Edgar Allen Poe Essay Research Paper Allan

Edgar Allen Poe Essay, Research Paper Allan Poe could probably be named one of literature’s most controversial writers of all time. Over the years, Poe’s works have endured much criticism as well as

Edgar Allen Poe Essay, Research Paper

Allan Poe could probably be named one of literature’s most controversial writers

of all time. Over the years, Poe’s works have endured much criticism as well as

much praise. Many professionals who have researched Poe’s life and his writings

feel that many of his writings strongly show reflections on Poe’s real life. Poe

was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809. He was born the son of

Elizabeth and David Poe. David attempted to make a living by performing on

stage, but he seemed to be giftless in this area. Elizabeth died being poverty

stricken in the year 1811. Poe then was separated from his brother and his

sister because his father was unstable to care for them. A Scottish tobacco

merchant and importer named John Allan decided to take Poe in and Poe remained

with the Allan’s until December of 1826, where he began his studies at the

University of Virginia. As a writer, Poe became very well known for his

interests in death, dying, pre- mature burials, revenge, guilt and fear. His

works such as: "The Cask of Amontillado"; strongly show his feelings

of revenge. Although these characteristics of Poe’s writings made him a

questionable figure in literature. At the time, the general public were taken

back by the horrors that Poe wrote about, people still read them with suspense.

One critic wrote, "Poe’s attraction to the problem of death is so

conspicuous that the reticence of modern criticism on the subject seems

inexplicable" ( Kennedy 3). Many critics also thought that Poe’s interests

in such dark subjects were due to early traumatic experiences (Kennedy 5). Poe

felt that death had held contradictory meanings, and it’s tangible climax

changed through the course of his engagement in writing (Kennedy). Many modern

critics of Poe fail to realize that although Poe’s tales took an unusual

perspective, at the time, death was looked at as being an elaborate celebration,

it wasn’t more acceptable, but it was more of a subject of quiet fascination

(Kennedy 17). While Poe was primarily known to be a lonely dark man, he had a

burning desire to be loved. Some believed him to be a prose-poet of love. In

Poe’s tale, "My Heart Laid Bare", he reveals his most deepest

attachment of all, his passion to have a woman (Bloom 81). This tale is a round

about way of telling the truths of his own soul (Bloom 81). Poe had a serious

problem with alcohol and it strongly affected him in his later life. In a few of

Poe’s writings he expresses his character’s feeling guilty for actions that took

place while they were sober, but as soon as intoxication occurs again, the

remorse fades away. In "The Black Cat", the main character is a

husband who becomes drunk, strikes and kills his wife, and goes on to cut out

one of the eyes belonging to his beloved cat, he only feels remorse when he

sobers up (Bloom 84). In 1836, Poe married his fourteen-year-old cousin,

Elizabeth E. Clemms. This would fill the gap in Poe’s heart for the longing of

love. Poe deeply loved Virginia, even though by the time he married her he had

already reached 27 years of age. During the winter of 1846, Virginia became

seriously ill, and Poe would have to face the sorrow that had threatened him for

so long, Virginia was going to die. At the same time, Poe himself grew ill and

was unable to care for his wife. Poe had lost much money and he greatly required

a caretaker for his wife and himself. Prior to Poe’s illness, he had been

working on "Eureka", his prose poem dealing with the universe. Poe’s

alcoholism had increased tremendously since Virginia’s illness and up until

after her death. Poe himself stated in a letter to a personal friend, "I’m

constitutionally sensitive and nervous in a very unusual way". "I’ve

become insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.""During these

fit of unconscienceness I drank, God only knows how often or how much." If

drinking were ever excusable, it was in this desperate effort to forget"

(Quinn 347). Poe became quite unstable after the death of his wife. In a

testimony from a personal friend, Dr. English, he commented on Poe’s drug usage:

"Had Poe the opium habit when I had known him, (before 1846), I should both

as a physician and as a man of observation, had discovered it during my visits

with him at his house and our visits with each other elsewhere" (Quinn

350). Poe had written letters and many had given off self revelation that we can

see in Poe’s poems and tales as the end of his life grew near. Many of these

poems revealed information about his immediate family, letters that reveal his

poverty at different points of his life, his impulsiveness and rebelliousness,

as well as his too often periods of intoxication and his final attack of

insanity (Campbell 126). There are few specific references to Poe’s immediate

family in his sonnet to "To My Mother", where he describes his own

mother, his devotion to her, as well as his devotion to his own wife (Campbell

126). There is every reason to believe that Poe records his own faith in the

divine nature of beauty in his critical essays, "The Poet Principle",

as well as "Al Aaraff"(Campbell 141). In his story, "The Haunted

Palace", it is believed that this may have been a confession from Poe,

believing that at times his own mind was unhinged (Campbell 133). In the end

lines of Poe’s famous,"Stanzas", it is believed that Poe was giving an

acknowledgement about his own sense of imperfection in the eyes of his maker,

and likewise an expression of his faith in a Supreme Being (Campbell 134).

Although Poe’s life wasn’t perfect, his writings are still admired all over the

world. Poe died over 100 years ago and his literature is still evaluated and

discussed, and observed.

Bloom, Harold. Modern Critical Views of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Chelsea

House Publishers, 1985. Quinn, Arthur Hobson. Edgar Allan Poe.