Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version


Document Type



Documentary Editing: Journal of the Association for Documentary Editing, Volume 31: 2010 ISSN 0196-7134


© 2010 The Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


My first semester in graduate school at the University of Delaware I took J. A. Leo Lemay’s Edgar Allan Poe seminar. Writing a seminar paper on the subject of Poe’s use of frontier imagery in his short fiction, I happened to read Prof. Lemay’s essay “The Frontiersman from Lout to Hero” (Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 88 [1978]: 187-223). In terms of its breadth of knowledge and depth of insight, I found this essay astonishing. As an undergraduate I had read much about the American frontier, a special interest of mine, but Prof. Lemay’s essay was the single best treatment on the subject I had ever read. I started reading more of his work and realized that the frontiersman essay was typical of Prof. Lemay’s approach: to pick a topic; put it within its historical, literary, and cultural contexts; and treat it exhaustively. In the coming semesters I would take several more classes from Prof. Lemay; his writings would form a sizeable part of my personal library.