This letter was published in the Edgar Allan Poe Newspaper this morning, Sunday, April 9, 2017. The letter is written to Editor Gabrielle Dean of Dean Publications explaining the editorial decisions a staff member made on their assignment of annotating an edition of Poe:
Dear Gabrielle Dean, editor of Dean Publications,
I want to first start off by thanking you again for giving me the opportunity to prove my skills and assigning me the task to annotate Edgar Allan Poe’s story “Bon – Bon,” published in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1835. I really enjoyed working with the story and hope you understand my vision for the annotated edition which is explained below. I can’t wait to hear your feedback and work with you to make this edition a huge success.
“Bon-Bon,” Edgar Allan Poe. ‘The complete works of Edgar Allan Poe’ New York: Putnam, c1902. Illustration by T.S. Coburn.
I have decided to create an annotated edition for the target audience of High School students who may have some background in French, Latin, or Greek and a general knowledge about Greek Mythology, Roman Philosophers, and Greek Philosophers but may need some guidance when these references appear. I decided to annotate for this target audience because I remember reading Poe stories in high school and having to spend a lot of time looking up words and people. I think an annotated edition of Poe for high school level students is an untapped market right now and I am happy to jump at the opportunity to make Dean Publications the leading publisher for this target audience.
I decided to create a print edition because I believe in the traditional way of reading. I feel that I have been inventive with my proposed design and do not need technology to be considered innovative. Also, I think it will be easier for my target audience to learn from a book and not from a website. Teachers are still inclined to assign print books and textbooks over online books.
My edition reaches this target audience by providing some annotations that target background, definitions, and translations on words and people who the average High School student wouldn’t know. Other annotations help to draw connections between themes within the work and throughout Poe’s other works, sparking inspiration and helping High School students think critically and begin to draw conclusions, whether for a paper or a better understanding of the text.
My proposed design for the edition, pictured above, focuses on enhancing these two different categories of annotations. This is a unique feature that will also help set Dean Publications apart from normal and boring annotated editions coming from other publishing houses. The base text and annotations both are in column format. The base text will always be in the center closest to the seam of the book while the annotations will always be on the side closest to the edges of the page. The base text appears like average text in black ink. However, the annotations are divided into two parts. There are “a” annotations in purple ink and “b” annotations in red ink. The purple annotations are the basic background, definitions, and translations that will help a reader better understand the text. The red annotations are the annotations that cause you to think a little more and draw your own conclusions. This separation between the two types of annotations I outlined above will help readers have the best reading experience for their needs. A student writing a paper may choose to read all of the annotations while someone else wanting to leisurely read and comprehend Poe’s language will read the “a” purple annotations. Remember although the primary target audience is High School students, the secondary target audience is people wanting to read and enjoy Poe’s stories.
I can only hope that my annotated edition would make Poe proud. I am hoping that the new design layout and division of annotations into categories will help the minds of creative thinkers thrive and will help put Dean Publications on the map as a standout publishing house. Hopefully, the innovation of my edition will spark an interest and revitalize Poe and his stories. Maybe it will even start a Poevolution. At the very least, I hope that other publishing houses wish to copy my design layout because it is an effective way for people to read stories and poems.
Thank you again for this opportunity and for taking the time to go through everything I have been working so hard on. I hope you enjoy reading my proposed annotated edition of “Bon -Bon”. I am looking forward to your feedback.
Dean Publication’s Newest Annotator