.. 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.
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://www.cais.com/webweave/poe/poebio.htm. Partridge, Toby. “Poetry by Edgar Allan Poe.” Online Available Http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Congress/ 8953/poe.html. “Poe, Edgar Allan.” Encarta Encyclopedia.
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“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.
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