LSU Professor to be Featured in PBS’s “Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive”

J. Gerald KennedyBATON ROUGE – LSU’s resident Edgar Allan Poe expert and Boyd Professor in the Department of English J. Gerald Kennedy shares his expertise on America’s spookiest poet in a new PBS documentary that will air Monday, Oct. 30, just in time for Halloween. The film, titled “Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive,” features Kennedy and other American literature experts as they explain the story behind Poe’s tragic and twisted life.

Kennedy was approached for the project in 2008. Film director Eric Stange interviewed Kennedy in 2014. Although the film was finished in 2016, Stange decided to hold the release until this year so it would not get lost in last year’s presidential election coverage.

Kennedy said he actually suggested the movie’s name to Stange, explaining that Poe felt crushed by the weight of the nation’s culture at the time.

“‘Buried Alive’ is an apt metaphor for the way Poe felt victimized by American culture,” Kennedy said. “He was underappreciated, grossly underpaid, and he was certainly someone who died before his time. But he also resisted the Anglo-Saxon element in American nationalism and questioned the greatness of a country obsessed with Manifest Destiny and conquest.”

Kennedy has written and published eight books on Poe. His latest book, “Strange Nation,” looks at how Poe and other American writers helped craft an identity for the United States in its earliest days as an independent country. In addition, this is his third time appearing as a commentator for a Poe documentary.

“I think Poe, in a lot of ways, anticipated the way that death has become a presence in culture – that’s why he’s become the Santa Claus of Halloween,” he said. “The way that this movie was made has a really great balance in the way it represents Poe’s life.”


Additional Link:
Edgar Allen Poe: Buried Alive, PBS American Masters:



Contact Beth Carter
LSU Media Relations

Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations