Edgar Allan Poe is making headlines–or rather a mysterious visitor who had been showing up at the writer’s gravesite each year is in the news, as reported by USA Today, The Huffington Post, and other media. For the last 60 years in the early morning hours of January 19th (Poe’s birthday), an unknown person has left red roses and a bottle of Cognac at the scribe’s grave–until today. The “Poe Toaster” failed to show, leading to speculation about why and disappointing the three dozen bibliophiles who camped out near the cemetery to try and catch a glimpse of the birthday phantom.
In other Poe news, a portrait of the writer is going up for auction, reports the Associated Press. Unlike the well-known daguerreotypes taken later in his life, which depict a pale and haunted-looking Poe, this image, a watercolor, shows him in his earlier years–happier, more robust, and sitting at a desk with pen and paper in hand. “It actually represents Poe as he appeared to his contemporaries — a handsome, sophisticated young man on the rise,” said Cliff Krainik, a Poe scholar owner of the portrait. “The daguerreotypes show him in his rather dissipated state, where he has gone through the difficulties of his life.” (Click through to the article to see the portrait.)
The portrait will be on display this Saturday and Sunday at Westminster Hall in Baltimore. The one-time church is adjacent to the cemetery housing Poe’s grave. The portrait will be sold in June at Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati. It’s expected to fetch at least $30,000.
[Photo of gravesite: Rob Carr, AP]