Essay Sample on Edgar Allan Poe and His Art Works

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The Philosophy of Composition, or What Makes E.A. Poe Outstanding?

Edgar Allan Poe is a person whose life story is covered in mystery. Most researchers say that he died because of alcohol dependence. Others had a difference of opinion. The most unusual reasons were rabies (aquaphobia), tuberculosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and epilepsy. The movie “Raven” was created in 2012. It is a mirror of the darkest works of the great writer and poet. Moreover, the last scene introduces one of Poe’s possible scenarios of death. One half of literary critics state that he was a good writer, while others believe that his poems are true masterpieces. His essay “The Philosophy of Composition” proves that he is a master of the word. He deserves an endless number of Edgar Allan Poe essays and reviews that try to unravel his life path and sense of writing.

Edgar Allan Poe’s biography is full of dramatic events and feelings. A man, who loses his parents at the age of 3, a man, who breaks off an engagement with his Richmond beloved (Regan, R, 2005), a man, who loses financial support from his relatives and takes a decision to go to the army is a man, who creates a fabulous world of sophisticated poetry, a mysterious detective story and a laconic, deep, touching short story.

The last years of his life were nothing but a miserable picture of despair, hopes, which burst out from time to time, short–time crushes, flushes of alcoholism, constant changes of accommodation. He declaims his “Eureka” in bars in Richmond. He drastically seeks the hand in marriage with Sarah Helen Whitman, “Helen of a thousand dreams” in Providence. Furthermore, he makes an attempt to commit suicide in Boston. In Norfolk and other cities he gives lectures on “The poetic principle”. Autumn 1849 – he is again in Richmond, desperately looking for money to establish a journal. After that, he is going to Baltimore. This is a place, where he will be found on the third of October, near the electoral district. In four days, he will pass away. There will be nine people present at his funeral…

Poetry always appears as something intimate and personal, it is the highest level of literal creation not only in terms of the content but also in terms of the formal aspect, which actually determines the harmony of the creation itself, its originality, and its level of “sophistication”, so to speak. Poe’s poetry is exceptionally touching and heartfelt, for it is saturated with the author’s conception of poetry and its mission: there is nothing more sophisticated and high-toned than the poem itself, a poem, which is nothing else but a poem, a poem, which is written for the poem. A poem is not only a linguistic reflection of the poetic feeling but also one of the most delicate means to evoke the same poetic feeling in others.

Tired of all the guides and never-ending instructions?

Still, Poe didn’t have an opportunity to give his all to his “passion” – poetry. His poetic heritage is rather poor. The late lyrics by Poe didn’t get any brand-new qualities. The diapason of poetic topics is also rather narrow and traditional: love, loss of the beloved, the ideal’s inaccessibility, the fluidity and mortality of all existing in the world, impossibility to express secret thoughts with words. Regarding romantic imagination as something high–souled and exquisite, he still realizes, that it has not only its limits but also has a quality of running down. Thus, he pays great attention to the formal aspect of the poem, to its structure, music, rhythmic image of beauty, and melody – this is his professional, technical and theoretical definition of poetry.
Poe’s poem doesn’t actually operate with the idea of the plot. The best pieces of his poetry do have a strenuous inner dynamic, as a classical example, one should take the “Raven”. Eighteen verses of the poem express a gradual, dramatic realization of the hero’s loss, despair, and pain. Raven becomes a symbol of this pain and grief – “Nevermore…” – his constant caw creates a depressing soundtrack to human mourning. Edgar Allan Poe philosophy essay describes the so-called ‘behind the curtain’ process of “The Raven” creation. It is his understanding of what a literary work should be and what a true writer or poet should speak about in his artworks.

Poe has worked out a complex of methods, which underlain the basis of detective stories. Though the author “didn’t contribute much to the construction or the content of the detective story” (Stern, P, 1957, p. 26), he gave an impulse to develop the genre of the detective novel – Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Hammet, Simenon, and their heroes came out, so to speak, of Poe’s detective.
Poe’s stories are logically structured. One will not find there either scenes of violence or an atmosphere of cruelty.

Among Poe’s masterpieces, “The fall of the house of Usher” and “William Wilson” should be specially remarked for the author’s portrait and psychological skill to depict a deep character with morbid sensitivity and sophisticated intellect. The morbid concentration of the main hero in “The fall of the house of Usher” on his own personality, his inner affections, and his disgust with the real lead at the end to his tragic collapse. Some critics notice hidden motives, which give an opportunity to assume, that Roderick Usher becomes a predecessor of Adrian Leverkuehn, T. Mann’s main character the “Doctor Faustus.”

“William Wilson” represents a specific variation of the split mind theme. In the name of fame and success, the main hero strangles the voice of his best “me”, he doesn’t listen to the whisper of his own conscience. As the opposite good genius tries to restrain the hero from making the next step, the hero kills him – in the same way, as Dorian Gray thrusts a knife into his portrait, which became his own conscience.

Undoubtedly, Poe has become a writer worldwide. But there are still so many rousing discussions about Poe’s place in American literature. Some critics accuse him of incapability to depict life in its “brightness” and “happiness”, he is blamed for the lack of these colors in his heritage. Some even wonder why he hasn’t created a book “for millions”. But…did he have to? Those common accusations have really nothing to do with the genius of his poetry – poetry in prose, poetry in his world perception. Poe’s genius conducts pioneer tragic tradition, which reflected the contradiction between the American dream and its fulfillment in reality.

Resources:

  1. Baldwin, Emma. “10 Incredible Edgar Allan Poe Poems.” Poem Analysis, 21 Jan. 2022, poemanalysis.com/best-poems/edgar-allan-poe.
  2. “Edgar Allan Poe | Biography, Poems, Short Stories, and Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannica, www.britannica.com/biography/Edgar-Allan-Poe. Accessed 5 Apr. 2022.
  3. “JSTOR: Access Check.” Jstor, www.jstor.org/stable/25110283?seq=1. Accessed 5 Apr. 2022.
  4. “The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe.” Encyclopedia Britannica, www.britannica.com/story/the-mysterious-death-of-edgar-allan-poe. Accessed 5 Apr. 2022.
  5. Poetry Foundation. “Edgar Allan Poe.” Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/edgar-allan-poe. Accessed 5 Apr. 2022.
  6. Rollason, Christopher. “Avec Poe Jusqu’au Bout de La Prose.” Scholarly Publishing Collective, 1 Apr. 2011, scholarlypublishingcollective.org/psup/edgar-allan-poe/article-abstract/12/1/110/259517/Avec-Poe-jusqu-au-bout-de-la-prose?redirectedFrom=fulltext.
  7. Zakyoung. “Conducting a Comprehensive Study of Poe’s, Eureka: A Prose Poem.” The Poe Museum, 22 Sept. 2021, poemuseum.org/conducting-a-comprehensive-study-of-poes-eureka-a-prose-poem.

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