I was inspired to read Edgar Allan Poe's lone novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym from Paul Theroux's description of it in The Old Patagonia Express. He called it the most frightening book he had ever read and later when he met Jorge Luis Borges in Argentina, Borges called it Poe's greatest work. I'm not sure I would go as far as either of those writers, but it was an entertaining read. It was chock full of disaster: mutiny, castaways, cannibalism, and murderous blood-thirsty natives. I really find the introductions of the Penguin series very informative in setting up the context of the text. In this case academic Richard Kopely discusses the personal allusions in the novel as well as the religious symbolism present in the novel. This is especially true of allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem, of which Ariel is a former name of the city and the name of the ship in the novel. It was interesting that he noted that Gordon Pym was an inspiration to Herman Melville for Moby Dick, especially the chapter "The Whiteness of the Whale." It is most certainly an under-rated novel that deserves to be in the pantheon of American literature.