Edgar Allan Poe (/ p oʊ /; born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic.Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre.
Jan 15, 2021 · Edgar Allan Poe, American short-story writer, poet, critic, and editor who is famous for his cultivation of mystery and the macabre. His tale ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ (1841) initiated the modern detective story, and the atmosphere in his tales of horror is unrivaled in American fiction.
Sep 03, 2020 · Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, poet, critic and editor best known for evocative short stories and poems that captured the imagination and interest of readers around the world.
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Students in DeKalb Middle School’s seventh-grade Fusion composition class engaged in a partnership beyond the school walls Wednesday with a little help from technology.
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- Early years
- Later career
Poes stature as a major figure in world literature is primarily based on his ingenious and profound short stories, poems, and critical theories, which established a highly influential rationale for the short form in both poetry and fiction. Regarded in literary histories and handbooks as the architect of the modern short story, Poe was also the principal forerunner of the art for arts sake movement in nineteenth-century European literature. Whereas earlier critics predominantly concerned themselves with moral or ideological generalities, Poe focused his criticism on the specifics of style and construction that contributed to a works effectiveness or failure. In his own work, he demonstrated a brilliant command of language and technique as well as an inspired and original imagination. Poes poetry and short stories greatly influenced the French Symbolists of the late nineteenth century, who in turn altered the direction of modern literature. It is this philosophical and artistic transaction that accounts for much of Poes importance in literary history. Today, Poe is recognized as one of the foremost progenitors of modern literature, both in its popular forms, such as horror and detective fiction, and in its more complex and self-conscious forms, which represent the essential artistic manner of the twentieth century. In contrast to earlier critics who viewed the man and his works as one, criticism of the past twenty-five years has developed a view of Poe as a detached artist who was more concerned with displaying his virtuosity than with expressing his soul, and who maintained an ironic rather than an autobiographical relationship to his writings. While at one time critics such as Yvor Winters wished to remove Poe from literary history, his works remain integral to any conception of modernism in world literature. Herbert Marshall McLuhan wrote in an essay entitled Edgar Poes Tradition: While the New England dons primly turned the pages of Plato and Buddha beside a tea-cozy, and while Browning and Tennyson were creating a parochial fog for the English mind to relax in, Poe never lost contact with the terrible pathos of his time. Coevally with Baudelaire, and long before Conrad and Eliot, he explored the heart of darkness.
Poes father and mother were professional actors who at the time of his birth were members of a repertory company in Boston. Before Poe was three years old both of his parents died, and he was raised in the home of John Allan, a prosperous exporter from Richmond, Virginia, who never legally adopted his foster son. As a boy, Poe attended the best schools available, and was admitted to the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1825. While there he distinguished himself academically but was forced to leave after less than a year because of bad debts and inadequate financial support from Allan. Poes relationship with Allan disintegrated upon his return to Richmond in 1827, and soon after Poe left for Boston, where he enlisted in the army and also published his first poetry collection, Tamerlane, and Other Poems. The volume went unnoticed by readers and reviewers, and a second collection, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems, received only slightly more attention when it appeared in 1829. That same year Poe was honorably discharged from the army, having attained the rank of regimental sergeant major, and was then admitted to the United States Military Academy at West Point. However, because Allan would neither provide his foster son with sufficient funds to maintain himself as a cadet nor give the consent necessary to resign from the Academy, Poe gained a dismissal by ignoring his duties and violating regulations. He subsequently went to New York City, where Poems, his third collection of verse, was published in 1831, and then to Baltimore, where he lived at the home of his aunt, Mrs. Maria Clemm.
Over the next few years Poes first short stories appeared in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier and his MS. Found in a Bottle won a cash prize for best story in the Baltimore Saturday Visitor. Nevertheless, Poe was still not earning enough to live independently, nor did Allans death in 1834 provide him with a legacy. The following year, however, his financial problems were temporarily alleviated when he accepted an editorship at The Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, bringing with him his aunt and his twelve-year-old cousin Virginia, whom he married in 1836. The Southern Literary Messenger was the first of several journals Poe would direct over the next ten years and through which he rose to prominence as a leading man of letters in America. Poe made himself known not only as a superlative author of poetry and fiction, but also as a literary critic whose level of imagination and insight had hitherto been unapproached in American literature. While Poes writings gained attention in the late 1830s and early 1840s, the profits from his work remained meager, and he supported himself by editing Burtons Gentlemans Magazine and Grahams Magazine in Philadelphia and the Broadway Journal in New York City. After his wifes death from tuberculosis in 1847, Poe became involved in a number of romantic affairs. It was while he prepared for his second marriage that Poe, for reasons unknown, arrived in Baltimore in late September of 1849. On October 3, he was discovered in a state of semi-consciousness; he died four days later without regaining the necessary lucidity to explain what had happened during the last days of his life.
Poes most conspicuous contribution to world literature derives from the analytical method he practiced both as a creative author and as a critic of the works of his contemporaries. His self-declared intention was to formulate strictly artistic ideals in a milieu that he thought overly concerned with the utilitarian value of literature, a tendency he termed the heresy of the Didactic. While Poes position includes the chief requisites of pure aestheticism, his emphasis on literary formalism was directly linked to his philosophical ideals: through the calculated use of language one may express, though always imperfectly, a vision of truth and the essential condition of human existence. Poes theory of literary creation is noted for two central points: first, a work must create a unity of effect on the reader to be considered successful; second, the production of this single effect should not be left to the hazards of accident or inspiration, but should to the minutest detail of style and subject be the result of rational deliberation on the part of the author. In poetry, this single effect must arouse the readers sense of beauty, an ideal that Poe closely associated with sadness, strangeness, and loss; in prose, the effect should be one revelatory of some truth, as in tales of ratiocination or works evoking terror, or passion, or horror.
Aside from a common theoretical basis, there is a psychological intensity that is characteristic of Poes writings, especially the tales of horror that comprise his best and best-known works. These storieswhich include The Black Cat, The Cask of Amontillado, and The Tell-Tale Heartare often told by a first-person narrator, and through this voice Poe probes the workings of a characters psyche. This technique foreshadows the psychological explorations of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and the school of psychological realism. In his Gothic tales, Poe also employed an essentially symbolic, almost allegorical method which gives such works as The Fall of the House of Usher, The Masque of the Red Death, and Ligeia an enigmatic quality that accounts for their enduring interest and also links them with the symbolical works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. The influence of Poes tales may be seen in the work of later writers, including Ambrose Bierce and H.P. Lovecraft, who belong to a distinct tradition of horror literature initiated by Poe. In addition to his achievement as creator of the modern horror tale, Poe is also credited with parenting two other popular genres: science fiction and the detective story. In such works as The Unparalleled Adventure of Hans Pfaall and Von Kempelen and His Discovery, Poe took advantage of the fascination for science and technology that emerged in the early nineteenth century to produce speculative and fantastic narratives which anticipate a type of literature that did not become widely practiced until the twentieth century. Similarly, Poes three tales of ratiocinationThe Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Purloined Letter, and The Mystery of Marie Rogetare recognized as the models which established the major characters and literary conventions of detective fiction, specifically the amateur sleuth who solves a crime that has confounded the authorities and whose feats of deductive reasoning are documented by an admiring associate. Just as Poe influenced many succeeding authors and is regarded as an ancestor of such major literary movements as Symbolism and Surrealism, he was also influenced by earlier literary figures and movements. In his use of the demonic and the grotesque, Poe evidenced the impact of the stories of E.T.A. Hoffman and the Gothic novels of Ann Radcliffe, while the despair and melancholy in much of his writing reflects an affinity with the Romantic movement of the early nineteenth century. It was Poes particular genius that in his work he gave consummate artistic form both to his personal obsessions and those of previous literary generations, at the same time creating new forms which provided a means of expression for future artists.
While Poe is most often remembered for his short fiction, his first love as a writer was poetry, which he began writing during his adolescence. His early verse reflects the influence of such English romantics as Lord Byron, John Keats, and Percy Bysshe Shelley, yet foreshadows his later poetry which demonstrates a subjective outlook and surreal, mystic vision. Tamerlane and Al Aaraaf exemplify Poes evolution from the portrayal of Byronic heroes to the depiction of journeys within his own imagination and subconscious. The former piece, reminiscent of Byrons Childe Harolds Pilgrimage, recounts the life and adventures of a fourteenth-century Mongol conqueror; the latter poem portrays a dreamworld where neither good nor evil permanently reside and where absolute beauty can be directly discerned. In other poemsTo Helen, Lenore, and The Raven in particularPoe investigates the loss of ideal beauty and the difficulty in regaining it. These pieces are usually narrated by a young man who laments the untimely death of his beloved. To Helen is a three stanza lyric that has been called one of the most beautiful love poems in the English language. The subject of the work is a woman who becomes, in the eyes of the narrator, a personification of the classical beauty of ancient Greece and Rome. Lenore presents ways in which the dead are best remembered, either by mourning or celebrating life beyond earthly boundaries. In The Raven, Poe successfully unites his philosophical and aesthetic ideals. In this psychological piece, a young scholar is emotionally tormented by a ravens ominous repetition of Nevermore in answer to his question about the probability of an afterlife with his deceased lover. Charles Baudelaire noted in his introduction to the French edition of The Raven: It is indeed the poem of the sleeplessness of despair; it lacks nothing: neither the fever of ideas, nor the violence of colors, nor sickly reasoning, nor drivelling terror, nor even the bizarre gaiety of suffering which makes it more terrible. Poe also wrote poems that were intended to be read aloud. Experimenting with combinations of sound and rhythm, he employed such technical devices as repetition, parallelism, internal rhyme, alliteration, and assonance to produce works that are unique in American poetry for their haunting, musical quality. In The Bells, for example, the repetition of the word bells in various structures accentuates the unique tonality of the different types of bells described in the poem.
- Master of Macabre
- Pioneer of Science Fiction
- Father of The Detective Story
His poetry alone would ensure his spot in the literary canon. Poe's notable verses range from the early masterpiece “To Helen” to the dark, mysterious “Ulalume.” From “The Raven,” which made him world-famous upon its publication in 1845, to “Annabel Lee,” the posthumously published eulogy for a maiden “in a kingdom by the sea.”
Most famously, Poe completely transformed the genre of the horror story with his masterful tales of psychological depth and insight not envisioned in the genre before his time and scarcely seen in it since. Stories like “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” reveal Poe’s talent at its height.
He was an early pioneer in the genre of science fiction. Poe was fascinated by the science of his time, and he often wrote stories about new inventions.
Poe is credited with inventing the modern detective story with “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” His concept of deductive reasoning, which he called "ratiocination" inspired countless authors, most famous among them Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.
Allan reared Poe to be a businessman and a Virginia gentleman, but Poe dreamt of emulating his childhood hero, the British poet Lord Byron. The backs of some of Allan’s ledger sheets reveal early poetic verses scrawled in a young Poe’s handwriting and show how little interest Edgar had in the tobacco business.
This site contains short stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe (Edgar Allen Poe is a common misspelling), story summaries, quotes, and linked vocabulary words and definitions for educational reading. It also includes a short biography, a timeline of Poe's life, and links to other Poe sites.
- “The true genius shudders at incompleteness — imperfection — and usually prefers silence to saying the something which is not everything that should be said.”
- “Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” – Edgar Allan Poe.
- “And so being young and dipped in folly I fell in love with melancholy.” – Edgar Allan Poe.
- “It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.” – Edgar Allan Poe.
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