Monday, March 28, 2016

Poe and Poland

With Poe in Boston
Sculpture by Stefanie Rocknak
Edgar Allen Poe Square, Boston, MA

Edgar Allen Poe,  though identified with Baltimore, was born in Boston on January 19, 1809.  The master of suspense and poet of The Raven was born at 62 Charles Street (know as 62 Carver Street at the time).  He enlisted in the US Army at the Customs House in Boston under a false name in 1827 claiming to be 21 when he was, in fact, 18 years of age.

Poe found little support from the moralistic Brahmins of the New England literary scene.  He referred to them as croaking "Frogpondians".

In our book, America Invades, we discussed the surprising connection between Edgar Allen Poe and Poland...

"Poland may be a long way from the United States, but a shared experience of fighting for freedom (as well as Polish immigration into the United States) has created many close links between the two nations.

Poles fought for the American cause right from our founding.
Koésciuszko  statue
USMA West Point, NY
Tadeusz Koésciuszko (1746-1817) fought for America’s independence from Britain in the American Revolution and then went on to fight for his homeland’s independence from Russia. He directed the fortification of West Point and rose to become a brigadier general in the Continental Army. A statue of Koésciuszko stands atop the US Military Academy at West Point today.

Another Pole, Casimir Pulaski (1745-1779), also rose to the rank of brigadier general in the Continental Army and fought against both the Russians in Poland and the British in America. At the battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, he even helped save General George Washington from near certain capture. Pulaski died from wounds received at the Battle of Savannah. For his efforts and for his bravery, he has often been called the “father of the American cavalry.”

Kosciuszko, Pulaski, and the other Poles who fought on our side in the Revolution were major factors in giving Poland a good reputation in the United States. When, in November 1830, the Poles rose against up against Russia, there was plenty of support in the United States for the Poles. For instance, a young soldier in the US Army wrote this letter to his commanding officer in 1831:
Having no longer any ties which can bind me to my native country—no prospects—nor any friends—I intend by the first opportunity to proceed to Paris with the view of obtaining, thro’ the interest of the Marquis de La Fayette, an appointment (if possible) in the Polish Army. In the event of the interference of France in behalf of Poland this may easily be effected—at all events it will be my only feasible plan of procedure.

E.A. Poe Plaque, Boston, MA
The author of this letter was Edgar Allan Poe (who, in the end, never did make it to the fight in Poland)."

You can find signed copies of America Invades
or regular copies on

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