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Edgar Allan Poe

.. events are what gives his stories a scent of truth. In one particular case, Poe wrote a passage in his story of “Marginalia” that could only apply to a person such as himself: I have sometimes amused myself by endeavoring to fancy what would be the fate of any individual gifted, or rather accursed, with an intellect very far superior to that of his race. Of course, he would be conscious of his superiority; nor could he (if otherwise constituted as man is) help manifesting his consciousness. This he would make himself enemies at all points.

And since his opinions and speculations would widely differ from those of all mankind – that he would be considered a madman, is evident. How horribly painful such a condition! Hell could invent no greater torture than that of being charged with abnormal weakness on account of being abnormally strong.” (Buranelli 23) Poe was a genius in the literary field and that gave him the grounds to say so. As he explains in this passage, his far superior ability to write pieces of literature caused a lot of friction between the modern day critics and writers and himself. This passage was an autobiographical account of his writing style and its effect on the society of the time. Along with writing about his style of writing, Poe also included autobiographical elements in his stories.

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These stories explained to the reader how Poe lived his life. The somber figure of Edgar Allan Poe stalks forever through the pages of his stories and poems. He is declared to have only one endlessly repeated male character – himself. He is pictured as appearing and reappearing under the guises of his melancholic, neurasthenic, hallucinated, mad and half-mad protagonists: Roderick Usher, Egaeus, William Wilson, Cornelius Wyatt, Montresor, Hop-Frog, Metzengerstein.” (Buranelli 19-20) Among these protagonists, the one Poe seems to represent more is the half-mad, Roderick Usher. In the story “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Poe presents himself through the morbidly uncanny Roderick Usher.

“All in all, he is an unbalanced man trying to maintain an equilibrium in his life” (Partridge N. pag). Usher was also a man who realizes his insanity but struggles to grasp his lost sanity. In this passage Poe writes about the narrator’s description of Roderick Usher, but in doing so describes himself to his readers: A cadaverousness of complexion; an eye large, liquid, and luminous beyond comparison; lips somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a surpassingly beautiful curve; a nose of a delicate Hebrew model, but with a breadth of nostril unusual in similar formations; a finely molded chin, speaking, in its want of prominence, of a want of moral energy; hair of a more than weblike softness and tenuity – these features, with an inordinate expansion above the regions of the temple, made up altogether a countenance not easily to be forgotten.” (Poe 198) Poe also manages to describe his more unpopular personality traits when he refers to himself as “a lost drunkard or the irreclaimable eater of opium” (198). Poe also used his memory of past events and places to set the backdrop for his pieces of literature. In “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Poe uses his Gothic home as the backdrop and his family as its characters.

“Poe often drew upon his memory for his settings, as in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher,’ which concerns the fate of a decayed aristocratic family and it moldering Gothic mansion” (Buranelli 28). Poe knew the feelings that came to a person when confronted with a relic from their unpleasant past and with that knowledge he could write a story appealing to readers. Poe also used “The Fall of the House of Usher” to portray loved ones, such as his mother, to the reader. He could never bear to take about his mom frequently, because of the pain it put on his heart. To compensate for this he portrayed her through the guise of Lady Madeline (Buranelli 35). Lady Madeline was Usher’s mysterious sister who in the end died without warning or reason.

Poe also wrote a sonnet called “To My Mother” that appeared to be for his mother, but was indeed for his mother-in-law. Along with putting his mother in his tales, Poe also portrayed his life’s greatest love, Virginia Clemm. Virginia inspired such pieces as “Eleanora” and Annabel Lee” (Buranelli 38). I was a child and she was a child, in this kingdom by the sea; but we loved with a love that was more than love – I and my Annabel Lee; with a love that the winged seraphs of heaven coveted her and me. And this was the reason that, long ago, in this kingdom by the sea, a wind blew out of a cloud, chilling my beautiful Annabel Lee; so that her highborn kinsman came and bore her away from me, to shut her up in a sepulchre in this kingdom by the sea ..

for the moon never beams without bringing me dreams of the beautiful Annabel Lee; and the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes of the beautiful Annabel Lee; and so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride, in the sepulchre there by the sea, in her tomb by the sounding sea.” (Bloom 145) In this excerpt, Poe portrays to the reader his love for his wife. “Annabelle Lee” was written in 1849, just two years after Virginia Clemm’s death (“Poe, Edgar Allan,” World Book Encyclopedia 591). Poe was trying to explain her death and its importance to him. He never neglected to portray an aspect of his life before the readers, even when he was facing a loss. Poe is a man writhing in the mystery of his own undoing.

He is a great dead soil progressing terribly down the long process of post-mortem activity in disintegration .. yet Poe is hardly an artist. He is rather a supreme scientist.” (“Edgar Allan Poe, The Dark Genius of the short story n. pag) In every story conceived from the mind of Edgar Allan Poe, a scent of his essence had been molded into each to leave the reader with a better understanding of Poe’s life. Poe has used his greatest achievements, such as marriage and his worst times, such as his wife’s death to help the reader better understand what his life has been like.

Poe is a genius in the fact that he can captivate a reader with his true-to-life stories and then explains himself through allusions and hidden maxims. When a person reads works of Edgar Allan Poe, he is actually reading his autobiography. Bibliography Work Cited Bloom, Harold. The Tales of Poe. New York, New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987: 121-145. Buranelli, Vincent.

Edgar Allan Poe. Boston: Twayne, 1977: 12-53. “Edgar Allan Poe, The Dark Genius of the Short Story.” Online Available Http:// Partridge, Toby. “Poetry by Edgar Allan Poe.” Online Available Http:// 8953/poe.html. “Poe, Edgar Allan.” Encarta Encyclopedia.

2000 ed. “Poe,Edgar Allan,” Encyclopedia Britannica. 1995 ed., Vol. 9: 540-542. Poe, Edgar Allan.

“Fall of the House of Usher.” Literature: The American Experience. Needham: Prentice Hall, 1996. 194-206. “Poe, Edgar Allan,” World Book Encyclopedia. 1991 ed., Vol. 15: 591-592. Quinn, Patrick F.

“Four Views of Edgar Poe.” Jahrbuch Fur Amerikastudien. 1960 ed., Vol. 5: 128-146. Biographies.

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe When picking a topic for my research paper. I thought of many different ideas. I started to think about my interests is reading literature, and I decided to write about my favorite author Edgar Allan Poe. This paper is going to look at Poe from a psychological perspective. There seems to be few attempts to look at the psychological causes of humor in Poes work, and how his personal life may have had an impact on his writings. Many of Poes tales are distinguished by the authors unique grotesque ideas in addition to his superb plots.

In an article titled Poes humor: A Psychological Analysis, by Paul Lewis, he states: Appropriately it seems to me, that to see Poe only as an elitist whose jokes could not be grasped by a general audience is to sell him short. He does not deny this elitist side of Poe; but he holds for a broader, more universal less intellectual humor that screams out from the center of Poes work. (532) This article provides important insight to understanding the nature of the humor and its relationship to the overwhelming horror in some of Poes work. Lewis believes that humor and fear have a special relationship in Poes tales. Humor, taken to its limits, leads the reader to fear. He says, Over and over, when humor fails, we are left with images of fear: the ravens shadow, the howling cat, the putrescence corpse, or the fallen house. (535) According to Lewis, in The Black Cat and Ligeia, he argues that are first impressions of the narrators are half comic.

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We are led gradually away from this humor into an expanding horror of men driven to acts of obscene cruelty. The combination with humor and horror occurs differently in Hop Frog where cruelty and joking co-mingle. (537) To agree with Lewis, I feel what happens in this tale is not just that cruel jokers are destroyed by a cruel joke but that joking itself gives good way to horror, as the cruelty of joke destroys its ability to function as a joke. The appeal of Lewis article about psychological insight of Poe rings true. I agree that fear and humor are linked together in Poes tales. I have seen it in hospitals, and at funerals, or even when humor helps pass the time during a threat of a destructive storm or when a flood threatens us. The evening news almost every day will verify this conclusion.

What Lewis says about Poe, then, Is not that we need to examine Poes psyche, but that we need to take more seriously Poes understanding of how the psyches of his readers would operate. (602) Best known for his poems and short fiction. Edgar Allan Poe deserves more credit than any other writer for his transformation of the short story to art. He virtually created the detective story and perfected the psychological thriller. He also produced some of the most influential literary criticism of his time-important theoretical statements on poetry, short story, and Poe has had a worldwide influence on literature. Poes parents were touring actors; both died before he was three years old, and then taken into the home of John Allan, a prosperous merchant in Richmond, VA, and was baptized. (Wells 39) His childhood seemed uneventful, although he studied for five years in England. In 1826, he entered the University of Virginia but stayed for only a year. Although a good student, he ran up large gambling debts that he refused to pay.

Allan prevented his return to the university and broke off Poes engagement to Sarah Elmira Royster, his Richmond sweetheart. Lacking any means of support, Poe enlisted in the army. According to Robert Wells, an author, Poe had, however, already written and printed his first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems(1827). (150) Temporarily, reconciled, Allan secured Poes release from the army and his appointment to West Point but refused to provide financial support. After six months Poe apparently assembled to be dismissed from West Point for disobedience of orders.

His fellow cadets, however, contributed to the funds for the publication of Poems: by Edgar A. Poe..Second Edition(1831). This volume contained the famous To Helen and Israfel, poems that show the restraint and the calculated musical effects of language that were to characterize his poetry, says Wells. (212) Poe next took up residence in Baltimore with his widowed aunt, Maria Clemm, and her daughter, Virginia, and turned to fiction as a way to support himself. According to a famous researcher of Poe, Allan Peterson, In 1832, the Philadelphia Saturday Courier published five of his stories-all comic and satire-and in 1833, MS. Found in a Bottle won a $50 prize given by the Baltimore Saturday Visitor.

(61) Poe, his aunt, and Virginia moved to Richmond in 1835, and he became editor of the Southern Literary Messenger and married Virginia, who was not yet fourteen years old. Poe published fiction, notably his most horrifying tale Berenice, in the Messenger, but most his contributions were serious, analytical, and critical reviews that earned him respect as a critic. He praised the young Dickens and a few other contemporaries but devoted most of his attention to devastating reviews of popular contemporary authors. His contributions undoubtedly increased the magazines circulation, but they offended its owner, who also took exception to Poes drinking. The January 1837 issue of the Messenger announced Poes withdrawal as editor but also included the first installment of his long prose tale, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, five of his reviews, and two of his poems.

(Peterson 101) Peterson says, This was a paradoxical pattern for Poes career; success as an artist and editor but failure to satisfy his employers and to secure a livelihood. (101-102) First in New York City (1837), then in Philadelphia (1838-44), and again in New York (1844-49), Poe sought to establish himself as a force in literary journalism, but with only moderate success. According to author William Bittner: He did succeed, however, in formulating influential literary theories and demonstrating mastery of the forms he favored-highly musical poems and short prose narratives. Both forms, he argued, should aim at a certain unique or single effect. His theory of short fiction is exemplified in Ligeia, the tale considered his finest, The Fall of the House of Usher, which was to become one of his most famous stories (212 & 227-8) Whether or not Poe invented the short story, it is certain that he originated the novel of detection. Bittner states: Perhaps his best known tale in this genre is The Gold Bug, about a search for buried treasure.

The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Roget, and The Purloined Letter, are regarded as predecessors of the modern mystery or detective story. (227) Among Poes poetic output, about a dozen poems are remarkable for their flawless literary construction and for their haunted themes and meters. In The Raven, the narrator is overwhelmed by melancholy and omens of death. Poes extraordinary manipulation of rhythm and sound is particularly evident in The Bells, a poem that seems to echo with the chiming of metallic instruments, and The Sleeper, which reproduces the state of drowsiness. (Wagenknecht 38) Wagenknecht also refers to Lenore and Annabel Lee as verse lamentations on death of a beautiful young woman.

(38) Virginias death in January 1847 was a heavy blow, but Poe continued to write and lecture. In the summer of 1849 he revisited Richmond, lectured, and was accepted anew by the fiancee he had lost in 1826. After his return north he was found unconscious on a Baltimore street. In a brief obituary the Baltimore Clipper reported that Poe had died of congestion of the brain. Edgar Allan Poe was a writer who is known for giving literature and eerie and bizarre twist. Many of Poes stories take place in exotic and dreary locations.

Poes use of setting and place evoke atmosphere and brings out qualities of human character. In his short story, The Cask of Amontillado, he uses details of horror and repulsion to create the setting. The setting is important to the atmosphere and organization of the story. In the Cask of Amontillado, Poes descriptions of underground rooms, space, and sound help establish the atmosphere and the surroundings. The setting and atmosphere gave the story a gloomy morbid feeling.

The atmosphere of the story took place indoor a dark underground cellar which seems to create a cold and harsh mood. An example of a disturbing underground room is the catacomb where the character Montressor decides to make the room Fortunatos grave sight. Poe indicates it was buit for no especial use within itself, but the eerie twist he portrays is that the dimensions of the room were measured out to fit a coffin. Fortunatos attempt to get free of the chains results in clanking is an example of sound in the atmosphere and setting. Poetry Essays.


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