Through all of Poe's works what mystery is he trying to solve? : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I know this is a broad question, but i need the answer to write an essay. I knoe Poe has done all type of stories, but i havent read much if them. So what mystery is he trying to solve in his stories, poems etc.

-- Anonymous, April 12, 2000



Youre quite right that is a broad question. And perhaps, the accurate answer is just as expansive but I have hesitated in attempting to respond to this question because of a reluctance to suggest or even imply that I might know the answer. I do not know the answer. If I did, it would be rooted in sheer speculation and assumptions and it may be more accurate to say that he wasn't attempting to "solve" anything.

Clearly, you are aware that Poes tales of terror make up but a meager portion of his lifes work. His poetry, however expressive or passionate or thought provoking, is often overlooked by the general public in terms of its artistic legacy in favor of his tales of horror. I find this incredibly strange and I think its speaks volumes about the public at large and says of Poe that he merely gave the public what they wanted.

You will find that Poe did much more than write tales of terror. In addition to some of the most beautiful poetry ever penned, he also wrote essays on subjects as mysterious as Stonehenge, and things as mundane as Street Paving and Furniture. He also wrote humor and satire and mystery stories as well as some of the most insightful literary critiques of his day. But perhaps the single work that would have the best chance of answering your question was an essay he wrote titled Eureka  A Prose Poem.

I caution you it is a difficult read but absolutely essential in understanding the genius of Edgar Allan Poe. I firmly believe that much of Poe and his thoughts can be found in this essay. In it he details his thoughts on the material as well as the spiritual universe and speaks of a transitional cosmos that in the beginning was the ultimate oneness before creation when all matter was joined. He goes on to speak of the expansion of the universe and of its eventual collapse and finally, its return to its beginning. He sees many parallels between the material and spiritual and mans role in this never ending heartbeat of the universe.

Give it a try perhaps the mystery you are looking for lies in the text of this essay. You certainly wont find it in his tales of terror, assuming you find it at all. But good luck anyway.



-- Anonymous, April 15, 2000

I don't think he was trying to solve any mystery. If you will do some looking into his actual life he, like H.P. Lovecraft, often joshed about his tales of terror and ratiocination, in fact, at one point saying about the latter that there was no big deal in writing a mystery tale wherein the outcome was a foregone conclusion--a statement overlooked and sure to provoke howls of outrage from lovers of mystery works, his and others.

If there was any mystery he was trying to solve to me it was the one facing most struggling artists--how to be appreciated in proportion to one's real (or imagined) talents.

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2000

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