John Carl Miller, 63, professor of English at Old Dominion College in Norfolk and an authority on Edgar Allen Poe, died Wednesday at his Norfolk home after a heart attack.

Dr. Miller, whose field was early American literature, joined the college in 1967. Earlier, he taught at the University of Alabama, Louisiana State University, Bridgewater College in Virginia and the Virginia Military Institute. His book, "Building Poe Biography," published in 1977 by the Louisiana State University Press, depicted Poe not as a demented scoundrel, a popular view, but as an eccentric but stable man. The New York Times called it "a fascinating work of literary detection."

A new book, "Poe's Helen Remembers," is due to be published later this year.

Dr. Miller was born in Escatawpa, Miss. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., and master's and doctor's degrees in English from the University of Virginia.

Survivors include a daughter, Martha Marie Heath, of Decatur, Tex.; a son, John, of the home in Norfolk; a brother, H. C., of Shreveport, La., and two sisters, Mrs. J. F. Nugent Sr., of Colorado Springs. Colo., and Mrs. J. H. Stone, of Springhill, La.