Did Poe write anything about the literal meaning of some of his works?

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Did Poe ever write a book or article about what he was really talking about in such stories as The Tell Tale Heart? All of his work seems to leave the reader guessing. Was that his intention? I believe he was a genius (in terms of imagination) but did he want us to just think he was crazy - or was he?

-- Anonymous, January 28, 2000



The only article, of which I am aware, that was written by Poe detailing the construction of any of his works dealt with his poem The Raven. The article is called The Philosophy of Composition and can be found in full text on-line at several dedicated websites. Just try a search on Edgar A. Poe

Through the years, there has been much debate over Poes sanity or, at least, the sanity of many of the characters in his stories and poems. I prefer to believe that Poe was as sane as anyone of his time. Clearly, Poe had a dark side and, perhaps, it was a singular dimension of his personality that may even have become more prevalent as he grew older and began to succumb to his drug and alcohol abuse. Well never really know for sure. However, I prefer to believe that he possessed a genius of the highest order and was unequaled by his contemporaries. Poes personal passion for poetry is very evident in his firm belief that poetry need not serve factual truth or literal interpretation. For Poe, literal truth was much to constrictive and limiting and only the truth of the intellect, spoken by the heart offered sufficient range for the creation of his poetry.

As for his short stories, I have read only one other author of his time that was capable of conveying the same level of passion and devotion as that written by Poe. This was Herman Melville in Moby Dick. In contrast to Poe, Melvilles passion was evident in Ahabs sheer, unrelenting hatred of the white whale, and his devotion, to his singular duty to seek final retribution, above all else, for his mutilation by the whale. Poe, on the other hand, wrote so ably of the passions of love and his devotion to the loves of his life Particularly his wife Virginia. Poe suffered the same frailties all men share, regardless of the period. But the unique circumstances of his life, his classical education and his inherent genius combined to leave us some of the most profoundly beautiful poetry and prose penned by the hand of man. Alas, there will exist no equal.

Good Luck

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2000

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