The Library of Congress' new exhibition, Books That Shaped America, includes works by many notable American authors, but there is a gaping hole: Edgar Allen Poe.
The list include no-brainers: classics from such greats as Herman Melville, Louisa May Alcott, Harper Lee, Ralph Ellison and William Faulkner.
But not Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart” or “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
The list also has thoughtful choices such as "The Joy of Cooking" and "Our Bodies, Ourselves." There are works from Dr. Seuss and Dale Carnegie and three (three!) by Ben Franklin. And poetry from Robert Frost.
But not Poe's "The Raven."
There's even a detective novel by Dashiell Hammett.
But not Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," which is viewed as the first detective story.
“This list is a starting point,” Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in a statement accompanying the release of the list. “It is not a register of the ‘best’ American books – although many of them fit that description. Rather, the list is intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives, whether they appear on this initial list or not.”
C'mon Jimbo. That's a bit like saying the Baltimore Orioles' starting lineup is the "starting point" in a game. Sure, a few pinch hitters and relief pitchers can get into the game, but such platitudes don't make the guys on the bench feel better. And no matter what the Library of Congress says, Edgar Allen Poe is no bench-warmer.