This article tests Americanist claims about Edgar Allan Poe's racism against Latin American, Caribbean, and contemporary African-American literature written under his influence. I start with a discussion of Toni Morrison's agenda-setting reading of Poe in Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992). I show how Poe's only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (1838), resists Morrison's interpretation by playing ironically on white anxiety and Black creativity. I then follow this mode along an international itinerary of authors working in styles and modes pioneered by Poe: Comte de Lautréamont, Ruben Darío, the Negritude poets, and the contemporary African American novelist Mat Johnson. I submit that these later writers exploit Poe's formal strategies for more explicitly anti-racist and anti-colonial aesthetics.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.