Kopley's work released in paperback; student art brings cover to life

A book written by Penn State DuBois Distinguished Professor of English Richard Kopley is now available in a paperback edition, which features the artwork of a Penn State student. "Edgar Allan Poe and the Dupin Mysteries," published by Palgrave Macmillan, was originally released in hardcover in 2008.

In the book, Kopley takes an in-depth look at Edgar Allan Poe’s three detective stories, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Mystery of Marie Roget" and "The Purloined Letter." Through his extensive research, Kopley analyzes the structure, sources and autobiographical significance of these stories, which many say inspired the entire detective genre in modern literature.

For the paperback edition, Kopley enlisted the talents of Penn State student Michael Fazio. An art student at the University Park campus, Fazio designed and created the artwork for the cover. It depicts the title object from the story of "The Purloined Letter," hidden in plain sight in a card rack.

"It's eye-catching," Kopley said of Fazio's cover illustration. "He is very gifted."

"I was really excited at the prospect of being involved with Dr. Kopley's paperback," Fazio said. He credits Kopley with the idea for the illustration, but explains how he brought it to life. "Dr. Kopley told me the general idea he wanted for the cover was a close-up of the purloined letter in the letter holder. I did some sketches and we discussed what perspective and colors would be best. Then, for the final version, I used pencil and ink-wash for shadowing and then colored it digitally."

The experience, Fazio said, is one that he is very grateful for.

"As a student who is still in art school, it was truly a tremendous opportunity to work with an established author, especially since I imagine it's rare for a student to get to illustrate the cover of a professor's book. I hope I will get to do more illustrations in the future."

Kopley said Fazio will, in fact, have that opportunity. He plans to have Fazio illustrate his children's book, "The Remarkable David Wordsworth," which is still in the works.

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Last Updated September 06, 2011