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Edgar Allan Poe rises for this special appearance! Poe, who was born in Massachusetts in January 1809, is portrayed by literary historian Rob Velella. He will read a combination of Poe’s well-known and lesser-known works. Poe will also explain his reason for writing the way he did and take questions from those in the audience.

Rob Velella is an independent literary historian and playwright specializing in American literature of the 19th century. As a scholar, Velella has published articles and presented academic papers on figures as varied as Margaret Fuller, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Walt Whitman. Nicknamed the “Prometheus of American literary scholarship,” he has taken his research outside of academia by lecturing at various historical sites, libraries, and colleges from Pennsylvania to Maine. He has worked on museum exhibits at the Boston Public Library and at Houghton Library at Harvard University. In his ongoing efforts to bring the writers of yesterday back to the readers of today, he has dramatically brought to life literary figures Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe, for which he has been featured on National Public Radio and the LA Review of Books. 

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