidori's 1819 story The Vampyre, is referred to as “Dracula” and there is also the contention that the Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, and Xbox 360 all use Blu-ray discs.
Overall, I found the book to be very disappointing.
(Also posted to my journal, Goodreads, and LibraryThing)
ETA: Subject line.