Edgar Allan Poe Literary History Essay, Research Paper
Numerous writers have made great contributions to the broad-spectrum of literature. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, introduced Americans to life on the Mississippi. Thomas Hardy wrote on his pessimistic perspectives of the Victorian Age. Another author that influenced literature tremendously is Edgar Allan Poe. Best known as the father of the American short story and father of the detective story. Poe immersed reader into a world of imagination and horrendous ecstasy.
“Poe was great in three different fields, and in each one he made a reputation that would give any man a high place in literary history. Poe wrote great short stories, famous not only in his own country, but all over the world (Robinson V).” “Hawthorne, Irving, Balzac, Bierce, Crane, Hemingway and other writers have given us memorable short stories; but none has produced so great a number of famous and unforgettable examples, so many tales that continue, despite changing standards to be read and reprinted again and again throughout the world (Targ VII).” “Poe was the father of the modern short story, and the modern detective story (Targ VII).” “With the possible exception of Guy de Maupassant, no other writer is so universally known and esteemed for so large of a corpus of excellent tales as in Edgar Allan Poe (Targ VII).”
In 1831, Poe published a new collection of his poems entitled, Poems. Afterwards, he went to New York, but could find no work there. Eventually he took sanctuary with his aunt, Mrs. Clemm, in Baltimore. There he decided to find work and make a living by writing. Due to the lack attention and “critic appraise” with his poems, he decided to start writing short stories. Poe competed in a contest for the best short story in 1831. Because of his loss, Poe started on a motivated project. He decided to plan a series of stories told by members of a literary cluster. He found no publisher for his stories, and entered the contest again in June of 1835. This time he sent one poem and six stories (Asselineau 411). His story, “Ms. Found in a Bottle,” won, and he received one hundred dollars for it (Targ IX). Through the influence of one of the judges, John P. Kennedy, Poe became employed as an editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, published in Richmond (Asselineau 411). Under Poe’s editorship, the Messenger ’s circulation rose from 500 to 3500.
Poe then went to New York, where he was unsuccessful. In the summer of 1838, he moved to Philadelphia. While in Philadelphia, he worked as the editor of both Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine and Graham’s Magazine (Asselineau 412). Even though he won a one hundred dollar prize for “The Gold Bug” (Robinson VI), he moved to New York. Poe found a job in New York as an assistant editor for the Evening Mirror. This was where “The Raven” first appeared on January 29, 1845. “The poem immediately caught the imagination of the public and was reprinted all over the country and even abroad in all kinds of newspapers and magazines, but Poe pocketed only a few dollars for his poems (Asselineau 413).” The year of 1845 was a lucky year for Poe. He published a collection of his tales and an edition of his poems named The Raven and Other Poems. He also became the editor of the weekly Broadway Journal. In 1849, Poe died in Baltimore (Targ IX). “Instead of really living, he took refuge from the physical world in the private world of his dreams-in other words-in the world of his tales (Asselineau 413).”
In the “Masque of the Red Death”, Poe uses his imagination throughout the story (Rogers 43). An epidemic has overwhelmed the entire country, killing numerous people. One by one they die until no one else remains. Death is king of all (Rogers 41).
“The horror abysmal darkness, and absolute helplessness befalling the victims are described with vivid accuracy in tales such as ‘The Fall of the House of Usher,’ ‘The Cask of Amontillado,’ and ‘The Premature Burial’ (Perry XI-XII).” In “The Fall of the House of Usher,” the narrator visits his insane friend, Roderick Usher. Usher’s house is huge and gloomy (Rogers 20).