Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Searching for the Poe Toaster

The latest news among Edgar Allan Poe's followers is that they will wait one last time for the appearance of an anonymous dedicated fan, known as the Poe Toaster, who, until recently, paid tribute to Poe every year on January 19th. Visiting authors' (and performers') grave sites is an old fan tradition. (For more on literary tourism, see my recent post.) What's most fascinating in this example is the extent to which a Poe fan has created his own fans and admirers. As I first argued in Tramps Like Us, the idea that a fan is totally obsessed with the object of his/her fandom is a very naive view; most fans also spend a lot of time enthusing about fandom itself as a means to build and sustain the fan community.

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