Why does Edgar Allan Poe write morbid stories

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Why does Edgar Allan Poe write morbid stories

-- Anonymous, April 28, 2000



A seemingly simple question, perhaps, but the accurate answer is somewhat complex and depends greatly upon the works of Poe taken on the whole or at least those to which you have been exposed. The popularity of Edgar Allan Poes tales over the last 150 years speaks more to the tastes of his public than it does to the author of those tales. Dont you think?

On the whole, his tales of horror make up a small portion of his lifes work and that they remain popular and read over and over today says volumes about the public at large and very little about Poe himself. Except, perhaps, that he may have been well aware of what sells and what doesnt. For example, were you aware that Poe also wrote satire, humor, mysteries, essays, poetry and was a leading literary critic in his time. Were you informed that in the latter portion of his life that he was a much sought after and well attended lecturer on the principles of poetry. Did you know that he wrote an essay on the material and spiritual beginnings, expansion and ultimate conclusion of the universe that some scientists today, in the 20th century, find compelling and uncannily accurate. Did you also know he wrote several commentaries on such mundane subjects as furniture, street paving, a 19th century mechanical chess player, and one of his favorite subjects, cryptography.

Too much has been made of the notion that his tales of horror were parallels to the life he led, the fears he felt, his habits and the despair he endured throughout his short 40 years of life. While I concur that these factors may have had some significant influence on his short stories, the stories most certainly do not represent a parallel to his mortal existence. Assuming of course, that the time is taken to become aware of the facts relative to this mortal existence. With the exception of his unparalleled talents, Poe was no different than his contemporaries in the difficult struggles to become recognized and accepted as contributing to the improvement of American literature. It is unfortunate that his genius was not recognized until after his death.

Edgar Allan Poe did not invent the short story for during the period, penny novels were very popular and subjects ran the gamut of local interests. In addition, magazines found short stories easier to publish in one or two editions and often ran contests to encourage contributions from the public. But over time, Poe did have a major influence on the principles and construction of the short story through his narrative techniques, his use of irony, his characterizations and his verbal illustrations.

So, the short answer is that Edgar was well aware of what the public wanted and wished to read. This fit well with his own personal predisposition at which he excelled and that was to shock the reader, grab his attention and compel him to read on. He was pretty good at it too!


-- Anonymous, April 29, 2000

Duh he was "pretty good at it" tis ! Thats probably why hes been called the greatest poet of all tiome by many people . I think Poe's morbid stories are reflecting on things early on in his life such as his parents abandoniung him and his love that ended tragicly. I too , write like this and try to modle me poetry after his.

-- Anonymous, August 31, 2000

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