The Maynard Gang

A major act of larceny committed against the state of Arkansas has recently come to light. Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem “The Raven” was apparently plagiarized if not stolen outright from a Jackson County, Arkansas writer.

Shannon Lausch, an archivist at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, discovered in 2012 a poem published in 1837 by her ancestor Gammon Lausch who lived at Grand Glaise. Entitled “The Possum” the work was published in the Arkansas Literary Inquisitor by Albert Pike, a major player in early literary and political Arkansas history.

Poe’s work makes frequent reference to “a maiden called Lenore”. In Lausch’s poem, Lenore is a hound. A possum, referencing moonshine, asks in a rhythm strikingly similar to Poe’s “got some more?”

It occurs to me that if this execrable act is not exposed, our state will have suffered a grave injustice. What if other major American literary works were found to be appropriated without permission from Randolph County writers who lived at Gum Stump, Possum Trot, Albertha, Minorca, Attica, Ring, Bakerden or other known centers of pre-Civil War intellectual creativity?




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