What were Poes controbutions to American Literature?

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What did Edgar Allen Poe contribute to American Literature and what authors did he influence?

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2000



The following are just a few of those personalities in history that have been influenced in one form or another by the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Many, themselves have gone on to have their own significant impact on world literature as well. I am sure there are many others but I am unable to recall them and many of those listed below have come from the Edgar All Poe Society of Baltimore website.

George Bernard Shaw once said, America has been found out; and Poe had not; that is the situation. How did he live there, this finest of fine artists, this born aristocrat of letters? Alas! he did not live there: he died there, and was duly explained away as a drunkard and a failure... He was the greatest journalistic critic of his time... His poetry is exquisitely refined... In his stories of mystery and imagination Poe created a world record for the English language: perhaps for all languages... unparalleled and unapproached... Poe constantly and inevitably produced magic where his greatest contemporaries produced only beauty... There is really nothing to be said about it; we others simply take off our hats and let Mr. Poe go first.

Personally, I feel his contributions have been inestimable but well, judge for yourself..

Charles Baudelaire (1821  1867) born in France, Baudelaire was a French poet and critic and was profoundly influenced by Poe in his first introduction to Poes writing in 1847. He is said to have used many of Poes ideas in his own works. He wrote an essay of Poes works and published five volumes of translations of Poes works between 1856 and 1865.

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821  1881) born in Moscow, Russia he was a journalist and author of novels and short stories. Often regarded as one of the finest authors that has ever lived, his works dealt with the psychological examinations of the dark side of the human heart. His works have been considered prophetic for their predictive elements on the Russian revolution and its impact on Russia once the revolutionaries came to power.

Jules Verne (1828  1905) born in Nantes, France, he was a lawyer, stockbroker and author of tales of fantasy and science fiction that include Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in 80 Days. His gifts of imagination and insight have caused him to been paralleled with Nostradamus but this is primarily a French fantasy born of paranoiac fear for the loss of their artistic identity. Jules Verne was a much more interesting and accurate forecaster of the future than Nostradamus.

Stephane Mallarme (1842  1898) born in Paris, France, Mallarme was a french poet and a leader of the symbolist movement in French literature in the 19th century. He studied English in London in about 1863 and by 1880 became recognized as Frances most imminent poet.

Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914) born in Ohio, he was an American newspaperman most famous for satire and his acid wit. He inspired fear in his powerful enemies in industry and politics from coast to coast. He wrote poetry and stories of the supernatural and while influenced by Poe, his style differed in the emphasis he placed on the stories plot and twists in the storyline. He was known as Bitter Bierce for his often vicious rhetoric for which he remained unapologetic throughout his life. See his Devils Dictionary for some interesting views on life in general.

Doyle, Arthur Conan (1859  1930) born in Edinburgh, he was a physician and writer and creator of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. About 1917, his interest in spiritualism culminated in the works The New Revelation and The Vital Message and in 1926 his History of Spiritualism was published. C. Auguste Dupin, Poes was a model of Doyles Sherlock Holmes and Poes influence can be seen in Holmes methods of discernment and use of ratiocination. Doyle once asked, Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?

Howard Philip Lovecraft (1890 - 1937) born in Providence, Rhode Island, he was the author of tales of fantasy and horror as well as poetry. He wrote a magnificent essay on Supernatural Horror in Literature. Strongly influenced by Poe, he once said that his discovery of Poe at an early age was his downfall, meaning that he would never again experience the beauty of the world without a concurrent awareness of death.

Jorge Luis Borges (1899  1986) born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a philosopher and writer of poetry, short stories (fiction and non- fiction) and essays on reading and writing.

Robert Bloch (1917 - 1994) best known as the author of Psycho, he wrote stories of science fiction, horror and thrillers. His examination of the psychotic mind is reminiscent of Poes The Tell Tale Heart. Once, when asked about the influence of H P Lovecraft on his works, he responded, Well, he had every influence possible. He was the man who I most admired in Fantasy, next to Edgar Allan Poe.

Stephen King (1947 - ) born in Portland, Maine. A prolific and exceedingly popular modern writer of the macabre, science fiction and horror.

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2000

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