As a preeminent American literary figure, Edgar Allan Poe is widely known for his tales of horror and the macabre. Less well known about Poe is his place in literary history as inventor of detective fiction, his contributions to the emergence of science fiction, and as editor of a textbook on conchology (The conchologist’s first book). It is through his work as science fiction writer that Poe found his way into Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction 1780-1910, a Smithsonian Libraries’ exhibition, now on display at the National Museum of American History in the Smithsonian Libraries gallery space located in One West.
Join Smithsonian Libraries on a journey to Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910 a new exhibition opening to the public July 1, 2015 in the Smithsonian Libraries Gallery in the newly renovated wing of the National Museum of American History. Click here for a preview.
The post was written by Gil Taylor and Keri Thompson and was originally featured on our Tumblr page.
Last year, our reference team received an interesting query from a student of cultural anthropology wanting ”to find out if any of the Smithsonian employees have published a work of fiction?”
Boy, and have they! In case you needed some end-of-summer reading suggestions, here is a list of fiction works by former or current Smithsonian staff compiled by Gil Taylor, NMNH Librarian.(current as of February, 2013.)
In Woody Allen’s latest film Midnight in Paris, a modern-day writer finds himself repeatedly traveling back in time to Paris at the height of the 1920’s. While there he meets a number of the period’s famous writers and artists, from Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein to Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. Seeing this film made me want to learn more about the fascinating lives of these people, so I decided to research Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, who in the film introduce us to the world of Paris in the twenties.