Sunday, 15 October 2017

Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1949

EDGAR ALLAN POE (1809-1849)

Whereas Charles Baudelaire felt “a strange commotion” because of his talent, Dostoevsky amazingly saw “a strange, though enormously talented writer” or Jules Verne was inspired by him to write science fiction, his first editor in America depicted him “as a drug addict and alcoholic that wrote under the influence weird stories”. 

As a result, his reputation in America was anything but horrendous; nobody respected his literature at that time. In fact, there were so many abhorrent rumours about his lifestyle that multiple enemies used them to destroy his career.

Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe

He did want to cultivate beauty, not teach morality and even though his plays cannot be understood without his life the fame attained to him in America was not fair. Could a drug addict and alcoholic write so often and so brilliantly?? His behavior never helped either. 

He was called “Tomahawk man” because of his harsh literary reviews that made him to have numerous enemies. His reviews were famous and increased sales, but gave him a difficult position.

The truth is that he had not an easy life. His dad was a bohemian person who left the family when the mum of Edgar Allan Poe died. Hence, Edgar was brought up though never legally adopted by John Allan, a wealthy tobacco merchant and his childless wife, the writer was renamed, Allan. When his father refused to keep on funding his studies, Edgar Allan Poe flew to Boston, published a book of poetry and he enlisted in US Army military academy at West Point.

However, he was expelled as he broke the rules. Consequently, he flew to Baltimore with his biographical family and started his literary career writing short stories, poems and publishing literary reviews without obtaining a big success. On the contrary, his life was marred with financial hardship. 

He lived in New York City with his wife Virginia, a cousin he had secretly married when she was not even 14 years of age and married again publicly later on. He suffered from severe depression; her wife had a serious hemorrhage and suffered tuberculosis that killed her 5 years later. Edgar Allan Poe suffered constant fear of losing her, he was driven to alcohol and drugs so that find solace.

He wrote a lot while nursing his wife. A famous short story The Masque of the Red Death is the product of the period of the severe and bloody sickness of her wife. American literature would not be the same without him, yet he was on the verge of giving up literature for good on several occasions. His famous poem, The Raven was published with the name Quarles until he saw the poem became popular and he put his real name on it. 

He ordered his tales in two separate categories; arabesques and grotesques and embraced Gothic themes while conceiving them. Edgar Allan Poe had a constant nervous depression for the rest of his life until he died of congestion of the brain in very mysterious circumstances.


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