Poe found the germ of the story he would develop into ARTHUR GORDON PYM in 1836 in a newspaper account of the shipwreck and subsequent rescue of the two men on board. Published in 1838, this rousing sea adventure follows New England boy, Pym, who stows away on a whaling ship with its captain's son, Augustus. The two boys repeatedly find themselves on the brink of death or discovery and witness many terrifying events, including mutiny, cannibalism, and frantic pursuits. Poe imbued this deliberately popular tale with such allegorical richness, biblical imagery, and psychological insights that the tale has come to influence writers as various as Melville, James, Verne and Nabokov.
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