'Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it.'
So begins the extraordinary obituary that appeared in the New York Tribune following the death of the pioneer American author and critic in 1849. Signed by “Ludwig”, the writer of this obituary was soon identified as Rufus Wilmot Griswold, an editor and critic that had borne a grudge against Poe since the early 1840s. But Griswold did not stop at the obituary: he arranged for himself to become Poe's literary executor, and set out to destroy the author's reputation in a breathtaking series of forgeries and revisions to Poe's writings. Although denounced by those who knew Poe, Griswold's biography (the only one available) was accepted by much of the general public, who no doubt were titillated by the thought of reading the words of an 'evil' man.