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how did poes writings fit in with the industrial revolution and why did people read them and like them? please help! thanx very much!


-- Anonymous, October 17, 2000



Actually, the industrial revolution is the last thing that springs to mind when reading one of Poe's poems or short stories. However, Edgar was known to be rather free with his opinions and wrote several essays on subjects such as Street Paving and Furniture. I think Poe's popularity has been sustained for the last 150 years primarily because of his originality and his persistence in sticking to his literary principles. I do not mean to say that he originated the mystery story or the tales of horror. He did, however, inject them with a new vitality that has inspired numerous writers ever since.


-- Anonymous, October 19, 2000

tis- thanx! i have 2 do a report on how his writings fit in with the industrial revolution..do u know any particular stories or poems that show ne thing 2 do with the IR??? thanx! *Lolli

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2000


Strictly speaking, I cannot recall anything in any of his poems or short stories specifically relative to the industrial revolution. However, in his poem BSonnet to ScienceB, Poe laments the burdens placed upon the poet as a result of the Bpeering eyesB of science where the mysteries and wonders of life are brought into the light of day by its relentless discoveries and advances.

In his story, BThe Facts in the Case of M. ValdemarB, Poe details the effects of hypnotizing (mesmerizing) a man on his death bed with the result that death and physical decomposition is arrested for some seven months until the man is released from his Btrance.B A fanciful tale, most certainly, but an indicator of PoeBs originality and adaptations of actual scientific abilities (hypnotism) to stories of imagination. Poe maintained an interest in BmesmerismB and the strange science of phrenology for years. Phrenologist of PoeBs time believed that each human emotion, temperament and characteristic was governed by a specific region of the brain. Hence, PoeBs brief treatment of phrenology in his tale, BThe Imp of the PerverseB.

As I indicated before, most of the commentary that can be construed as relating to the industrial revolution would, most likely, be found in his essays. Some of these include the Daguerreotype (photogaphy), the Railroad War, Anastatic Printing, The Philosophy of Furniture, Cabs (buggies) and Street Paving. These can be found on the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore web site at http://eapoe.org

Also of some interest may be those that, while not strictly within the industrial vein, would include Secret Writing (Cryptograms, Puzzles & Conundrums), PoeBs explanation for Stonehenge, and most interesting to me, PoeBs expose on MaezelBs Chess Player. This chess player was an automaton or mechanical device built in 1769 by Baron Kempelen of Hungary that could compete in a game of chess. PoeBs essay exposed it as a sham.

-- Anonymous, October 24, 2000

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