It is with great shame I say, that I did not know anything about the American writer, Edgar Alan Poe, before I watched ‘The Raven’ and while it was a lovely movie,I still felt a strong urge to know a bit more about my new found friend.
I do not believe that i have the qualification to write about Edgar Alan Poe and i have no desire to impress anybody, simply to share my views and observations. Here is a writer who sparked a variety of opinions about him, some a bit elaborate and blown out of proportion. He was often referred to as being a psychotic, morbid, depressed, vulgar, controversial and an alcoholic. These dents on his reputation became even more frequent after his death, strongly pioneered by Ruffus Griswold. Edgar Allan Poe was a queer man whose death is surrounded by a bucket full of conspiracy theories. Despite these ‘not so friendly’ accusations, we must appreciate and show a decent level of gratitude for a man who knew how to express himself and had imagination wrapped around his fingers, he wrote with such a delicacy that can only be seen in the carriage of a new born, playing an acoustic guitar or the melancholic sound of a piano. He is sometimes referred to as the “Father of detective fiction, horror and short stories.” Much of the horror and gothic tales we read by writers like Stephen King are simply following in his footsteps.
I have no intentions pertaining to chasing you out with a long biography of Edgar (you have Google for that) but, He was born on January 19,1809, Boston, Massachusetts.He never really knew his parents, his father left him early in life and his mother passed away when he was about the age of three and he was taken in by John and Frances Allan. He went to the University of Virginia in 1826 and due to some financial issues and a strenous relationship with his foster father, John, could not continue.In 1827,he published his first book,’Tamerlane and other poems.’ While he never had any financial success or acclaim for his works during his short time on earth,he is one of the greatest influences on modern literature. One of his main influences stemmed from his work as an editor and critic for literary magazines like Southern literary messenger and The Broadway Journal. We cannot ignore the fact that Poe’s life was a major source of inspiration for his works,some literary critics have referred to his works as a ‘reflection of his traumatic past'(the death of his mother, stepmother and wife, Virginia who he married in 1836) and views on death and the afterlife, but Poe was like every normal man, he knew grief, felt love,had shortcomings, made mistakes and made enemies,the only difference is,he took all of that and created something beautiful. It’s one thing for a person to be able to pen down a few words and another for a person to write from the very depths of his soul driven by past experiences, filled with love, anger, bitterness, sadness and hate that he must set free. Every human has a monster that Lurks within,not the bogeyman or anything of the sort, but the type that is created from fear, guilt, sadness, insecurity and uncertainty,a part of your heart that remains hidden, an identity you’re terrified of,but what makes the difference is if you’re eventually consumed by it or you use all that negativity to inspire the people around you (the old turn that frown upside down technique). Works such as,”The Raven”,”The Cask of Amontillado”, “Annabel Lee”,”Murders in the rue morgue”,”Alone” and “A dream within a dream” send shivers down my spine and makes my heart race with excitement, fear and pure ecstasy.
His writing reminds me of my grandmother’s knitting, she always did it with so much dexterity and patience, paying attention to every detail and never in a hurry to conclude it and to be honest,a rare phenomenon these days. Maybe its time to go back, let our minds travel to where it all started, a reminder of what we should strive to surpass.
“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”
Edgar Allan Poe.