The Washington Post

Never More Wrong


Edgar Allan Poe must be groaning in his Baltimore grave. “The Following” (Fox, Mon., 9 p.m.) uses (or abuses) the author as the inspiration for a serial killer. Charismatic lit prof Jim Carroll (James Purefoy, above) murdered 14 women because, as his would-be 15th victim said, “Poe believes nothing in the world is more beautiful than death.” What’s more, Carroll sliced out the victims’ eyes because Poe believed eyes are the window to the soul. So for Carroll, icing a dame is like writing a primo Poe poem!

May I note:


2. An FBI agent on the show opines: “ ‘Nevermore’ is Poe symbolizing the finality of death.” But what about that Poe story “Ligeia,” in which a dead lady comes BACK TO LIFE!

3. A woman brought in for FBI questioning strips (revealing a body tattooed with “The Raven”), plunges an icepick into her eye and declares, “Lord help my poor soul.” The doctor who tended to dying Poe in 1849 said those were Edgar’s last words. But there was a 19th-century tradition of making up reverent deathbed quotes to comfort survivors. As my daughter, a Poe devotee, put it, “If Poe did say it, he didn’t mean it.”

Marc Silver has been watching TV since the days when people wrapped aluminum foil around TV antennae to improve reception.



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Stephen M. Deusner · January 24, 2013